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A business analyst is someone who analyzes information and investigates the goals and issues of a company. They advise organizations on how to improve their efficiency and finances. They are responsible for figuring out the actual needs of the company, not simply the stakeholder's expressed wishes. They will communicate with a wide variety of people, such as the staff, the executives, the IT department and the customers in order to evaluate the situation fairly and define any and all issues. Quite often, the business analyst will be a facilitator and help the communication between the organization's departments. They will then document their findings, evaluate and present their solutions.
A business analyst will spend a good part of their time doing research and asking many questions, and this is done so that the analyst can understand the particular project fully and look for any solution options. Business analysts are skilled communicators, and know how to listen to verbal as well as non-verbal messages, engage in open dialogue and communicate what they've learned to the appropriate parties.
Analyzing the information gathered is a big part of the job. The information needs to be studied for any patterns and trends, and reviewed to make sure it is as current and accurate as it can be. The business analyst must then take the results of any observations and analysis and needs to document them as either text or in the form of graphs, charts or illustrations. Since there can oftentimes be more than one solution, there needs to be considerable time spent comparing and analyzing solutions. The chosen solution is still heavily evaluated throughout the design and implementation period in order to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the business and that the best implementation process is chosen.
Business analysis uses a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or non-profits. Business analysts can work in a variety of industries, such as banking, finance, telecoms, insurance, software services, and utilities. They can quite easily switch between industries.
Most employers prefer a bachelor's degree in business administration or a related degree, with some employers preferring a master's degree. Business administration courses include accounting, law, business, communications, management and marketing. Internships or summer programs are offered by some schools and businesses, which help aspiring business analysts to gain valuable hands-on experience, and is highly recommended.
Senior business analysts are in demand in the banking and financial services jobs market. But what exactly does the role involve?
The terms business analyst and data analyst are often used interchangeably. In larger organizations though, the roles sometimes blur in that analysts in both categories access data. What the analysts do with that data is quite different.
What is expected of today’s analyst varies so widely from organization to organization and from project to project that it is neither possible nor practical to come up with a one-size-fits-all comprehensive description of what a business analyst does and the roles (s)he's expected to perform.
A business analyst's daily job duties can vary greatly, depending on the nature of the current organization and project. However, there are some activities that the business analyst will commonly do in the course of every project.