What is a Business Analysis and What does Business Analyst Do (2023)

It’s a competitive market out there, and businesses that want to succeed need to take advantage of every tool and resource within their reach. Smart decisions help businesses thrive, and reliable information is the key to intelligent decisions.

Enter business analysis. You are about to get a primer on business analysts—learning what they are, why they are needed, what they do, and how to become one. If you’re running a business, you may realize why you need one in your organization, while those of you who are looking for a good career may have just found one!

Let’s take our first steps into a business analyst’s world by first understanding what is business analysis.

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What is Business Analysis?

Business analysis is a combination of gaining insight from data using specific techniques, and performing tasks to identify the needs of a business—then, recommending changes and providing solutions that produce value for the stakeholders. Many of the solutions potentially have software and digital data-based components, but can also incorporate organizational changes, like improving processes, developing new policies, and engaging in strategic planning.

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What is a Business Analysis and What does Business Analyst Do (1)

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What Does a Business Analyst Do?

Business analysts are agents of change—professionals who analyze a business or organization, by documenting its systems and processes, assessing its business model, identifying vulnerabilities, and devising solutions.

Business analysts go by many other job titles, including:

  • Business Architect
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Business Systems Analyst
  • Data Scientist
  • Enterprise Analyst
  • Management Consultant
  • Process Analyst
  • Product Manager
  • Product Owner
  • Requirements Engineer
  • Systems Analyst

Bear in mind that some organizations also use the term “IT Business Analyst.” Although there seems to be no clear consensus regarding the differences between the two positions (and, in fact, many organizations use them interchangeably), some circles note that the IT Business Analyst works more with software methodologies.

Once the business analysis definition is locked down, the more curiosity-driven reader may follow up by asking, “In that case, what is business impact analysis?” Business impact analysis is a practice that’s of particular relevance in these days of pandemic-induced business shutdowns. Business impact analysis, or BIA, aims to predict and identify the financial and operational impacts of business disruption. You can be sure that before many businesses closed temporarily due to the coronavirus, they launched business impact analysis studies.

Now that we have gone through to understand what is business analysis, let us next look at the difference between business analysis and business analytics.

Difference Between Business Analysis and Business Analytics

We should take a moment and clarify the distinction between these two concepts. Business analysis is more concerned with functions and processes, while business analytics covers data and reporting. Still, many organizations use the terms interchangeably.

As we have learned what a business analyst is, let us understand business analysis uses.

Why Use Business Analysis?

Thanks mostly to the breathtaking pace of today’s technological advancements, the 21st century’s business world is one of rapid, constant change. Innovations change the way we live and work, and businesses must be able to adapt to these changes or get left behind.

Business analysts are the ideal professionals to shepherd any organization through the tricky terrain of change. Once they navigate through those changes, businesses emerge more robust, more competitive, and better equipped to handle the ever-evolving world of digital-based business.

(Video) Who Is A Business Analyst?| What Does A Business Analyst Do? - Roles & Responsibilities |Simplilearn

After having understood what is a business analyst, let us next look at the business analysis process.

What is the Business Analysis Process?

These are the widely accepted steps in the business analysis process. Each company’s needs and situations are different, however, so there may be some variance.

  1. Get orientedMake sure to clarify the business analyst’s role, determine the stakeholders’ perspective, and get familiar with the project’s history.
  2. Name the primary business objectives. Identify the primary stakeholders’ expectations, reconcile conflicting expectations, and make sure the objectives are clear and actionable.
  3. Define the project’s scope. You need a clear and complete statement of the project’s scope—a rough roadmap of all the steps the project participants must follow.
  4. Create a business analysis plan. List timelines, steps, and deliverables.
  5. Define requirements. You need concise, clear, and actionable requirements, based on analyzing the information gathered so far.
  6. Support the technical implementation. Since many solutions require using software, the business analyst needs to work closely with IT teams.
  7. Help implement the solution. This step involves creating clear documentation and training end-users.
  8. Assess value. Did the project work? How much progress did the organization make? Are there any needed follow-ups?

While looking into the various aspects of business analysis, we have learned what is business analysis so let us next learn its various techniques.

What are the Different Techniques of Business Analysis?

