Business analyst: job description
Business analysts assess how organisations are performing and help them improve their processes and systems. They conduct research and analysis in order to come up with solutions to business problems and help to introduce these solutions to businesses and their clients.
What does a business analyst do?
Business analysts (also known as business systems analysts, process analysts, enterprise analysts, business architects and functional analysts) use data to suggest ways that organisations can operate more efficiently. They gather and analyse data to develop and investigate potential solutions – including improvements to systems and process – to organisational challenges.
- using data modelling techniques to identify ways in which an organisation can operate more effectively.
- communicate with senior people in organisations to find out what they hope to achieve
- formulate ways for businesses to improve, based on previous research
- persuade internal and external stakeholders of the benefits of new technology or strategies
- oversee the implementation of new technology and systems
- run workshops and training sessions
- exploring how the organisation is currently operating via research, which could include interviewing employees and collecting quantitative data
- explore different solutions, their risks, benefits and impacts
- proposing solutions to an organisation’s leaders, and keeping them updated with progress
- creating documents to outline the proposed changes and the steps involved.
- ensuring the changes are made – for example, by overseeing the implementation of new technology or a new approach
- contributing to training and support for people affected by new systems and processes.
As an analyst, you may work in-house for a company (where you’ll work on projects for your own employer) or as a consultant (which will involve working with another organisation). You may need to travel to their premises to view their systems or to meet stakeholders.
Business analysts may need to work extra hours when deadlines are approaching.
Typical employers of business analysts
- Specialist business analysis firms
- Consulting and professional service firms (including technology consulting companies)
- Large public sector organisations (such as county councils and government departments)
- Technology and engineering firms
- Large organisations that require in-house analysts (such as banks, utilities companies and multinational retailers).
Experienced business analysts may be able to work for themselves in a freelance capacity.
Salaries for graduate business analysts start at around £25,000. IT business analysts can earn up to £34,000, and analysts working on highly complex projects can command higher salaries.
Qualifications and training required
Business analysts typically require a bachelors degree as it’s a competitive field. Your degree can be in any subject, although some employers may prefer a degree in a business-, computing-, economics-, or numeracy-related subject. You can get your degree through a full-time university study or through a business analyst degree apprenticeship.
You could consider taking an introductory course to explore business analysis and the skills involved. For example, the Chartered Institute for IT runs a foundation certificate in business analysis.
Key skills for business analysts
- Commercial awareness
- Confidence working with complex data and systems
- An understanding of how IT can be used to resolve problems
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills , and the ability to work with people at all levels of an organisation
- Time management and organisational skills
- Problem-solving skills
- An interest in, and understanding of, project management techniques