What is a Business Analysis and What does Business Analyst Do (2023)

It’s a competitive market out there, and businesses that want to succeed need to take advantage of every tool and resource within their reach. Smart decisions help businesses thrive, and reliable information is the key to intelligent decisions.

Enter business analysis. You are about to get a primer on business analysts—learning what they are, why they are needed, what they do, and how to become one. If you’re running a business, you may realize why you need one in your organization, while those of you who are looking for a good career may have just found one!

Let’s take our first steps into a business analyst’s world by first understanding what is business analysis.

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What is Business Analysis?

Business analysis is a combination of gaining insight from data using specific techniques, and performing tasks to identify the needs of a business—then, recommending changes and providing solutions that produce value for the stakeholders. Many of the solutions potentially have software and digital data-based components, but can also incorporate organizational changes, like improving processes, developing new policies, and engaging in strategic planning.

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What is a Business Analysis and What does Business Analyst Do (1)

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What Does a Business Analyst Do?

Business analysts are agents of change—professionals who analyze a business or organization, by documenting its systems and processes, assessing its business model, identifying vulnerabilities, and devising solutions.

Business analysts go by many other job titles, including:

  • Business Architect
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Business Systems Analyst
  • Data Scientist
  • Enterprise Analyst
  • Management Consultant
  • Process Analyst
  • Product Manager
  • Product Owner
  • Requirements Engineer
  • Systems Analyst

Bear in mind that some organizations also use the term “IT Business Analyst.” Although there seems to be no clear consensus regarding the differences between the two positions (and, in fact, many organizations use them interchangeably), some circles note that the IT Business Analyst works more with software methodologies.

Once the business analysis definition is locked down, the more curiosity-driven reader may follow up by asking, “In that case, what is business impact analysis?” Business impact analysis is a practice that’s of particular relevance in these days of pandemic-induced business shutdowns. Business impact analysis, or BIA, aims to predict and identify the financial and operational impacts of business disruption. You can be sure that before many businesses closed temporarily due to the coronavirus, they launched business impact analysis studies.

Now that we have gone through to understand what is business analysis, let us next look at the difference between business analysis and business analytics.

Difference Between Business Analysis and Business Analytics

We should take a moment and clarify the distinction between these two concepts. Business analysis is more concerned with functions and processes, while business analytics covers data and reporting. Still, many organizations use the terms interchangeably.

As we have learned what a business analyst is, let us understand business analysis uses.

Why Use Business Analysis?

Thanks mostly to the breathtaking pace of today’s technological advancements, the 21st century’s business world is one of rapid, constant change. Innovations change the way we live and work, and businesses must be able to adapt to these changes or get left behind.

Business analysts are the ideal professionals to shepherd any organization through the tricky terrain of change. Once they navigate through those changes, businesses emerge more robust, more competitive, and better equipped to handle the ever-evolving world of digital-based business.

(Video) What is Business Analysis? And what is a Business Analyst?

After having understood what is a business analyst, let us next look at the business analysis process.

What is the Business Analysis Process?

These are the widely accepted steps in the business analysis process. Each company’s needs and situations are different, however, so there may be some variance.

  1. Get orientedMake sure to clarify the business analyst’s role, determine the stakeholders’ perspective, and get familiar with the project’s history.
  2. Name the primary business objectives. Identify the primary stakeholders’ expectations, reconcile conflicting expectations, and make sure the objectives are clear and actionable.
  3. Define the project’s scope. You need a clear and complete statement of the project’s scope—a rough roadmap of all the steps the project participants must follow.
  4. Create a business analysis plan. List timelines, steps, and deliverables.
  5. Define requirements. You need concise, clear, and actionable requirements, based on analyzing the information gathered so far.
  6. Support the technical implementation. Since many solutions require using software, the business analyst needs to work closely with IT teams.
  7. Help implement the solution. This step involves creating clear documentation and training end-users.
  8. Assess value. Did the project work? How much progress did the organization make? Are there any needed follow-ups?

While looking into the various aspects of business analysis, we have learned what is business analysis so let us next learn its various techniques.

What are the Different Techniques of Business Analysis?

Countless hurdles and obstacles face any company that wants to stay on top of the heap. Fortunately, there are also a handful of varying business analysis techniques—brace yourself for a flood of acronyms.