Countless hurdles and obstacles face any company that wants to stay on top of the heap. Fortunately, there are also a handful of varying business analysis techniques—brace yourself for a flood of acronyms.

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  • CATWOE (Customers, Actors, Transformation Process, World View, Owner, and Environmental Constraints). This technique identifies the main parties and processes potentially affected by any action the business undertakes. This technique helps business analysts to thoroughly evaluate how a proposed action will affect a collection of different parties and elements.
  • MoSCoW (Must or Should, Could or Would). This process prioritizes requirements by presenting a framework where every single demand is evaluated compared to other requirements. Is it a must-have or a should-have? Is it something that could improve the product or something that would be an ideal future element?
  • MOST (Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics). Business analysts use these elements to conduct a detailed and complete internal analysis of an organization’s goals and how to handle each one.
  • PESTLE (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal, and Environmental). Business analysts use the PESTLE model to evaluate the various external factors that can potentially affect their company and how best to address them.
  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). This technique identifies a corporate structure’s areas of strength and weakness, translating them into opportunities and threats. The knowledge gained helps determine proper resource allocation.
  • Six Thinking Hats. This analysis process directs a group’s line of thinking by brainstorming alternate perspectives and ideas. The ‘six hats’ in question are White (focus on your data, logic), Red (uses gut feelings, emotions, intuition), Black (potential negative results, what can go wrong), Yellow (focus on positives, optimistic), Green (creativity), and Blue (process control, the big-picture overview).
  • The 5 Whys. Commonly found in Six Sigma and business analysis techniques, this series of leading questions, all posed with “Why?”, helps business analysts identify a problem’s origin by asking why a situation exists, then raising another “why?” question to the answer, and so on.

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What is a Business Analysis and What does Business Analyst Do (3)

We have understood so much about business analysis, beginning from what is business analysis, the process, uses, and more. Let us next look at the benefits.

How Does a Company Benefit from Business Analysis?

Business analysts bring a disciplined approach to creating and managing change within an organization. They identify vulnerabilities, define needs based on feedback and stakeholder communication, organize and implement solutions, and monitor the results.

In today’s competitive environment, businesses of all sizes need every possible advantage that they can get, and the business analyst is a valuable resource for identifying the best moves to make, on both a tactical and strategic scale. Furthermore, business analysts make ideal project managers.

By employing a business analyst, companies gain a better understanding of themselves and their needs, and how best to meet them. As we have learned what is a business analyst, the various techniques, the business analysis process, and more let us look into the benefits of getting certified.

(Video) What is business analysis? What do business analysts do? -Business Analyst Training

The Benefits of Certification

The certification process yields advantages to the professional and organization alike. For the individual, certification imparts skills and training that any good business analyst needs to succeed. Business analysis is not a career where you can mostly learn as you go! Entering a new position with a complete and robust skillset is the only way you will succeed.

Certification also grants you a tangible milestone, an easily measured achievement that tells prospective employers, “I know what I’m doing.” When you sit down for that interview, your certification is a verification of your qualifications. Certification helps you open the door to a better, more lucrative career in business analytics.

For the organization, certification assures the business that they have the right choice for the position. The interview process can be tricky, fraught with uncertainty. It’s also time-consuming and costly, so the organization should strive to make the right choice the first time by ensuring a mutually beneficial fit. Certification assures the candidate’s competency in the subject matter.

We have learned what is business analysis, next, let us look at the skills and qualifications of a business analyst.

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What Skills and Qualifications Does a Business Analyst Need?

When we talk about what is business analysis and what makes a good business analyst, we must focus on the relevant necessary skills. Business analysts required a range of soft and hard skills, including experience in either IT or business-related backgrounds. For the IT side, that means knowing how to pull, analyze, and report on data trends, as well as sharing that information in a clear way. For the business side, you need to have at least a basic understanding of how systems, tools, and products work.

Business analysts should have a bachelor’s degree in Business or a related field, or alternately, an MBA. Furthermore, most businesses want the candidate to have some work-related experience in business analysis or a related field, usually about five years’ worth.

According to the Institute of Business Analysis, a good analyst needs the following skills and knowledge:

  • Analytical thinking and problem solving
  • Communication skills (oral and written)
  • Interpersonal and consultative skills
  • Costs benefit analysis
  • Facilitation skills
  • Detail-oriented and able to deliver at a high level of accuracy
  • Organizational skills
  • Processes modeling
  • Knowledge of business structures
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Requirements engineering
  • Understanding of how networks, databases and other technologies work

How Would You Like to Become a Business Analyst?

