What Does a Business Analyst Do? Your Ultimate Guide to Becoming One

What Does a Business Analyst Do? Your Ultimate Guide to Becoming One | Data Science | Emeritus

If you have a question about what does a business analyst do, keep reading. Simply put, business analysts evaluate the performance of organizations and provide expertise in improving their processes and systems. Their job also involves conducting thorough research and analysis to identify and solve business problems. Furthermore, they help the client and businesses implement these solutions. Besides knowing about what does a business analyst do, we will also learn about the key skills required to become a Business Analyst (BA).

What are the Essential Qualifications to Become a Business Analyst?

The question of what does a business analyst do is readily tackled by first getting an idea about what they need to learn. Let’s look at the qualifications required for the job and other factors as well.

1# Degree and Domain Knowledge

An analyst must have a relevant degree and sound domain knowledge in the field. Additionally, relevant work experience is valuable to understand the specific industry in which they are working.

2# Analytical Skills

A business analyst must possess strong analytical skills to analyze data. Further, a business analyst must also have critical thinking and problem-solving skills to interpret business needs and find the best solution for a problem.

3# Negotiation Skills

To achieve profitable results for a company, a business analyst must possess excellent negotiation skills.

4# Structured Query Language (SQL)

Business analysts should know SQL and relational databases, such as Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle DB, and SQLite. This is integral to their work as this knowledge helps to access, retrieve, manipulate, and analyze data effectively.

5# Programming Skills

A business analyst should also know programming languages such as R and Python. Knowing these languages will help them to solve complex problems and perform faster data analysis, especially when dealing with large data sets.

6# Knowledge of Microsoft Excel

Excel is a powerful tool for creating graphs, generating dynamic reports, and analyzing data. Therefore, proficiency in Excel is essential for business analysts.

7# Data Visualization

Professionals in this field must be proficient in visualization tools such as Tableau, QlikView, and PowerBI. These tools can help them create reports, dashboards, and forecasts and make effective business decisions.

8# Communication Skills

Having strong communication and presentation skills is an important part of the job. Communicating correctly is, after all, a necessity when interacting with clients and stakeholders to achieve common business goals.

Moreover, analysts must also possess strong writing skills to document their findings, analysis, and recommendations accurately.

Also Read: Who is a Business Analyst? Skills, Salaries, & Career

What Does a Business Analyst Do Vis-à-Vis a Data Analyst?

Business analysts and data analysts are often used interchangeably in some companies, but they have distinct roles. While they both utilize data to enhance business decision-making, their approaches and methods differ. So what does a business analyst do that is different from what a data analyst does? Let’s look at some ways in which both differ.

1. Job Role

Data analysts are responsible for collecting, cleaning, analyzing, visualizing, and presenting existing data to support business decision-making. On the other hand, business analysts identify problems, opportunities, and solutions for their organizations.

2. Field of Study

Business analysts have degrees in business-related fields, whereas data analysts have degrees in statistics, mathematics, or computer science.

3. Skill Set

Both these roles require different skill sets. Data analysts require knowledge of data structures, while business analysts have to be proficient in business structures. Similarly, data analysts must know SQL and statistical programming, while business analysts need to know Microsoft Visio and software design tools.

Also Read: What is the Scope of Business Analytics? Find its Types, Benefits, and More

What Tools and Software Does a Business Analyst Use?

1. Jira and Confluence

Jira and Confluence are powerful collaboration tools that provide a centralized repository for storing documents. Furthermore, it helps stakeholders track project status and facilitate communication with teams.

2. Trello

Trello, which uses a Kanban-style approach, is a valuable tool for project collaboration. Business analysts can use it to easily track tasks, project plans, and progress and ensure the completion of key activities.

3. Rational Requisite Pro

This tool is a must-have for business analysts who work on requirements management. Its robust architecture makes it easy to manage requirements linked to a project database. Additionally, it helps business analysts write excellent use cases, strengthen collaboration, reduce project rework, and increase the quality of a project.

4. Balsamiq

Balsamiq is a popular cloud-based tool that helps design wireframes. Business analysts use this tool when working on new product design, brainstorming, and visualizing business ideas. It helps in communicating the product vision to stakeholders effectively.

5. Pencil

Pencil is a free and open-source tool that helps with prototyping and creating mock-ups. Business analysts create prototypes to help stakeholders understand the final product’s appearance and functionality. Further, they can incorporate feedback to improve the product with the help of this tool.

What Does a Business Analyst Do to Create a Business Case for a Project?

