Business analyst

A business analyst is a specialist who looks for problems in business, optimizes business processes of companies, helps in launching new projects and plans development strategies.

Sometimes the analyst acts as an intermediary between the business and the execution team. It collects and structures all product requirements, making them understandable to all project participants.

What does a business analyst do

In the classical sense, a business analyst is a universal specialist. He understands economics, finance, organizational development and a number of related areas.

Depending on the tasks and needs of the company, the duties of a specialist can vary greatly. For example, his task may be only to analyze email campaigns in order to increase conversion, or maybe to find a problem and analyze the entire company’s activities.

A business analyst saves a company money and helps it earn more. For example, he can determine which investments did not bring results and correctly reallocate the budget.

Analysts often specialize in a particular niche:

Data analyst. Works with data, creates visualizations and dashboards, builds metrics, finds patterns, thinks through possible changes.
Systems Analyst. Analyzes integrations and architectures, is able to read code and error log, forms requirements for developers.
Consultant. Has a broad outlook in business and IT. Helps in the digital transformation of the business and forms a product development strategy.
Business Process Analyst. Analyzes and modernizes the company’s business processes. Identifies possible improvements and creates requirements for change.
If you study the vacancies of business analysts, then the requirements for the applicant will be approximately the same, even if they sound different.

For example, here is a description of the duties of a specialist in a strict official style:

List of Business Analyst Responsibilities
An example of a clear description of the duties of a business analyst in a job posting

And here is a simpler explanation of responsibilities, but the essence is similar to the above example:

Business Analyst Job Description
Fragment of the vacancy with an explanation of the duties of a business analyst

To structure the knowledge and skills of specialists, the BABOK standard has been developed. This is the IIBA International Institute of Business Analysis Guide, a set of rules. It contains requirements for certification, links to various tools and approaches to solving problems of analysts.

Required skills and knowledge

Working as a business analyst requires a large amount of knowledge and skills. Moreover, both hard-skills (professional skills) and soft-skills (soft skills) are important.

Flexible Skills Required:

  • communication skills and ability to work in a team;
  • time management and organizational skills;
  • the ability to conduct business negotiations, both orally and in writing;
  • stress resistance and ability to resolve conflict situations.

Professional knowledge and skills include:

Ability to collect business and product information. To collect data, he uses questionnaires, interviews, personal communication, the study of technical documentation, and so on.
Able to formulate technical specifications. Knows how to correctly describe the requirements of the customer, can clearly describe the desired functionality. For example, design features, performance requirements, operation and appearance.
Knows the theory of business analysis. Can evaluate the structure and functionality of the company.
Understands the technical documentation. Can present the project to the customer and explain how the product under development works and what needs to be done.
Able to structure a large amount of data. Studying, making forecasts, conducting research. Identifies relationships using Tableau Desktop, Power BI tools. He also knows how to assess the situation comprehensively, so any business analyst should understand how web analytics and BI systems work, what end-to-end analytics is.
Proficient in project management methods. Knows how best to arrange the order of actions when performing a task for the best control. Depending on the conditions of the project and the requirements of the customer, they can choose Kanban, Agile, Scrum, Lean, or another flexible methodology.
Models business processes. The business analyst draws up process diagrams, applies graphical modeling techniques, and draws up flowcharts. To do this, he needs to know special programs, for example, EPC, BPMN systems, IDEF0 and IDEF3 methodologies.
Knows programming languages ​​Python and SQL. They are required for database automation.
The need for knowledge of certain subject areas may vary. As a rule, the wider the range of knowledge of a specialist, the higher its value.

Job Requirements for a Business Analyst
An example of requirements for a business analyst from a vacancy on

Why companies need a business analyst

A business analyst is able to communicate with each of the project participants in an understandable language: with marketers – using the example of user cases and business benefits, with engineers and product managers – from the standpoint of the functionality and level of operation of the solution, with IT specialists – through a discussion of the modular solution architecture and other nuances.

Based on the listed functions and responsibilities, it is possible to draw conclusions about the situations in which an analyst is needed.

Helps identify business problems and find solutions

If the work in the company is not going well and the management cannot understand the reasons, a business analyst comes to the rescue. He plunges into the business, studies the problem, analyzes the processes. As a result, he offers the customer a solution that will improve the situation or help achieve the desired goal.

It is difficult to accurately determine the scope of the company for which a business analyst is needed. It would be more correct to say that the competence of a specialist includes an overview of all activities as a whole. He looks for the weaknesses of the company and tries to turn them into strengths.

In the process of implementing a new solution, the initial request of the customer-company can be upgraded beyond recognition. Sometimes, based on the results of the analysis, the specialist may decide that it is better to leave everything as it is. That is, the business analyst does not try to implement the customer’s tasks by any means. He analyzes possible solutions, determines their relevance and expediency from the standpoint of benefits for the company.