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  • CATWOE (Customers, Actors, Transformation Process, World View, Owner, and Environmental Constraints). This technique identifies the main parties and processes potentially affected by any action the business undertakes. This technique helps business analysts to thoroughly evaluate how a proposed action will affect a collection of different parties and elements.
  • MoSCoW (Must or Should, Could or Would). This process prioritizes requirements by presenting a framework where every single demand is evaluated compared to other requirements. Is it a must-have or a should-have? Is it something that could improve the product or something that would be an ideal future element?
  • MOST (Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics). Business analysts use these elements to conduct a detailed and complete internal analysis of an organization’s goals and how to handle each one.
  • PESTLE (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal, and Environmental). Business analysts use the PESTLE model to evaluate the various external factors that can potentially affect their company and how best to address them.
  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). This technique identifies a corporate structure’s areas of strength and weakness, translating them into opportunities and threats. The knowledge gained helps determine proper resource allocation.
  • Six Thinking Hats. This analysis process directs a group’s line of thinking by brainstorming alternate perspectives and ideas. The ‘six hats’ in question are White (focus on your data, logic), Red (uses gut feelings, emotions, intuition), Black (potential negative results, what can go wrong), Yellow (focus on positives, optimistic), Green (creativity), and Blue (process control, the big-picture overview).
  • The 5 Whys. Commonly found in Six Sigma and business analysis techniques, this series of leading questions, all posed with “Why?”, helps business analysts identify a problem’s origin by asking why a situation exists, then raising another “why?” question to the answer, and so on.

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What is a Business Analysis and What does Business Analyst Do (3)

We have understood so much about business analysis, beginning from what is business analysis, the process, uses, and more. Let us next look at the benefits.

How Does a Company Benefit from Business Analysis?

Business analysts bring a disciplined approach to creating and managing change within an organization. They identify vulnerabilities, define needs based on feedback and stakeholder communication, organize and implement solutions, and monitor the results.

In today’s competitive environment, businesses of all sizes need every possible advantage that they can get, and the business analyst is a valuable resource for identifying the best moves to make, on both a tactical and strategic scale. Furthermore, business analysts make ideal project managers.

By employing a business analyst, companies gain a better understanding of themselves and their needs, and how best to meet them. As we have learned what is a business analyst, the various techniques, the business analysis process, and more let us look into the benefits of getting certified.

(Video) What is business analysis? What do business analysts do? -Business Analyst Training

The Benefits of Certification

The certification process yields advantages to the professional and organization alike. For the individual, certification imparts skills and training that any good business analyst needs to succeed. Business analysis is not a career where you can mostly learn as you go! Entering a new position with a complete and robust skillset is the only way you will succeed.

Certification also grants you a tangible milestone, an easily measured achievement that tells prospective employers, “I know what I’m doing.” When you sit down for that interview, your certification is a verification of your qualifications. Certification helps you open the door to a better, more lucrative career in business analytics.

For the organization, certification assures the business that they have the right choice for the position. The interview process can be tricky, fraught with uncertainty. It’s also time-consuming and costly, so the organization should strive to make the right choice the first time by ensuring a mutually beneficial fit. Certification assures the candidate’s competency in the subject matter.

We have learned what is business analysis, next, let us look at the skills and qualifications of a business analyst.

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What Skills and Qualifications Does a Business Analyst Need?

When we talk about what is business analysis and what makes a good business analyst, we must focus on the relevant necessary skills. Business analysts required a range of soft and hard skills, including experience in either IT or business-related backgrounds. For the IT side, that means knowing how to pull, analyze, and report on data trends, as well as sharing that information in a clear way. For the business side, you need to have at least a basic understanding of how systems, tools, and products work.

Business analysts should have a bachelor’s degree in Business or a related field, or alternately, an MBA. Furthermore, most businesses want the candidate to have some work-related experience in business analysis or a related field, usually about five years’ worth.

According to the Institute of Business Analysis, a good analyst needs the following skills and knowledge:

  • Analytical thinking and problem solving
  • Communication skills (oral and written)
  • Interpersonal and consultative skills
  • Costs benefit analysis
  • Facilitation skills
  • Detail-oriented and able to deliver at a high level of accuracy
  • Organizational skills
  • Processes modeling
  • Knowledge of business structures
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Requirements engineering
  • Understanding of how networks, databases and other technologies work

How Would You Like to Become a Business Analyst?

Business analysts are in high demand and fetch excellent compensation. Salary.com reports an annual average of USD 75,400. If this sounds like a smart career move to you, then check out Simplilearn’s new Post Graduate Program in Business Analysis in partnership with Purdue University.

The program is designed to hone your expertise in the latest business analytics tools and techniques, including planning and monitoring, data analysis and statistics, visualizations, Agile Scrum methodologies, and SQL databases.

