Business analytics refers to the skills, technologies, and practices for continuous iterative exploration and investigation of past business performance to gain insight and drive business planning.
What do business analytics do?
Business analytics focuses on data, statistical analysis and reporting to help investigate and analyze business performance, provide insights, and drive recommendations to improve performance.
9 key skills required by a business analyst.
The big data landscape has changed drastically, making it tough for professionals to know where to focus their growth. However, despite this changing field, there are a number of core business analytics skills that form the foundation of any solid business analytics career.
A great business analytics professional could be described as:
- A good communicator :Being able to present findings in a clear and concise manner is fundamental to making sure that all players understand insights and can put recommendations into practice. People working in analysis must be able to tell a story with data through strong writing and presentation skills.
- Inquisitive:People in this field should have natural curiosity and drive to continue learning and figuring out how things fit together. Even as analysts become managers, it’s important to stay in touch with the industry and its changes.
- A problem solver:Professionals in analytics use a combination of logical thinking, predictive analytics and statistics to make recommendations that will solve problems and propel a business forward. In a profession that seeks to turn data into solutions, being a natural problem solver helps connect the dots.
- A critical thinker:Business analytics professionals need to think critically about not only the implications of the data they collect, but about what data they should be collecting in the first place. They are expected to analyze and highlight only the data that can be helpful in making decisions.
- A visualizer:Disorganised data doesn’t help anyone. To create worth from data, analytics professionals need to be able to translate and visualise data in a concise and accurate way that’s easy to digest.
- Both detail-oriented and a big picture thinker:While business analytics professionals have to be able to handle complex data, they also need to understand how their recommendations will affect the bottom line of a business. There’s no point in having access to large quantities of information without knowing how it can be harnessed to analyze and improve tactics, processes and strategies.
Technical skills required by an analyst
In a business landscape quickly becoming governed by big data, great analytics professionals are fulfilling the demand for technical expertise by wearing the hats of both developers and analysts.
Having both a conceptual and working understanding of tools and programming languages is important to translate data sources into tangible solutions.
Below are some of the top tools for business analytics professionals:
- SQL :SQL is the coding language of databases and one of the most important tools in an analytics professional’s toolkit. Professionals write SQL queries to extract and analyze data from the transactions database and develop visualizations to present to stakeholders.
- Statistical languages :The two most common programming languages in analytics are R, for statistical analysis, and Python, for general programming. Knowledge in either of these languages can be beneficial when analyzing big data sets, but is not vital.
- Statistical software:While the ability to program is helpful for a career in analytics, being able to write code isn’t necessarily required to work as an analytics professional. Apart from the above languages, statistical software such as SPSS, SAS, Sage, Mathematica, and even Excel can be used when managing and analyzing data.
4 types of analysts
These soft and hard business analytics skills can be utilized across different facets of business analytics, including:
What’s happening to my business right now?
By mining and aggregating raw data through a real-time dashboard, analytics professionals are able to gain comprehensive, accurate, in-the-moment analytics. While the practice of data mining is considered the least useful part of the big data value chain, it can still be helpful in identifying patterns of behavior that might influence future outcomes.
Why is it happening?
Diagnostic analytics look at the past performance of campaigns and processes to determine what happened and why. It isolates all confounding information to identify an accurate cause-and-effect relationship.
What’s likely to happen in the future?
Statistical models and forecasting techniques can be used to predict likely scenarios of what might happen based on insights from big data. This form of analytics can be used to support complex forecasts.
What do I need to do to succeed?
Prescriptive analytics focuses on what actions should be taken. Where big data analytics can shed light on an area of business, prescriptive analytics gives you a much more focused answer to a specific question.
Regardless of which type of analytics you’re working in, being able to offer the above hard and soft skills makes a business analytics professional an invaluable part of any business.
As company leaders come to realize the potential impact of data on business strategy, so the number of jobs involving data analytics grows, creating strong demand for people with these talents. Business analytics professionals’ mix of technical and non-technical skills makes them uniquely qualified to provide businesses with the competitive edge so badly needed in a big data world.
Business analytics in the real world ?
- Growing sales.
- Developing marketing strategies.
- Using predictive analytics.
- Improving financial efficiency.
- Increasing productivity through streamlined processes.
The following real-world business analytics examples are discussed in the Datapine article “13 Analytics and Business Intelligence Examples Illustrating the Value of BI,” illustrate how business analytics tools can resolve various issues and help companies achieve what they’re after:
In response to inconsistent sales, an online retailer implemented a sales dashboard, hoping to stabilize and grow its sales. The sales dashboard made it clear that data wasn’t driving sales. This prompted the retailer to reconfigure its sales strategy and shift its target setting system in response to data. As a result, sales grew by 24 percent.
Developing marketing strategies.
A clothing retailer with early success started to see customer purchases and sales level off. The retailer decided to install a retail dashboard tailored to demographic information about current and target customers. With new access to this information, the retailer located areas for improvement and identified where sales were strongest. The retailer was then able to segment buyers by relevant factors and customize marketing strategies to each group. By using internal data and interpreting various implications, the retailer could better market to its customers and grow its customer base.
Using predictive analytics.
A gym chain wanted to reduce customer attrition. The company installed a predictive analytics model that identified customers likely to cancel their memberships, and then, using historical data, predicted incentives to offer that could improve customer retention. When at-risk customers arrived at a gym, the system alerted membership staff so they could discuss incentives and stave off cancellations.
Improving financial efficiency.
