Tag Archives: business analysis

Business Analysis Career Path

Today’s Business Analyst

The 21st century business analyst’s world is multifaceted. As a mediator, moderator, connector and ambassador, the business analyst must bring the business needs together with IT resources. Successful business analysts tend to be clear communicators, smooth facilitators, precise analyzers and team players.

Plus, the ideal analyst has the versatility of various business functions, such as operations, finance, engineering, technology or architecture. Jay Michael, a business analyst for Colfax, agrees that the business analyst role is fuzzy at many companies.

He says, “I usually describe what a BA does by telling people I am a bridge between business systems from the end user to functional implementation of technical solutions. But when you tell somebody that they look at you like ’OK, what do you really do?’”

What Does a Business Analyst Do?

As you explore the business analyst career path, you’ll need to clear up the confusion and learn about the many hats business analysts wear. From being a good communicator and data analyzer to possessing project management and technical skills, business analysts regularly use a variety of techniques.

They are the bridge that fills in the gap between each department throughout every step of development. Modern Analyst identifies several characteristics that make up the role of a business analyst as follows:

  • The analyst works with the business to identify opportunities for improvement in business operations and processes
  • The analyst is involved in the design or modification of business systems or IT systems
  • The analyst interacts with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts in order to understand their problems and needs
  • The analyst gathers, documents, and analyzes business needs and requirements
  • The analyst solves business problems and, as needed, designs technical solutions
  • The analyst documents the functional and, sometimes, technical design of the system
  • The analyst interacts with system architects and developers to ensure the system is properly implemented
  • The analyst may help test the system and create system documentation and user manuals

What Is Business Analysis?

Now, more than ever, the ability to apply sound business analysis techniques to any situation can make you an attractive applicant for jobs in many different companies and industries.

In today’s rapidly changing business climate, only companies that quickly identify and adapt to new opportunities will survive. Whether you’re looking to change career fields or advance within your current company, acquiring business analysis techniques and credentials can open up a wealth of possibilities for you.

Business Analysis Basics

Generally speaking, business analysis refers to the practice of identifying business needs and developing solutions to meet them. Business analysis techniques are used to create an appropriate plan and put that plan into action.

Skilled business analysts are a vital part of any business structure because they are able to break down the big picture into manageable pieces, making it possible to determine how best to allocate labor and resources in any given situation.

Common Business Analysis Techniques

In order to devise a workable solution to the many challenges businesses face, there are several important business analysis techniques that professionals employ. These include:

MOST (Mission, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics) – Identifying each of these elements allows business analysts to conduct a thorough internal analysis of what an organization is aiming to accomplish and how best to go about doing that.

PESTLE (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental) – This model is used by business analysts to evaluate various external factors that will impact their company and determine how to address them.

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) – This business analysis technique is used to identify areas of both strength and weakness within a corporate structure and translate them into opportunities and threats, which helps in determining the proper allocation of resources.

MoSCoW (Must or Should, Could or Would) – This process allows for the prioritization of requirements by presenting a framework in which each individual requirement can be evaluated relative to the others. Is it a must-have? Something the project should have? Something that could improve the deliverable? Or something that would be a good future addition?

CATWOE (Customers, Actors, Transformation Process, World View, Owner and Environmental Constraints) – This business analysis technique identifies the main parties and processes that will be affected by any action the business undertakes. This makes it possible for business analysts to thoroughly evaluate the impact of any proposed action under consideration.

The 5 Whys – A mainstay of both Six Sigma and business analysis techniques, this series of leading questions helps business analysts single out the root cause of a problem by asking why a situation exists, then subjecting the answer to another “why?”, and so on.

Six Thinking Hats – This process is used to direct a group’s line of thinking during a brainstorming session by considering alternate perspectives and ideas. The “six hats” in this technique are categorized as White (logical, data-driven thinking), Red (emotion-based reactions), Black (adverse thinking, focused on cons), Yellow (positive thinking, focused on pros), Green (creative thinking) and Blue (big-picture overview).

All of these business analysis techniques are an important part of an analyst’s repertoire. Considering the complexity of most business models and the many different factors that can impact them, it is critical for companies to have trained professionals on staff that are highly skilled in the application of these and other business analysis techniques.

Salary – Business Analyst

Business Analysts (BA) play a vital role in coordinating information technology (IT) and business process management of large corporations or institutions. With the advances in IT, it can be difficult to incorporate the best solutions for running a business smoothly.

A business analyst appraises technology to improve the business’ needs and a business analyst salary reflects this great responsibility. The technology sector is a major contributor to the US economy and, over a period, it was observed that most projects failed to meet expectations due to operational snags. Thus the need for business analysts was felt by the market; basic economics dictate that supply meets demands. Since the early 1980s business analysts have been in demand, the projections for the future are favorable and the salary range for business analysts remains positive.

Job Description and Education

The business analyst job description covers a wide range of responsibilities and duties to be performed and may vary by organization. One of the most important tasks that a business analyst undertakes is analyzing and proposing good business solutions. It is a key position in an organization.

Collecting information and documentation pertaining to a project, and transforming these into functional solution is one of the key work areas of a business analyst. Reviewing the current business plans and striving to better current business practices are other major aspects of a BA job description. A sound knowledge of computers coupled with business intelligence is one of the core qualities required of a BA.

The BA acts as a conduit between the various aspects of a business like technology, operations and project teams, to give viable and healthy solutions for business process management. To become a business analyst, students will have to complete a certificate program. The curriculum in most schools will be based on the syllabus of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).

Most certificate programs are offered to individuals who are working as software programmers, quality assurance, production managers, etc. People who wish to attend the certification program need to pass the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) application process. Upon successful completion of the CBAP examination, participants will be certified.

Business Analyst Salary Range

The salary range for business analyst depends greatly on the experience of the individual in specific roles. A background in computers and relating systems will influence the business analyst salary. The entry level business analyst salary ranges from $41,000 to $54,000.

Like most employment avenues you earn more as a BA, if you have experience. Individuals who have an experience of 5-9 years earn high six figure salaries. The senior business analyst salary can go as high as $134,000. Depending on the size of the organization you could also make more than $150,000 annually.

Since business analyst is a broader term, which covers system analysts and project analysts, the business analyst average salary is directly related to the job profile. IT jobs have been a lucrative option for many, even during the economic downturn. An IT business analyst salary can range from $57,000 to $78,000.

Some of the top employers are going to be companies involved in software development and applications. The federal and state governments also hire BA for various projects, and the salary they offer, ranges from $55,000 to $80,000 annually.

Career opportunities for a BA are expected to grow steadily over the next few years and the business analyst salary figures will also show a steady incline. Individuals who have an MBA degree and have completed the BA certification program are going to be in demand.