Understanding the role of Business Analyst
Generally, a business analyst is a person who is responsible for analyzing and interpreting data to help the company make decisions and improve its business. In some cases, business analysts also conduct specific training and knowledge transfer classes for employees and customers.
Characteristics of a business analyst
Whether you are a junior analyst or a senior analyst, there are certain characteristics that you need to possess.
First, you should have a good understanding of business principles of your organization. This will help you analyze the needs of your clients and find the best solution. It is also essential to have strong communication skills. You should be able to present your ideas clearly, while also being able to listen to different opinions.
You should also be able to think critically. This will allow you to find a solution that is not only feasible, but will also be within the project budget.
You will need to know how to manage your tasks effectively. In certain cases, the role of the Business Analyst is merged with that of a Project Manager, particular for smaller projects. In which case, a Business Analyst will also be required to know basic project management skills, ie. how to keep track of budgets, as well as other aspects of the project.
As a Business Analyst, you should also be able to use word processing tool like Microsoft Word to write up relevant reports, as well as presentation tool like Microsoft PowerPoint. In addition, in most cases, you will also be required to know data analysis tool such as Microsoft Excel as well as other Business Intelligence (BI) Tools.
Responsibilities of a business analyst
Compared to data analysts, business analysts do more to help an organization make better business decisions. A data analyst's main focus is on gathering and analyzing information. A business analyst on the other hand, will work to identify anomalies, find solutions and formulate processes.
While a data analyst is often a technical person, a business analyst has a wider range of skill sets. These range from having a good understanding of the business concepts, a good understanding of customer needs, and the ability to communicate effectively.
A business analyst works closely with management to identify and analyze internal processes. This involves investigating internal and external processes, as well as presenting findings to stakeholders. These findings could be used to make strategic business decisions.
Essentially, a business analyst job description involves delineating project needs, creating essential documents such as requirements list and relevant analysis reports to ensure that a project or product meets client expectations. This client could be an internal client within the organization or an external customer.
Business analysts also needs to work closely with the development team to make sure that the solution can be successfully implemented. A business analyst will also need to work with the Change Management team or directly work with the Operations groups to ensure that the newly implemented solution can be managed and maintained by the Operations group.
A good business analyst will also need to develop strategies to modify existing business processes and systems to meet new requirements. They must also be able to assess opportunities. identify matches and gaps and also identify possible risks and issues to determine the feasibility of a project implementation plan.
The business analyst will also have to determine how the new requirements meet strategic vision of the organization and be able to identify any possible gaps.
To carry out their role effectively, a business analyst must be familiar with the industry and the different sectors within it. This is because it will help them to easily understand their client requirements as well as effectively communicate any project issues to stakeholders. They should also be knowledgeable about the latest technology platforms and tools that are typically used within their industry as well as by the Business Analyst community.
Skills required to be a great Business Analyst
Whether you are a fresh graduate or an experienced professional, your skills as a business analyst are crucial. You must be adept at interpreting and translating client and user requirements into workable solutions or be able to effectively provide the requirement framework to the Solutions Design team.
As a business analyst, you must also be able to communicate the project details effectively with the project team members as well as the client and other stakeholders.
If you are working as a business analyst in a technical or data-centric area, then your technical skills will need to include the ability to use SQL, a programming language that allows you to manipulate data.
Another key skill you will need as a business analyst, is to be able to communicate well and build strong relationships. Good interpersonal skills will help you develop and maintain positive and fruitful interaction with your team members and clients.
In addition, you will also need to build trust with your team members, client and other stakeholders by acting with impartiality and utmost integrity.
Good negotiation ability is another skill that you will need as a business analyst. There will be times where the solution to a particular client requirement may not be worth the implementation effort. In such cases, it will be necessary to present the dilemma to the client and negotiate a win-win solution. Ofcourse this is not always possible, but having good negotiating skills can sometimes be the key difference between a good and a stellar business analyst.