(Video) Intro to Business Analysis

On the other hand, if you wish to become a pro business analyst, and add a shining name, i.e., Carlson School of Management certification to your resume, you must join umn business analytics course. Leverage the UMN edge today, explore more and enroll right away!


What does a business analysis do? ›

Business analysis is used to identify and articulate the need for change in how organizations work, and to facilitate that change. As business analysts, we identify and define the solutions that will maximize the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders.

What do you think are the key strengths of a business analyst answer? ›

What are your strengths as a business analyst? Critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making are three crucial strengths that are required from a good business analyst. Having industry or business knowledge and management skills are also a plus.

Why do you want to be a business analyst Sample answer? ›

“One of the main reasons I want to be a business analyst is because I like to be able to see a direct relationship between my efforts and the company's success. In my summer work term, I was able to improve the company's operational efficiencies resulting in a cost savings of 2%.”

What skills should business analysts have select an answer? ›

You can answer this by stating that a business analyst must have exceptional communication and negotiation skills. Analytical thinking, problem-solving, and decision making are also vital attributes. A business analyst should have industry knowledge, business process management skills along with technical proficiency.

What is business analytics in simple words? ›

Specifically, business analytics refers to: Taking in and processing historical business data. Analyzing that data to identify trends, patterns, and root causes. Making data-driven business decisions based on those insights.

What is the most important task of the BA? ›

The most important responsibility of the Business Analyst is elaborating the details. This is where he gets into evaluating the needs and guarantee the implementation team has the entire details, they require creating or implementing the process.

What are the most important skills of a business analyst and why? ›

Top 7 Business Analyst Skills that are High in Demand!
  • Competent Verbal Communication.
  • Good Listening Skills.
  • Ability to Understand Delegated Objectives.
  • Being able to Run Meetings with Stakeholders. ...
  • Knowing the Objectives Well.
  • Being Diligent with Time Management.
  • Documenting and Writing Reports.

How do I pass a business analyst interview? ›

Best Business Analyst Interview Preparation Guidance for 2022
  1. First, take a look at the job posting. What skills are they looking for? ...
  2. Next, brush up on your knowledge of the company. Research their history, mission statement, and any recent news stories.
  3. Finally, practice your answers to common interview questions.

How can a business analyst stand out? ›

5 Ways to Stand Out
  1. Broaden Your Understanding. As a business analyst, you must be able to clearly communicate insights and collaborate with others on what to do with those insights. ...
  2. Speak the Language. ...
  3. Slay Those Silos. ...
  4. Never Stop Learning. ...
  5. Understand Your Organisation's Data Infrastructure.
9 Jun 2022

What makes a good business analyst? ›

Great BA's are good communicators, problem-solvers, and think critically. They can create requirements specifications, analyze requirements, create visual models, facilitate elicitation sessions, and use the necessary business analyst tools.

What is your weakness best answer? ›

Answer “what is your greatest weakness” by choosing a skill that is not essential to the job you're applying to and by stressing exactly how you're practically addressing your weakness. Some skills that you can use as weaknesses include impatience, multitasking, self-criticism, and procrastination.

What kind of questions should a business analyst ask? ›

8 Questions Every Business Analyst Should Ask
  • What problem is this business having that you hope to solve by developing this project? ...
  • What is the business doing at present to alleviate or solve the issue? ...
  • What inside resources will this project be utilizing? ...
  • Have you determined a vision for the project?

Is SQL required for business analyst? ›

SQL is the language in which we can tell the computer to perform that operation. With big data and relational databases being the new norm for most companies, SQL knowledge is a prerequisite for almost any business analyst job.

What does a business analyst do on a daily basis? ›

A business analyst's daily job duties include identifying business issues, collecting and recording data, analyzing data, and evaluating and presenting data solutions. They work with several groups including customer service management, product development, business operations, and business clients.

How do business analyst use Excel? ›

The following are some of the most important features of Excel that Business Analysts use:
  • Working with IF formulas. ...
  • Using VLOOKUP. ...
  • Extracting clarity from clutter. ...
  • Uncovering data patterns. ...
  • Documenting spreadsheet systems. ...
  • Using PivotTables. ...
  • Visualizing data. ...
  • Understanding industry-relevant Excel features.
3 Jun 2022

What are the 3 types of business analytics? ›

There are three types of analytics that businesses use to drive their decision making; descriptive analytics, which tell us what has already happened; predictive analytics, which show us what could happen, and finally, prescriptive analytics, which inform us what should happen in the future.