Business analysts are in high demand and fetch excellent compensation. Salary.com reports an annual average of USD 75,400. If this sounds like a smart career move to you, then check out Simplilearn’s new Post Graduate Program in Business Analysis in partnership with Purdue University.

The program is designed to hone your expertise in the latest business analytics tools and techniques, including planning and monitoring, data analysis and statistics, visualizations, Agile Scrum methodologies, and SQL databases.

(Video) What Does a Business Analyst Do Day to Day

On the other hand, if you wish to become a pro business analyst, and add a shining name, i.e., Carlson School of Management certification to your resume, you must join umn business analytics course. Leverage the UMN edge today, explore more and enroll right away!


What is business analysis in simple words? ›

Business analysis is used to identify and articulate the need for change in how organizations work, and to facilitate that change. As business analysts, we identify and define the solutions that will maximize the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders.

What does a business analyst really do? ›

Overall, business analysts bridge the gap in understanding between the management of an organization, and the complex data and technical systems businesses use in hopes of improving processes and helping impact decision-making.

What are the three main roles of a business analyst? ›

Business analyst job description

Creating a detailed business analysis, outlining problems, opportunities and solutions for a business. Budgeting and forecasting. Planning and monitoring.

What skills should business analysts have select an answer? ›

You can answer this by stating that a business analyst must have exceptional communication and negotiation skills. Analytical thinking, problem-solving, and decision making are also vital attributes. A business analyst should have industry knowledge, business process management skills along with technical proficiency.

How do you do a business analysis? ›

Business Analysis Process Flow
  1. Step 1: Gather Background Information. ...
  2. Step 2: Identify Stakeholders. ...
  3. Step 3: Discover Business Objectives. ...
  4. Step 4: Evaluate Options. ...
  5. Step 5: Scope Definition. ...
  6. Step 6: Business Analyst Delivery Plan. ...
  7. Step 7: Define Project Requirements. ...
  8. Step 8: Support Implementation Through SDLC.

What should a business analyst ensure? ›

Confidence in the totality of the elicited requirements — The business analyst will ensure requirements are understood, communicated and thoroughly evaluated, which is critical to ensure the project stays on schedule and within budget.

What does a business analyst do on a daily basis? ›

A business analyst's daily job duties include identifying business issues, collecting and recording data, analyzing data, and evaluating and presenting data solutions. They work with several groups including customer service management, product development, business operations, and business clients.

What is the difference between business analyst and business analytics? ›

The BA Times explained the primary way business analytics professionals differ from business analysts: “A business analyst doesn't work with data and is mostly concerned about processes and functions. On the contrary, reporting and data are the key components of a business analytics professional's job.”

What decisions do business analysts make? ›

They watch the market and understand when and how to react. Business Analysts can help analyse market trends, recommend best practices and add valuable insights on business projects.

What is a key role the BA plays? ›

The key role a business analyst plays when conducting an analysis of a business is requirements management. The modern business environment is complex and the business analyst's role is to maintain requirements through constant change by using innovation to do so.

What is an entry level business analyst? ›

Entry-level business analysts, or junior business analysts, support the collection and analysis of data for a business or organization, providing better solutions, technology integration, or systems improvements.

Does a business analyst do testing? ›

So, a BA doesn't run testing, but they can participate in preparing test cases. For example, a BA specialist can check if the tests are written in conformance with the requirements. A Business Analyst can also be on the list of people authorized to sign a testing plan.

What is your greatest strength business analyst? ›

Communication skills: communication skills is one of the key strengths of a Business analyst as it plays an important role right from eliciting requirements from stakeholders, explaining them to the team, getting work done from them in the designed way. The way we express makes the job easier for us.