Creating a business case for a project is a crucial task for a business analyst. It involves evaluating the feasibility and potential benefits of a proposed project. Further, they also need to justify their implementation to key stakeholders. Here are the typical steps a business analyst follows to create a business case:

Step 1: Define the Project

Clearly define the project’s purpose, objectives, scope, and deliverables. Also, identify the stakeholders and their roles, and establish project boundaries and constraints.

Step 2: Identify Business Needs

Identify and document the current business problem or opportunity that the project aims to address. Additionally, understand the business needs and pain points that the project will help to resolve.

Step 3: Conduct Market Analysis

Analyze the market and industry trends, competitive landscape, customer demands, and regulatory factors. They need to identify market opportunities and risks associated with the project as well.

Step 4: Conduct Financial Analysis

Assess the financial viability of the project. Estimate the project costs, including initial investment, ongoing operational costs, and potential risks. Also, calculate the expected financial benefits, such as increased revenue, cost savings, and Return on Investment (ROI).

Step 5: Perform Risk Assessment

Identify and assess potential risks and challenges associated with the project, including technical, operational, financial, and organizational risks. Subsequently, develop risk mitigation strategies and contingency plans.

Step 6: Conduct Stakeholder Analysis

Identify the project’s stakeholders, including their interests, influence, and expectations. Also, be sure to assess the impact of the project on stakeholders and develop strategies to manage stakeholder engagement and communication.

Step 7: Develop Project Alternatives

Identify and evaluate alternative solutions or approaches to address business needs. Compare the pros and cons of each alternative, and recommend the most feasible and viable option based on the analysis.

Step 8: Create Business Case Documentation

Consolidate the findings and analysis into a formal business case document. Include an executive summary, project overview, business problem/opportunity, market and financial analysis, risk assessment, stakeholder analysis, the recommended solution, and implementation plan.

Step 9: Present and Validate Business Case

Present the business case to key stakeholders, including management, project sponsors, and other relevant parties. Seek their feedback and validation, and address any questions or concerns.

Step 10: Monitor and Update Business Case

Regularly monitor and update the business case throughout the project lifecycle. Review and revise the business case as needed to reflect changes in project assumptions, risks, or benefits.

Also Read: SQL vs. Python: Finding the Best Language for Your Need and Career 

Common Challenges and What Does a Business Analyst Do to Tackle Them?

As with any role, business analysts also face various challenges in their job. Some common ones that they may encounter include:

  1. Business analysts face problems when requirements are not clearly defined. Subsequently, it leads to misunderstandings, delays, and reworks. Business analysts, therefore, need to ensure that requirements are well-documented and understood by all stakeholders.
  2. Communication and collaboration challenges may arise due to differences in perspectives, priorities, and communication styles. To handle such a problem, business analysts must effectively communicate complex concepts, actively listen, and facilitate collaboration among stakeholders.
  3. Business analysts may face challenges in managing stakeholders’ expectations, particularly when there are conflicting interests or demands. They need to navigate these situations diplomatically and negotiate solutions that align with project goals.
  4. Dealing with change, addressing concerns, and facilitating smooth transitions can be challenging for business analysts. Therefore, they require effective change management skills to adapt to any changes. Such as when a large company is relocating its operations.
  5. The work of business analysts relies heavily on tools and technologies. Not having adequate knowledge of the tools or not staying updated with emerging technologies can pose a challenge. Hence, upskilling is important to be effective at the job.
  6. Business analysts need to work with different stakeholders who may have varying levels of engagement, expectations, and influence. Managing stakeholder relationships, ensuring their involvement, and addressing their concerns can be challenging, particularly in complex organizational environments. This is why a business analyst needs to have sharp communication and interpersonal skills to speak to all stakeholders effectively.

 Average Salary of Business Analysts in India

The average estimated take-home salary of a business analyst in India ranges from ₹51,805 to ₹53,010 per month. Moreover, the annual salary ranges from ₹2.6 lakh per annum for a fresher to ₹15.5 lakh per annum for managers. The salary also depends upon what a business analyst does in a company. In simple words, the roles and responsibilities of a business analyst.

How Can Emeritus Help Aspiring Business Analysts?

Emeritus’ data science courses are designed to provide specialized training in specific areas of data analysis, such as data visualization, statistical analysis, machine learning, or data mining. By completing a certificate course, one can acquire new skills or enhance existing skills, which can make them more proficient and competitive in the job market.

About the Author

Senior Content Contributor, Emeritus Blog
Varun, a seasoned content creator with over 8 years of diverse experience, excels in crafting engaging content for various geographies and categories. Leveraging this expertise, he seamlessly translates complex concepts into enriching educational content for the EdTech domain. His keen understanding of research and life experiences helps him resonate with students and create fact-based content. He finds solace and inspiration in music, nurturing his creativity for content creation.
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