A business analyst plays a pivotal role in the success of any organization. He creates and manages various plans and changes within the organization to help departments and the management achieve their key objectives. Business analysts have a deeper understanding of the current situation within an organization, work to identify future needs and recommend solutions to help meet those needs.
Business analysts are agents of change who identify and articulate the need for change in how an organization conducts its day-to-day activities. They work across all departments and may handle everything from creating a business architecture to defining strategies and outlining goals and objectives. Business analysts have special knowledge that allows them to work as guides. They may lead an organization through unknown pathways to get it to its desired destination. Business analysts are also known as system analysts, process analysts, product managers, requirements engineers, business architects or enterprise analysts.
Business analysts make $67,182 per annum on average, according to Payscale.
According to PayScale, the beginning salary for business analysts is $48,138 per year.
Key Roles and Responsibilities
Business analysts perform the following duties:
- Collaborate with other staff members to understand the needs of various departments and the organization as a whole.
- Work with customers and external stakeholder to gathers and understand feedback into the services and products offered by the organization.
- Conduct research on the best ways to improve business processes.
- Use computer data modeling strategies to analyze findings and create new suggestions for improvement.
- Train staff on how to use the new suggestions to improve their productivity.
- Evaluate the impact of the new suggestions, including taking responsibilities monitoring and reporting on their failures and successes.
Successful business analysts must have good communication skills. This is important since they spend a lot of time interacting with clients, developers, management and fellow staff members. A project’s success depends on how clearly and accurately they communicate the details of the project requirements, testing results and requested changes. Apart from good communication skills, successful business analysts must have outstanding analytical skills to help them interpret and translate business needs into successful operations. They also need good problem-solving skills to create effective and workable solutions to various challenges an organization might be facing.
Degree and Educational Requirements
Individuals who want to work as business analysts must first obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. One can pursue a degree in information systems, accounting, human resource, financing, business administration or any other related field. Possible courses vary depending on the major, but common topics include investment management, cost accounting, taxation, communication, business law and system analysis. Some business administration and financial accounting departments may require students to score average grade points in foundational courses before they can take more advanced classes. Students may also be required to have credits in professional practicum or complete an internship program before they graduate.
The increasing need for specialized and highly skilled professional output has made many organizations prefer graduate applicants over undergraduate applicants. This means that aspiring business analysts need to advance their education in order to become competitive in the job market. Possible graduate programs include Master of Accounting or Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Pros and Cons
Working in business analysis comes with a lot of benefits. It offers an opportunity to liaise and network with people within and outside business cycles. This enables analysts to learn from others, understand new processes and broaden their social network. Business analysts benefit from a fast-paced career. They are able to perform a wide range of duties across different industries, making them highly sought-after professionals. Business analysts also benefit from high organizational visibility and respect.
The job, however, presents a few challenges. One major challenge analysts face is lack of accountability among their clients. An analyst may recommend changes, but the client may not volunteer to approve and effect the changes. There may also be periodic conflicts between the analyst and the clients. This often happens when the analyst proposes a modified or new approach to a certain process. The job can also be demanding and stressful, especially if there are several clients involved.
Given the diverse nature of business analysis, it doesn’t take a lot of time and effort to settle in a well-paying job. However, there are certain things aspiring analysts must do in addition to obtaining the right degree to get started. Once they graduate from college, aspiring analysts must gain some work experience. They can look for entry-level positions in information technology, business management, human resources or any other related field of specialization. Most employers require at least three years of experience when shortlisting applicants.
Once they attain the required level of experience, candidates can look for entry-level jobs. They will be under close supervision for some months before they are allowed to work independently.
In addition to work experience, some employers prefer candidates who are certified by the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC). The institute issues a certified management consultant (CMC) certification. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum work experience of three years to qualify for this certification.
Business analysis is a growing field that has a huge potential for career advancement. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the demand for business analysts and other management professionals will increase by 14 percent in the next ten years. This is slightly above the national average rate and represents a good future for those who want to enter into this career.
According to the bureau, the demand will be influenced by the increasing number of economic activities in the country and stiff competition. Businesses will hire analysts to help them make new strategies that can give them a competitive edge over others. Business analysts will also be required to help financial companies manage risks, increase efficiency and maximize profits. Top employers will be insurance companies, financial services corporations, retail companies and healthcare facilities.
Business analysis is a vast career field that presents a lot of opportunities for those who decide to specialize in it. Someone who works as a business analyst enjoys a lot of respect and admiration from his colleagues and benefits from generous compensation packages and bonuses.