Unsure what a business analyst is, or what these professionals might do that can bolster your company’s performance? Actually, it’s quite simple – they guide business improvement in a myriad of ways, including product and service improvement, process improvement, and more, all based on accurate, measurable data.
Connecting Two Worlds
In most businesses, there’s a significant disconnect between IT and the rest of the firm. You can think of a business analyst as a professional who connects those two separate realms – they have one foot in each area. According to the International Institute of Business Analysis, “business analysis is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or nonprofits.” From that, we can see that a business analyst does more than simply parse data. They act on that data, helping to introduce change and manage it throughout the organization in question.
Key Skills Business Analysts Should Possess
Because a business analyst must bridge the gap between IT and the rest of the business, such a professional must possess a number of both hard and soft skills to help communicate between those different areas, as well as to foster change, and to mitigate the impact of change throughout the organization.
For instance, a business analyst must possess excellent spoken and written skills, but must also be adept at analytical thinking and problem-solving. These professionals should be skilled in requirements engineering, stakeholder analysis, process modeling, and have an excellent understanding of networks, databases, and other IT assets.
What Responsibilities Might a Business Analyst Have?
While we’ve touched on the overall role of a business analyst within a firm, we have not really explored the responsibilities such a professional might have. The truth is that those responsibilities can be quite varied depending on the firm in question. A business analyst might be responsible for liaising between business leaders and department managers, or even general employees.
They might be responsible for translating highly technical, complex concepts into plain English so that those with no IT background at all can understand them. However, a business analyst might also be purely focused on product improvement, service improvement, or process improvement, rather than on being an agent of change throughout the entire organization.
In many instances, business analysts must work as product owners, even though the company itself owns the product. In this capacity, a business analyst would help determine user requirements, and then find a way to get IT onboard, while simultaneously understanding what an end customer truly needs and wants.
Training and Education Requirements for Business Analysts
A skilled business analyst should showcase both innate talents, but also learned skills. Ensuring that any business analyst hired holds specific certifications guarantees a specific level of knowledge and quality. You’ll find a number of organizations provide BA credentials, although the names all vary slightly. For example, the IIBA offers three certifications – a certificate in business analysis, a competency in business analysis, and a business analyst professional credential. The IQBBA, IREB, and PMI all offer similar credentials.
What Does a Business Analyst Earn?
Because business analysts can hold an untold number of roles within an organization, there is no single average salary. It really depends on their role. For instance, a data analyst or report writer involved with database administration might early around $96,000 per year, while a QA associate analyst could earn $73,000 per year. An applications development systems analyst might earn $91,000 per year, while an ERP business analyst could earn around $99,000 annually. Finally, a data security analyst might earn around $121,000 per year.
In the end, business analysts provide vital solutions to help keep a company moving forward while mitigating the impact of change.