Businesses thrive on how efficiently they handle market changes using integrative data-driven decisions. Furthermore, reliable data collection and interpretation are key to optimizing the operational costs of companies. As a result, a senior business analyst is a critical hire for modern-day organizations. This executive has specific skill sets to correctly distill insights from information and identify business areas that need attention.
Teams led by senior business analysts scan different departments, company processes, and organizational structures, recommending ways to improve their efficiency. Business analytics is a crucial aspect of their operations. Therefore, this blog focuses on the crucial hard and soft skills that help a senior business analyst succeed in this disruptive digital business landscape.
Who is a Business Analyst?
Business analysts use data analytics to study different sections of a business to suggest improvements in systems and processes. They peruse company data to build strategies. Thereafter, they communicate their observations and strengthen the change implementation processes.
What Does a Senior Business Analyst Do?
A senior business analyst finds or creates opportunities by optimizing an organization’s operations efficiency, finance management, workforce management, or technology usage. Therefore, the following are some of their regular tasks and responsibilities:
- Assess team performance and ensure project deliverables meet predetermined deadlines
- Test and find ways to improve company processes continuously
- Assess risks behind financial decisions and make recommendations based on best practices
- Regularly review progress through weekly, monthly, and annual reports; also, present data-driven recommendations to stakeholders
- Implement technology cost-effectively
- Understanding changing business needs
- Strengthen the connection between business operations and its IT counterparts to enhance strategic modifications in business processes
Skills Required to Become a Senior Business Analyst
A senior business analyst streamlines businesses and this requires a mix of both hard skills and soft skills. So, let’s find out what they are:
This is an essential skill that requires you to apply different methods, processes, and also knowledge to achieve certain objectives. Project management skills help business analysts to:
- Lead cross-functional teams and communication
- Document key project information
- Determine project management methodology and identify areas for improvement
- Establish software requirements for different projects and leverage the latest tech trends for organizational efficiency
ALSO READ: A Comprehensive Guide to Project Planning
As a senior business analyst, this skill requires you to be proficient in using various analytical tools and techniques to process and make sense of large amounts of data. In addition, you must be able to identify trends, patterns, and insights that can be used to drive business decisions and support the achievement of business objectives.
To demonstrate your proficiency in this skill, you should be able to:
- Identify and collect relevant data from various sources and organize it in an easy way to analyze
- Use analytical tools and techniques, such as statistical analysis, data visualization, and predictive modeling, to process and analyze data
- Identify trends and patterns in the data and use them to develop insights that can inform business decisions
- Communicate your findings clearly and concisely, using visual aids and other tools to help stakeholders understand the data
- Collaborate with stakeholders to understand their requirements and ensure your analysis aligns with their needs
- Continuously seek to improve your data analysis skills and stay up-to-date with the latest analytical tools and techniques
Knowledge of Databases and SQL
A sound understanding of relational databases and hands-on experience with Standard Query Language (SQL) is important for succeeding in a competitive data-driven business climate. SQL enables you to communicate with a database. Hence, this entails working with structured data and defining important commands for data definition. For instance, you can sharpen your database and SQL skills by:
- Producing business reports using SQL
- Choosing an appropriate learning program and documenting the processes thoroughly
- Combining MS-Excel skills with SQL knowledge to be able to do a comprehensive analysis and manipulate large amounts of data
Analytical and Critical Thinking
Analytical thinking allows for smooth communication and establishes a solid foundation for active listening. For example, practicing these qualities helps analysts to:
- Translate client requirements appropriately
- Consider multiple perspectives before shaping an opinion of what the client wants
- Present realistic versions of client demands and prioritize business requirements accordingly
- Intelligently tackle the limitations of resources and strategize solutions without compromising on the final output
Understanding Business Objectives
Senior business analysts must understand the actions required to accomplish long-term business goals. To that end, they need to be aware of what they are. Usually, there are four primary business objectives: profit earning, market share, innovation, and productivity. To strike a balance between them, senior analysts need to execute the following:
- Find internal avenues of efficiency optimization to decrease production costs
- Examine external opportunities for profit generation and determine initiatives to leverage them
- Identify business trends to ward off threats and enhance opportunities that influence business objectives
- Monitor progress through data collection and develop action plans to enable strategic decision-making as well as ensure timely meeting of daily business objectives
Negotiation forms the core of a senior business analyst’s job. For example, in project management, in the initial phase analysts negotiate with clients about the final vision and push for a more actionable and achievable version of the same. During the project development phase, inter-team negotiation is required to juggle technical decisions with the available human resources. Thus, negotiation is directly linked to and informs various aspects of a senior business analyst’s job.
As a senior business analyst, this skill requires you to communicate clearly and concisely with technical and non-technical stakeholders. This can include executives, project managers, developers, and end-users. Moreover, effective communication is essential to ensuring that everyone involved understands a project’s goals, requirements, and progress.
To demonstrate your proficiency in this skill, you should be able to:
- Listen actively to understand the needs and concerns of stakeholders and be able to ask clarifying questions to get a clear understanding of requirements
- Write clearly and concisely, creating reports, presentations, and other documentation that is easy to understand
- Create and deliver presentations that effectively convey complex information to stakeholders
- Facilitate meetings and discussions to ensure that everyone involved in a project is able to communicate effectively and contribute to its success
- Build relationships with stakeholders and establish trust
- Adapt your communication style to the needs and preferences of different stakeholders, such as using visual aids for more visual learners or simplifying technical language for non-technical stakeholders
Career Outlook and Salary of Senior Business Analyst
According to a 2023 Glassdoor report, the average annual salary of a senior business analyst in the US is $114,935. To pursue this career trajectory, there are several options available to you. The first step typically involves earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration or management. Alternatively, you could also seek a degree in data analytics. After completing your education, you can pursue an MBA or gain work experience by joining any firm as a junior analyst. Working in this position for at least five to six years will provide you with the necessary acumen to embrace a senior business analyst role.
FAQs on Business Analysts
1. How Do You Advance to a Senior Business Analyst Position?
You can get promoted to the senior business analyst position after working as a junior analyst for five to eight years.
2. What are the Challenges of Being a Senior Business Analyst?
- Changing requirements, both external (changes in compliance laws) and internal (changes in client demands)
- Developers not being able to get a clear idea of client expectations
- Conflict with stakeholders
- Lack of documentation processes for existing business practices
3. What are the Typical Career Trajectories for a Senior Business Analyst?
After joining the position of a senior analyst, your career can take any of the following trajectories:
- Lead product manager
- Systems analyst
- Solutions architect
- Scrum master
- Analytics manager
Grow in Your Career as a Business Analyst with Emeritus
To conclude, the skills to become a senior business analyst can be mastered. For example, you can start by signing up for a course that covers all the facets of business management. In particular, exploring Emeritus’ diversified business management courses can be highly beneficial. By enrolling in these courses, you can learn the best practices of business analytics.
By Bishwadeep Mitra
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