Wonder how does the job description of a business analyst look like? Why is this position so important for many organizations? Do you have any opportunity to pursue a business analyst career in the year 2020? This article will give you exact answers to these questions.
- Business analyst job description
- Why are business analysts important for any project?
- Business analyst career growth
Let’s start at the top.
1. Business Analyst Job Description
Business analysts are those who analyze business models and problems of a company to propose solutions to grow the business and remain successful. They’ll receive requirements, create specification documents, and deliver those documents to relevant stakeholders.
A business analyst job description often includes the responsibilities and requirements, as shown below:
- Identify the requirements of projects, then translate them into details.
- Allocate resources and maintain cost efficiency.
- Support project implementation.
- Develop informative and usable documents.
- Act as a decision-maker and problem solver.
- Provide maintenance reports, system validation reports, and other plans.
- Work closely with customers, technicians, and managerial staff.
2. Why are Business Analysts Important for any Project?
Due to the nature of the job, business analysts are valuable for all companies. They help organizations reduce unnecessary costs, develop successful business strategies, and improve communication between departments. Here are some of the best things that business analysts can help:
Improve Productivity and Efficiency in Requirements Analysis
Let’s say you’re the owner of a company. Every new product, every new campaign, every new project, every new activity in your workplace is created in response to a business need. However, there’s often a mismatch between what has been built and what is actually needed, no matter how much time and resources you’ve spent.
Your clients can complain that what you delivered isn’t what they ordered. Someone in the board of directors may change his mind about the request when you’re halfway through a project. You may receive conflicting requirements from multiple stakeholders. Or, you may even get new requirements just after you’ve finished creating a product.
To avoid problems like these, you need business analysts. They are those who will carry out thorough research to understand business needs, and then create a focused, detailed requirement analysis. They’ll help define the scope of a project clearly so that you can assess the timescales and resources needed to complete it on time.
Regarding requirement analysis, a business analyst job description can include the following responsibilities:
- Create a proper requirement document, like stakeholder analysis, business analysis plan, current state analysis, functional requirement specification, and more.
- Discover, define, and document the requirements related to a specific goal.
- Break down business needs into detailed, specific requests that everyone agrees on.
- Use procedures and methodologies to conduct business requirement analysis.
- Build prototypes like a mock-up or a model of the system or product.
Give Better Decisions at All Levels of the Organization
Good decision-making is the key to making profits. The success of a business depends on how decisions are made at the top level and how managers and staff execute them.
So, how can a company devise the right decision? The answer is that it comes to a business analyst.
One of the main responsibilities of a business analyst is to help senior management make better choices. They help determine where the problem spots are in the business. They analyze market trends, recommend best practices, and add valuable insights on business projects.
By collaborating with key stakeholders like project managers, they draw lessons from mistakes and bring new learnings into projects. That ensures business value is continuously delivered.
Regarding decision-making, a business analyst job description can include the following responsibilities:
- Apply a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) matrix to highlight the company’s advantages.
- Introduce solutions to reduce costs, make use of available resources, and recommend other options (if necessary).
- Use model, market analysis, and competitor analysis to test hypotheses.
- Monitor product launch strategy and control potential discrepancies from the original plan.
- Meet clients in-person to find out how the company can meet their expectations.
Create Effective Collaboration Among Stakeholders
A business analyst can work with a wide and varied range of stakeholders, including managers, customers, developers, testers, designers, and more.
All of these stakeholders have different needs and perspectives of the business. Business analysts will help bring all those understandings together, analyze the gathered information, and provide a clear flow and vision for everyone to work with. They’re the link between the IT division and other departments in a company.
Besides, business analysts interpret tricky IT questions and technical complexities for stakeholders in a way that makes more sense to them. Hence they can decide on how best to move the project forward. Everybody knows what each other does and who to ask what questions.
In many business analyst job descriptions, candidates are asked to know how to use the following communication tools:
- Text messaging to share information quickly or ask an immediate yes/no/opinion question that really can’t wait.
- Phone calls to use when you can’t meet someone in person but need to discuss a potentially sensitive topic.
- Chat or instant messaging to communicate with remote colleagues.
- Voicemail to get an important message or deliver a question to a specific individual with an appropriate tone of voice.
- Email to send longer messages, share attachments, or track communication history.
- Postal mail to use in situations that a hard copy is important.
- Social networks to generate ideas and build relationships.
Help Reducing Project Costs and Boosting the Potential Return
Let’s talk about how business analysts help reduce the cost of a project and boost the potential return.
Imagine you’re a manager of a company (again). When the HR approaches you with an idea to hire a business analyst, your response may go like this: “I don’t think we need a BA right now. Isn’t that a huge cost since we have to spend more on the staff’s salary? Why don’t we just focus on coding because that’s what we really need? Why don’t we skip the analysis and go right to coding?”
But when you start coding, build a product, and give it to your customers, they’re going to be like, “Oh, no. It’s not what I want. You don’t understand me.”
Things now become complicated. You have to figure out what your customers actually want, revisit the same code, and do the same implementation again and again. You may even need to make some changes and create a whole new product. This is where your costs go up.
Another cost you may face if you don’t hire a business analyst is when you have to hold several meetings to discuss the same problem but never get to a solution. Your company has to take on that expense.
Having business analysts doesn’t mean everything will happen the way they want. The process of creating a logical decision and a cost-effective solution takes time. But it’s going to take less time than if you don’t have anyone who takes charge of facilitating that part.
3. Business Analyst Career Path
Normally, you can connect with recruiters to kick off your career with entry-level positions related to your undergraduate degree. Work experience provides you with a better understanding of how a company operates from the inside. That’s invaluable to the work of analyzing and improving business processes.
When you have sufficient experience and excellent performance, you can move into a junior business analyst position in a large organization or consultancy. The next position is a more senior one with greater responsibilities. At this point, you may have a chance to manage a team of professional planning and executing a project.
Here are some positions you can consider to make use of your business analysis skills:
- IT business analyst
- Data analysis scientist
- Business analyst manager
- Quantitative analyst
- Data business analyst
Business analysts can work in many industries, such as telecoms, software services, banking, finance, insurance, and utilities. They can quite easily switch between these sectors as well.
A business analyst job description will tell a lot about what you have to do as a business analyst and what you need to be employed in your dream company. Equip yourself with the required skills and capabilities, and you’ll get what you want, for sure.