What Is a Business Analyst?
- August 18, 2020
- 3 min read
You're our first priority. Every time.
We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.
So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Bottom line? We’re on your side, even if it means we don’t make a cent.
Are you thinking about becoming or hiring a business analyst? Are you clear on what their role is exactly? Business analyst roles vary quite a bit so it’s natural to be unsure of what exactly it is they do and what role they can play in your company. If you read two job descriptions for business analyst roles, you may be surprised to see how incredibly different they look. That said, there are commonalities between all business analyst roles. Keep reading to learn more about the career of a business analyst.
The role of a business analyst is to analyze a business or organization, including its documents, processes, use of technology, as well as its business model. By reviewing and analyzing these factors and various data, an analyst can offer insight and guidance into improving the operations of the business. Business analysts can work in house or on a consultant basis.
Business analysts spend their time reviewing a business or organization and making plans to improve it in the future. Their role involves taking in information from various executives and stakeholders to get an understanding of ways the business could change and grow moving forward. A business analyst may work in-house for an organization or work on a consulting basis as they may be needed on an intermittent basis, depending on the size of an organization.
According to the International Institute of Business Analysis, or the IIBA, the formal definition of business analysis is: “the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. Business analysis enables an enterprise to articulate needs and the rationale for change, and to design and describe solutions that deliver value.”
In the simplest of terms, a business analyst is someone who identifies business issues and needs and provides appropriate solutions.
The definition of a business analyst is fairly vague but it is intentionally. Within the primary role of a business analyst are several subtypes of business analysts or specializations one can pursue. Here are the primary types of business analysts:
- Systems analyst: This analyst is technology and IT focused. They evaluate and optimize the technological tools and systems used by a given business.
- Business model analysis: This analyst is focused on an organization or business’s policies and market approach.
- Business developer: This analyst may be the most common. They focus on the business’s needs and potential opportunities to pursue.
- Process design: This analyst is focused on standardizing, optimizing and improving a business’s various workflows.
Business analysts can specialize in a variety of areas and skills. Though you may start your career performing the general tasks of a business analyst, over time you may find that you enjoy certain aspects more than others and can hone your skills to specialize in the area of your choice.
The responsibilities of a business analyst will vary from one job to another but some basic responsibilities are to be expected at any company or organization. Business analysts can be expected to be responsible for:
- Review, analyze and identify business problems, opportunities and solutions to major problems the business faces
- Identify and organize requirements needed to solve business issues
- Communicate problems and proposing solutions to company stakeholders
- Document specific requirements for proposed changes and solutions
- Ensuring business can meet standards to execute proposed changes and solutions to company problems
Some analysts may assist with execution of proposed solutions, whereas others may solely provide recommendations for the business to execute with existing personnel.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track salary data for the title of business analyst specifically, but it lists the 2019 median pay for a similar title of a management analyst as $85,260 per year or $40.99 per hour. Indeed, a popular career website lists the average base salary of a business analyst as $95,183 per year in Los Angeles with opportunities for cash bonuses. Of course, these numbers will vary from region to region, with metropolitan areas typically offering more generous compensation. Additionally, compensation may vary due to years of experience, size of company, certifications or education, among other factors.
Business analysts often work for large, multi-national organizations or corporations but may also be hired on a consulting basis. You may be able to find jobs in finance, insurance, medicine, government, utilities or other similar industries.
You may see many overlapping responsibilities when researching business analyst roles. But you likely noticed some differences, too. Business analyst roles can vary widely and some analysts may have specializations or industry expertise that alters their approach to the job. Business analysts can find themselves working on projects related to logistics, processes, software and even regulatory work.
More From Seek
- Best Startup Business Loan Options
- Best Small Business Loans
- 6 Tips for Finding the Right Business Loan
Photo credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com
Best Startup Loans of 2020 - Get Between $5,000 and $500,000
Get more great articles straight to your inbox!
Let us make it up to you with better articles straight to your inbox.
Recommended For You
As the coronavirus has continued to develop, businesses of all kinds have had to scramble to stay ahead of — or in many instances react to — the constant state of change. With so many unique factors in play, it’s... Read More
- October 13, 2020
- 3 min read
A critical skill that every entrepreneur should learn is how to write a business proposal. A business proposal is typically a document that you send to a prospective client, laying out the service you’re providing and explaining why your business is... Read More
- October 9, 2020
- 12 min read
According to a Georgetown University study, those who graduate college with a business degree earn a median of $1 million or more over the course of their careers than a high school graduate. If that statistic alone doesn’t make you... Read More
- October 6, 2020
- 3 min read
When your small business dreams are coming true and your startup has successfully launched, it might seem too good to be true — until you inevitably hit a bump in the road. Every business experiences a rise and fall in... Read More
- October 2, 2020
- 3 min read