What are the four types of business analytics? ›

From here, we are ready to begin the first steps of data analytics.
  • Step One: Descriptive Analytics. Descriptive analytics is the step where we start to glean information from what we've gathered. ...
  • Step Two: Diagnostic Analytics. ...
  • Step Three: Predictive Analytics. ...
  • Step Four: Prescriptive Analytics.
22 Jul 2022

Which of these are examples of business analytics? ›

Some of the real-world examples of business analytics are developing marketing strategies, increasing sales, improving financial efficiency, streamlining processes, increasing productivity, and using predictive analytics.

What are the key deliverables of a business analyst? ›

Some business analysis deliverables include the business analysis plan, requirements management plan, business requirements document, system requirements specification, product backlog, business analysis communication plan etc.

Do business analyst have targets? ›

Goal setting is crucial to the career development of a business analyst. Particularly when positions are data-driven, goals can provide focus and motivation. If you're a business analyst, learning more about goal setting can help you structure your performance and charter a path for career growth and development.

How soft skills are related to business analyst? ›

Employers value soft skills because they enable business analysis professionals to cooperate, collaborate, and thrive within an organization. In IIBA's 2021 Global State of Business Analysis Survey, business analysis professionals ranked the soft skills they use regularly in their role below.

How do you introduce yourself in a business analyst interview? ›

The first sentence of your introduction should tell the interviewer that you want them to listen and understand who you are as a person and why they should care about what it is that you have to say. Remember, focus on your skills and experiences relevant to the role.

How do I succeed as a BA? ›

Six ways to succeed as a business analyst
  1. Care about your stakeholder(s) It's important to keep in mind that every project is unique. ...
  2. Listen actively and ask the right questions. ...
  3. Choose the right medium to communicate. ...
  4. Coordinate & ensure close follow-up. ...
  5. Manage your meetings. ...
  6. Keep your management in the loop.

Is business analyst easy to learn? ›

If you desire to begin your career as a Business Analyst but are unsure where to start, or have begun the process but got lost along the way, then you are at the right place. I'm here to tell you the truth. The path to becoming a Business Analyst is not short nor easy.

What are the weakness of a business analyst? ›

The weak business analyst often fails to make use of all available resources. He may be unfamiliar with some resources as well. These resources may include industry reports, software packages or assessment tools.

What type of person is a business analyst? ›

The average Business Analyst tends to be direct in verbalizing concerns without leaving anything up for interpretation, occasionally being blunt with feedback. The average Business Analyst tends to be an objective thinker who prioritizes accuracy and results.

How do business analysts deal with clients? ›

So how do you handle such stakeholders ? Well, first of all as a Business Analyst you have to be customer focused and flexible. You would have to wear many hats such as customer service, support analyst, project manager, product owner, tester and scrum master. You have to be whoever you need to be to get the job done.

What are business analysts passionate about? ›

Passion. An effective Business Analyst is passionate about what they do. Business Analysts must have the desire to conduct deep research into facts and figures.

How do you handle stress and pressure? ›

2. Commit to a Positive Attitude
  1. Decide what you can do. Pinpoint which parts of the situation you have the power to change or influence for the better. ...
  2. Get support. Find someone to talk to about your situation. ...
  3. Care for yourself. Take especially good care of yourself when stress in your life is high.

What can you bring to the company? ›

Think about: your enthusiasm for the profession and the employer and your desire to make your mark. your personal qualities, such as your drive and willingness to learn. the skills the employer seeks and how you have demonstrated them in the past – your answer should show why you would be competent in the job.

Why are you the best fit for this role? ›

Example Answer #2

My skill set is a perfect match for the job requirements. In particular, my sales skills and managerial experience make me an ideal candidate for the position. For example, at my last job, I managed a sales team of five employees, and we had the top sales record of our company branch.

How do you gather requirements as a business analyst? ›

Stages of Requirement Gathering:
  1. Identify the right stakeholders.
  2. Define the Project: Understand the project goals and scope.
  3. Elicit the requirements from the stakeholders.
  4. Document the requirements.
  5. Confirm the Requirements with the client and stakeholders to ensure transparency.
21 May 2022

Why should you be hired for this role business analyst? ›

Everyday a business analyst is faced with new challenges and new problems to solve, which makes it a perfect job for someone that values a dynamic and challenging work environment, and allows one to continuously develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Do business analysts need to know programming? ›

While the ability to program is helpful for a career in analytics, being able to write code isn't necessarily required to work as an analytics professional. Apart from the above languages, statistical software such as SPSS, SAS, Sage, Mathematica, and even Excel can be used when managing and analyzing data.