How do business analyst use Excel? ›

The following are some of the most important features of Excel that Business Analysts use:
  • Working with IF formulas. ...
  • Using VLOOKUP. ...
  • Extracting clarity from clutter. ...
  • Uncovering data patterns. ...
  • Documenting spreadsheet systems. ...
  • Using PivotTables. ...
  • Visualizing data. ...
  • Understanding industry-relevant Excel features.
3 Jun 2022

How do I pass a business analyst interview? ›

Best Business Analyst Interview Preparation Guidance for 2022
  1. First, take a look at the job posting. What skills are they looking for? ...
  2. Next, brush up on your knowledge of the company. Research their history, mission statement, and any recent news stories.
  3. Finally, practice your answers to common interview questions.

What is most in business analysis? ›

MOST is short for Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics. MOST analysis is used to improve internal processes and company culture by analysing the organisation's internal environment.

What techniques do business analysts use? ›

The most common types of business analysis include BPM, SWOT, MOST, CATWOE, PESTLE, and Six Hats Thinking. These planning methods can be used in a variety of industries and projects. From streamlining your operations to aligning your company's purpose, these tactics can maintain your organization's long-term success.

What does a business analyst do step by step? ›

Here are the steps for Business Analysis: 1) Enterprise analysis 2) Requirement planning and Management 3) Requirement Elicitation 4) Requirement analysis and Documentation 5) Requirement Communication and 6) Solution Evolution and Validation.

Who is a successful business analyst? ›

3. Cover the basics and be resourceful. Good business analysts are good communicators and critical thinkers. They can develop requirements specifications, analyze requirements, and develop visual models, and use necessary business analyst tools.

How do business analysts solve problems? ›

The Business Analyst can help to solve this problem by conducting user research and requirements elicitation to understand the needs of the users that will be using the solution. This can be done through a few methods such as interviews, focus groups, workshops or surveys.

How do you introduce yourself as a business analyst? ›

Try something along these lines: “As a business analyst, I would be able to contribute to your company immediately with my deep understanding of how to deliver business insights from raw data. I have experience working with SQL, data models, and in Agile product development.

Who does a business analyst report to? ›

Rather than placing a business analyst as someone who “reports to X and manages Y,” most companies give business analysts a direct report (typically at a director or VP level) and let them work with people at all levels of the organization.

What is a typical day for a BA? ›

Like every other job a Business Analysts also have a chunk of work to accomplish on a daily basis. That includes attending team meetings, planning, analysis, documentation, and working on the challenges, reviews and many more. An agile business analyst has to handle a variety of work.

Which is best business analyst or data analyst? ›

Data analysts tend to work more closely with the data itself, while business analysts tend to be more involved in addressing business needs and recommending solutions. Both are highly sought-after roles that are typically well-compensated.

Can a business analyst be a data analyst? ›

Business analysts are responsible for using data to inform strategic business decisions. A business analyst might also hold job titles such as operations research analyst, management analyst, or business data analyst.

Who gets paid more business analyst or data analyst? ›

The average data analyst's salary could go up to $72,250 per year. It also depends on the company, job role, and geographical location matters. A data business analyst's salary is typically higher, averaging $78,500/year. Again, the candidate's skillset, profile, company brand, and location factor in.

Does business analyst provide solutions? ›

Business analysts help facilitate solutions for stakeholders

When a business needs to solve a current or future problem it's a business analyst's job to help facilitate a solution.

What is another name for a business analyst? ›

On the one hand, «business analyst» is an umbrella term for all roles in this list and many more (like “data analyst,” “enterprise analyst,” “process analyst,” “system analyst”).

Do business analyst have targets? ›

Goal setting is crucial to the career development of a business analyst. Particularly when positions are data-driven, goals can provide focus and motivation. If you're a business analyst, learning more about goal setting can help you structure your performance and charter a path for career growth and development.

Does business analyst do coding? ›

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.

Is business analyst a difficult job? ›

Challenging And Demanding Job

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.

Does BA write test cases? ›

Business analyst has to write different sets of test cases that need to design for UAT. Once UAT has done successfully the deployment will start at the customer's place, and the actual end-user will start using the software.

Do business analysts perform UAT? ›

It is a must for a business analyst to have a thorough knowledge of the domain and its functionality. In software industries, the BA plays a vital role in user acceptance testing (UAT). It is important to validate and verify that the product is error-free and meeting the business needs.

Can a QA become business analyst? ›

As a QA professional, if you have excellent oral and written communication skills, are comfortable with client interaction, and possess good analytical skills, then you are a right fit for the business analyst role.