A company in the bioscience field turned to business analytics to determine why after recent growth, it was experiencing a low collection percentage, excessive claims denials and a high balance of money owed to it. With the help of software that allowed for intuitive online reporting, the company used account-based metrics, a strategy that increases engagement with targeted accounts, to identify the cause of the excessive claims denials. As a result of business analytics, the company managed to resolve millions of dollars’ worth of denied claims.
Increasing productivity through streamlined processes.
An online food ordering company wanted new insights that could boost productivity and streamline commercial operations. The company implemented a dashboard that gave real-time access to its customers’ life cycles. This produced data that facilitated the streamlining of sales activities and marketing campaigns, thereby achieving the goal of boosting productivity.
Is Business Analytics an IT job ?
Business analysts are experts in both business administration and information technology. Their primary responsibilities include liaising between IT and the executive branch, improving the quality of IT services, and analyzing business needs. Completely free trial, no card required.
IT business analysts job description.
IT business analysts are experts in both business administration and information technology. Their primary responsibilities include liaising between IT and the executive branch, improving the quality of IT services, and analyzing business needs.
- Liaising between the IT department and the executive branch.
- Acting as an information source and communicator between business branches.
- Understanding strategic business needs and plans for growth.
- Enhancing the quality of IT products and services.
- Analyzing the design of technical systems and business models.
- Utilizing IT data for business insights.
- Analyzing business needs.
- Sourcing and implementing new business technology.
- Finding technological solutions to business requirements.
- Producing reports on application development and implementation.
- Running A/B tests and analyzing data.
- Analyzing data to inform business decisions.
IT business analysts requirements.
- Degree in computer engineering, business administration, or related field.
- 5+ years in an IT management position.
- 10+ years in a technology-driven role.
- Excellent problem-solving skills.
- Analytical mindset.
- Exceptional interpersonal skills.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Attention to detail.
Are business analysts well paid ?
A mid-career Business Analyst with 4-9 years of experience earns an average salary of ₹8.7 Lakhs per year, while a Senior Business Analyst with 10-20 years of experience earns an average salary of ₹12.4 Lakhs per year.
Is business analytics a stressful job ?
According to Forbes, a business analyst job is “typically less stressful than high-demand finance jobs” and can provide great flexible work options. A lot will depend on the industry and sector in which you work and perhaps where you are on your career journey.
Why should you become a business analyst !
Why should you become a business analyst ? and why to choose a business analyst as a career path ? This is a good question as you need to know your motivations are right before you invest time and money in becoming a successful business analyst.
Business analysis is a growth market and there is a job market for business analysts. This role used not to be highly valued and poorly understood but many companies are starting to realise the value of skilled business analysts.
Good business analysts have the skills to ensure businesses invest their most precious resources of manpower and money wisely. Indeed, time is an even more precious resource in today’s marketplace where poor investment decisions allow the competition to gain advantage.
Note: It’s actually very difficult to prove this is a growth market because there are not many reports that identify this role and it is often either mislabelled or forms part of another role such as project manager.
In the UK, the eSkills initiative has commissioned a report on the IT & Telecoms sector (of which business analysis forms a part), which shows that skills in this area will grow at a rate of 2.5% per annum for the next decade rather than 0.5% in the rest of the economy (five times faster than the rate for other careers!!).
Low Barriers To Entry Compared To Other Professions
At present, the role is still very immature compared to that of other professions (e.g. architect, engineer, accountant). Professional qualifications are not necessary but this is changing rapidly with the rise in importance of the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) and the CBAP accreditation (Certified Business Analysis Professional) and, in the UK, the ISEB qualification and other national equivalents.
Challenging And Demanding Job
Business analysis is a varied and demanding career which utilises many skills including problem solving, relationship management and time management. It can be very satisfying but is NOT an easy ride. It is important that you enjoy a challenge and see that it will provide you with job satisfaction. Sometimes you will be required to work with a number of different teams and people within the company that you work for.
Many business analysts value that in the business analyst role there is no typical day in the job. Everyday a business analyst is faced with new challenges and new problems to solve, which makes it a perfect job for someone that values a dynamic and challenging work environment, and allows one to continuously develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Springboard To Other Careers
The skills you acquire as a business analyst are very useful in many other roles and will provide you with opportunities to move into higher profile, well, rewarded roles in project management, programme management, business architecture and strategy.
Use Existing Industry Knowledge
This can be either general business knowledge or particular to a particular sector which can make you very valuable.
Tip: This knowledge differentiates you from other business analysts and makes you very marketable. Use this when applying for jobs!
Why companies are hiring business analysts
So what are the main reasons why companies are hiring business analysts and will continue to do so?
Business analysts make digital transformation easier by bridging the customer-developer gap in digital transformation projects.
Business analysts help translate complex business processes during development. A skilled business analyst can translate the about how the business works for technical staff.
Business analysts can help staff to adopt to changes brought about by the introduction of technology.
Does Business Analytics require coding?
Does business analyst require coding skills ? The answer is no. Business analysts do work alongside technology professionals and software development processes. But they are not involved in coding / programming, that’s the job of developers.
What is the best business analyst’s qualification?
- IIBA Certified – Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
- BCS Certified – Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis
- IQBBA Certified – Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
- IREB Certified – Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE) – Foundation Level
Business Analyst Mentor has identified and recommended business analysis endorsed training providers for the following IIBA business analysis certifications:
- IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
- IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)
- IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
- IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)
- IIBA Business Data Analytics Certification (CBDA)
- IIBA Cybersecurity Analysis Certification (CCA)
- IIBA Product Ownership Analysis Certification (CPOA)