How is Python used in business analysis? ›

They engage in exploratory data analysis, which includes profiling the data, visualizing results, and creating observations to shape the next steps in the analysis. Python can be used to manipulate data (using libraries such as pandas), streamline workflows, and create visualizations (using Matplotlib).

What software does business analyst use? ›

There are multiple excellent options for creating data visualizations as well. Microsoft's Visio is perhaps the most popular with Business Analysts, but Data Analysts might also recommend Tableau, PowerBI, Bokeh, Plotly, or Infogram.

What does an analyst do day to day? ›

A financial analyst is responsible for a wide range of activities including gathering data, organizing information, analyzing historical results, making forecasts and projections, making recommendations, and generating Excel models, presentations, and reports.

What are the 3 common uses for Excel? ›

The main uses of Excel include: Data entry. Data management. Accounting.

What do analysts use Excel for? ›

Microsoft Excel for Data Analysts is one of the top tools and its built-in Pivot Table is unarguably one of the best and most popular analytical tools one could ask for. Data Analysts can use Microsoft Excel to create flexible Data Aggregation, represent data visually, calculate margins and other common ratios, etc.

What should be included in a business analysis? ›

A business analysis report has several components that need to be included to give a thorough description of the topic at hand.
They can be broken down into different sections that include an:
  1. Executive summary.
  2. Study introduction.
  3. Methodology.
  4. Review of statistics.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. References.
20 Jan 2022

What is business analysis and example? ›

Business analysis is the process of developing information, knowledge and plans for business change. This generally involves information gathering, measurement & calculation, solution design and resolution of issues. The following are common examples of business analysis.

What does a business analyst do on a daily basis? ›

A business analyst's daily job duties include identifying business issues, collecting and recording data, analyzing data, and evaluating and presenting data solutions. They work with several groups including customer service management, product development, business operations, and business clients.

What does a BA do in Agile? ›

Role of an Agile Business Analyst

An Agile BA holds discussions with stakeholders to understand their requirements and their vision of the product. This is then translated into business needs and communicated to the team members to make them understand the expectations of the project.

What are the four stages of business analysis? ›

Steps involved in Business Analysis Process

Requirement planning and Management. Requirement Elicitation. Requirement analysis and Documentation.

How do you perform business analysis? ›

Business Analysis Process Flow
  1. Step 1: Gather Background Information. ...
  2. Step 2: Identify Stakeholders. ...
  3. Step 3: Discover Business Objectives. ...
  4. Step 4: Evaluate Options. ...
  5. Step 5: Scope Definition. ...
  6. Step 6: Business Analyst Delivery Plan. ...
  7. Step 7: Define Project Requirements. ...
  8. Step 8: Support Implementation Through SDLC.

What are the six business analysis knowledge areas? ›

The the six knowledge areas listed here:
  • Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring.
  • Elicitation and Collaboration.
  • Requirements Life Cycle Management.
  • Strategy Analysis.
  • Requirements Analysis and Design Definition.
  • Solution Evaluation.

Which of these are examples of business analytics? ›

Some of the real-world examples of business analytics are developing marketing strategies, increasing sales, improving financial efficiency, streamlining processes, increasing productivity, and using predictive analytics.

What is a typical day for a BA? ›

Like every other job a Business Analysts also have a chunk of work to accomplish on a daily basis. That includes attending team meetings, planning, analysis, documentation, and working on the challenges, reviews and many more. An agile business analyst has to handle a variety of work.

What is the role of the analyst? ›

Sample analyst job description

As a member of the IT team, the analyst will focus on solving organizational problems by analyzing processes, workflows, and systems to identify opportunities for either improvement or automation.

What does an analyst do day to day? ›

A financial analyst is responsible for a wide range of activities including gathering data, organizing information, analyzing historical results, making forecasts and projections, making recommendations, and generating Excel models, presentations, and reports.

Does a Business Analyst write test cases? ›

Business analyst has to write different sets of test cases that need to design for UAT. Once UAT has done successfully the deployment will start at the customer's place, and the actual end-user will start using the software.

How can I improve my BA skills? ›

How to improve your Business Analysis competency
  1. Understand Your Stakeholders: ...
  2. Understand the Business Context: ...
  3. Plan the Business Analysis Work: ...
  4. Set Initiative Scope: ...
  5. Develop Solution Requirements and Design Definition: ...
  6. Manage the scope: ...
  7. Evaluate the Solution: ...
  8. 20 Lines to Write Before Starting Your Pitch Deck.
23 Mar 2019

Do business analysts use Jira? ›

By understanding the purpose, prioritizing the stories, and ensuring a full description of the solution, business analysts in Jira aid the team in grooming the product backlog.


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