Being a business analyst is mentally demanding. Every day, you face many challenges and responsibilities. Business analysts must brainstorm and form effective solutions to business problems. In the 1970s and 1980s, IT projects sought to automate repetitive tasks and convert records to electronic data for storage. Systems analysts documented manual paper processes, identified new business requirements, and automated the processes using computerized systems. They saved businesses the cost of some staff and improved customer service with fast access to electronic information. In the late 1980s and 1990s, companies evolved their IT systems in an attempt at more savings or better service. IT projects from this era failed over and over, either being unable to deliver or delivering without improving the business as projects lost their focus while receiving conflicting demands from various business departments.
The development of systems with unclear objectives, unmanaged expectations and unrealistic business cases led to the failure. Sometimes systems were developed only to follow the latest trend of technology. Business users grew steadily more frustrated with these barriers that limited their capacity to make change promptly, and as technology evolved, they began to buy and build localized systems themselves. This left many businesses with hundreds of systems linking in an unmanaged manner without real documentation. During this period, the systems analyst role evolved to the business analyst. The new role requires more than documenting process and applying technological expertise.
Business Analyst Job Responsibilities
Many different industries employ business analysts with various roles and titles. Some of these are:
- A Business Consultant analyzes the business objectives of the stakeholder and develops solutions to their business issues.
- A Data Analyst develops a logical data model.
- A Business Process Analyst analyzes and defines processes of business both “To Be” and “As Is.”
- A Requirements Analyst/Specifier identifies, analyzes, and documents business requirements and delivers work products throughout the project life cycle.
- A Business Architect analyzes the entire business, including data, goals, process, and organization.
- A Management Consultant aids stakeholders in developing their strategic goals.
- A Systems Analyst translates business requirements to System/Functional requirements, and then these are passed to Application Developers.
Business analysts usually take on several of the listed roles, so this job is ideal for a person having a broad skill set. Other job requirements include:
- Ensuring that the recommended solution is both commercial and competitive
- Understanding business requirements and translating them into specific software requirements
- Understanding both technical designs and specifications
- Analyzing and documenting the required data and information
- Evaluating information harvested through surveys and workshops, task analysis, and business process description
- Having strong technical skills, business intelligence, and a full understanding of the needs of the customer
- Being able to effectively communicate with external clients and internal teams to deliver GUI, interface and screen designs
- Being an interface between technology teams, support teams, and business units
Business Analyst Training and Education Requirements
Business Analysts must earn an MBA degree. Technical knowledge and understanding of computer programming also is important. Good work experience is preferred. With the right skills, business analysts have great potential for moving up the ladder within a company.
Business Analyst Salary and Wages
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps salary data for three different kinds of business analysts: budget analysts, financial analysts, and management analysts. Financial Analyst Salary Financial analysts act as investment advisers. They analyze portfolios and offer suggestions on bonds, stocks, and other commodities. As of May 2008, their average yearly salary was $84,780. This translates to an average hourly pay of $40.76.* *According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/ Management Analyst Salary Management analysts assess the company’s structure and develop ways of streamlining operations and maximizing profits and efficiency. Their average yearly salary in 2008 was $82,920. This translates to an average hourly pay of $39.87.* *According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/ Budget Analyst Salary Budget analysts look over and create budgets for companies and organizations. They aid clients in allocating resources in a profitable, efficient manner. Their average yearly salary in 2008 was $68,140. This translates to an average hourly pay of $32.76.* *According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/ Budget analysts’ earnings increase with work experience. In a survey conducted by Payscale in April of 2010, the average salary for a budget analyst with under one year of experience lies between $35,514 and $49,051. This range grows to $49,128-$73,472 for those having 5-9 years work experience. Those having over 20 years experience earn between $55,853 and $80,730. Management and financial analysts’ salaries also progress with experience.* *According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Business Analyst Certifications
Expected to become the standard certification for the industry, the Certification of Competency in Business AnalysisTM designation allows analysts to illustrate their abilities and responsibility skills. The Certified Business Analysts ProfessionalTM is for senior business analysts with expertise who wish to receive greater recognition from their employers, distinguish themselves as elite members of the BA community, and increase their income potential.
Business Analyst Professional Associations
The IIBA®, or International Institute of Business Analysis, is the non-profit, independent professional association that serves the expanding field of Business Analysis. This association aids all types of analysts in doing a better job.