What are the challenges you faced as a business analyst? ›

Changing Business Needs or Requirements

Business stakeholders frequently request revisions to requirements even after they have been finalized and approved, as experienced by Business Analysts. It might happen more once, even for the exact requirement, making it one of the most frequent issues.

Why should we hire you answer best? ›

Show that you have skills and experience to do the job and deliver great results. You never know what other candidates offer to the company. But you know you: emphasize your key skills, strengths, talents, work experience, and professional achievements that are fundamental to getting great things done on this position.

What motivates you as a business analyst? ›

The key business motivators for business analysis are Curiosity, Attention, Respect, Appreciation, and Trust, abbreviated as CARAT. Curiosity about the business and its values launches discovery of what the business needs from a solution.

What is VLOOKUP in Excel? ›

When you need to find information in a large spreadsheet, or you are always looking for the same kind of information, use the VLOOKUP function. VLOOKUP works a lot like a phone book, where you start with the piece of data you know, like someone's name, in order to find out what you don't know, like their phone number.

How can I learn SQL for business analyst? ›

5 Online SQL Courses for Business Analysts
  1. Learn Business Data Analysis with SQL and Tableau (Udemy) Source: Udemy.com. ...
  2. SQL for Business Analysts (DataCamp) ...
  3. Excel to MySQL: Analytic Techniques for Business Specialization (Coursera) ...
  4. Introduction to Data Analytics for Managers (edX) ...
  5. LearnSQL.com SQL Reporting.
8 Oct 2020

What are the 3 common uses for Excel? ›

The main uses of Excel include: Data entry. Data management. Accounting.

What questions do business analysts ask? ›

8 Questions Every Business Analyst Should Ask
  • What problem is this business having that you hope to solve by developing this project? ...
  • What is the business doing at present to alleviate or solve the issue? ...
  • What inside resources will this project be utilizing? ...
  • Have you determined a vision for the project?

What are the interview rounds for business analyst? ›

Latest Agile business analyst interview questions
  • What is the Agile Manifesto? ...
  • What are the essential qualities of an Agile BA? ...
  • When should you use Waterfall model instead of Scrum? ...
  • What are the four key phases of business development? ...
  • What do you know about Kanban? ...
  • Mention about some of the most important agile metrics.

Do business analysts travel alot? ›

A career as a business analyst does not involve travelling.

What is data analytics in simple words? ›

Data analytics (DA) is the process of examining data sets in order to find trends and draw conclusions about the information they contain. Increasingly, data analytics is done with the aid of specialized systems and software.

What is the difference between business analysis and business analytics? ›

The BA Times explained the primary way business analytics professionals differ from business analysts: “A business analyst doesn't work with data and is mostly concerned about processes and functions. On the contrary, reporting and data are the key components of a business analytics professional's job.”

What are the 4 types of data analysis? ›

The different types of data analysis include descriptive, exploratory, inferential, predictive, causal and mechanistic.

What are the types of data in business analytics? ›

Four main types of data analytics
  • Predictive data analytics. Predictive analytics may be the most commonly used category of data analytics. ...
  • Prescriptive data analytics. ...
  • Diagnostic data analytics. ...
  • Descriptive data analytics.

Which is best tool for data analysis? ›

Microsoft Excel is the most common tool used for manipulating spreadsheets and building analyses. With decades of development behind it, Excel can support almost any standard analytics workflow and is extendable through its native programming language, Visual Basic.

Which business analysis technique is the best? ›

Here is the list of top ten business analysis techniques:
  • Business Process Modeling (BPM)
  • Brainstorming.
  • MoSCoW (Must or Should, Could or Would)
  • MOST (Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics) Analysis.
  • PESTLE Analysis.
  • SWOT Analysis.
  • Six Thinking Hats.
13 Jun 2022

What is difference between data analyst and business analyst? ›

Data analysts and business analysts both help drive data-driven decision-making in their organizations. Data analysts tend to work more closely with the data itself, while business analysts tend to be more involved in addressing business needs and recommending solutions.

Who gets paid more business analyst or data analyst? ›

The average data analyst's salary could go up to $72,250 per year. It also depends on the company, job role, and geographical location matters. A data business analyst's salary is typically higher, averaging $78,500/year. Again, the candidate's skillset, profile, company brand, and location factor in.


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