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Business Analyst Job Description

Kundan Pandey
A highly rewarding position that demands both technological expertise and knowledge about intricacies of the business world, is that of a business analyst.
John Dewey said, "A problem well put, is half solved." These words precisely describe the job of a business analyst. A business analyst also needs to identify an organizational issue, whether it is the requirement of a new project or the change in an existing one. In addition, formulating and facilitating the path to the solution is the easiest way to describe the role of a business analyst. The job itself, however, is not easy.
According to Business Analysis Body of Knowledge by the International Institute of Business Analyst,

"Business Analysts must analyze and synthesize information provided by a large number of people who interact with the business, such as customers, staff, IT professionals, and executives.
The business analyst is responsible for eliciting the actual needs of stakeholders, not simply their expressed desires. In many cases, the business analyst will also work to ease communication between organizational units.
In particular, business analysts often play a central role in aligning the needs of business units with the capabilities delivered by information technology, and may serve as a "translator" between those groups."

Business Analyst Career

In this career, each day brings with it hosts of challenges and responsibilities. Brainstorming on every business problem and coming up with effective solution, forms their crucial job duty. The need to involve these professionals as an integral part of business firms, stemmed from the failure of including the developments of IT in the business world. In the 1980s and 1990sthe IT projects were not able to achieve expected success.
The firms' lack of focus, conflicting demands from various business departments, and unrealistic developments of business cases, resulted in failure in incorporating technological advancements in IT and applying them for business solutions.
Firms had no idea of troubleshooting their problems, and they just tried to be a part of technological development, though they failed to apply them properly. This failure of identifying problems and deciphering new business requirements, thereby fusing them with business as well as technological expertise, led to the growth of system analysts.

Business Analysis

Business analysis is a research discipline that provides the groundwork for all kinds of changes in the business processes.
It is the operation of identifying issues and implementing a solution, developed through various tools and techniques after proper research.
Business analysis is essentially an array of techniques, actualized towards realizing the needs and providing for the requirements arising in the organization. And for this, the very first step is determining and facilitating the implementation of the suitable change, to successfully achieve the strategic goals of the organization. The activities that assist in fulfilling this task, are researched and devised by the business analyst.

Business Analysis Techniques

There are certain universally accepted tools and techniques that are used by business analysts to expedite working of the project or manage a change. Such as PESTLE, HEPTALYSIS, MoSCoW, etc.
PESTLE: Used for analyzing the impact of external environment namely Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental attributes, on the business.
HEPTALYSIS: This tool is used to analyze the prospect and success ratio of a new business venture. It includes study of Human capital, Execution plan, Potential return, Market opportunity, Financial engine, margin of Safety and Product or Solution.
MoSCoW: This tool is used to prioritize needs of the business and plan for it. The four attributes are Must have, Should have, Could have and Would like to have in future.

De Bono's six thinking hats, SWOT Analysis, VPEC-T, and CATWOE are some other techniques of Business Analysis.

Job Description of a Business Analyst

The job of a business analyst depends on the kind of change required. For example, in case of enterprise analysis, a BA would have to;

- conduct feasibility analysis,
- identify business opportunities,
- prepare business reports,
- initial risk assessment,
It is important here to understand the challenges that one will have to face and overcome. Although, there are certain roles of a BA, that can be assumed as his/her core responsibilities.
However the gamut of BA's duties and the job description can be broadly categorized as following tasks:

- Interviewing, analyzing documents, draw out requirements like workshops, surveys, visiting sites, developing business processes using task flow analysis and work-flow analysis
- Simultaneous engagement in various initiatives and achieve success
Collect, evaluate and compress data and information from multiple sources, resolve conflicts and differentiate between actual and required user need
- Deliver results after thorough research of functional needs by collaborating and communication between various users
- Using strong analytical reasoning to understand end user's requirements and transforming them into operational application
- Acquire deep knowledge of working systems and bringing efficient and effective changes for better performance
- Understanding business process management and business requirements of the customers and translating them to specific software requirements
- Making sure that the recommended solution is commercial yet competitive
- Understanding the technical designs as well as the specifications.
- Effectively communicating with internal teams and external clients to deliver functional requirements like GUI, screen and interface designs.
- Very strong technical skills, coupled with business intelligence and a deep understanding of the customer's needs so that they can be transformed into application and operational requirements
- Acting as an interface between business units, technology teams and support teams

Skill Set

A Business analysts job requires knowledge and proficiency in many interpersonal skills like:

- Problem solving and decision making
- Business planning and management
- IT skills
- Customer relationship building
- Time management
- Team building
- Communication
- Analytic ability
- Accurate reporting
- Knowledge of organizational behavior
- Sound mathematical aptitude
- Deductive reasoning
- Leadership qualities
- Negotiation and convincing skills


For this job you must have sound technical knowledge. Certification in computer languages like C# (c sharp), Java, SQL components is a must.
A Masters in Business Administration or a CPA is the minimum qualification required to become a Business Analyst. Online certification or distance education is another option. The International Institute of Business Analyst (IIBA) is completely dedicated towards the field of business analysis and has excellent programs for students.

Employment Prospect

Usually, the job requires at least 40 hours a week. However, while working on specific projects, the time duration can be much more. Traveling is an integral part of the job and can include overseas travel too.

The scope and future is great for those who are competent. Annual salary can be between $70,000- $1,50,000. According to surveys, the need for BA's has increased by 16% in 2013.
Firms prefer candidates with good work experience. According to reports, these analysts have great career opportunities for moving up the ladder of organizational hierarchy at the designations of executive level as BAs understand the business and they also know technological skills needed to overcome the limitations.
"For a Business Analyst that is certainly true. We are members of a profession like law and journalism, where success is built on asking the right questions, in the right way, at the right time. I've spent most of my professional life consciously trying to improve my ability to ask questions. " ~ Anthony "Tony" Robbins, American self-help author and motivational speaker.