What is a business analyst?
Business analysts (BAs) are responsible for bridging the gap between IT and the business using data analytics to assess processes, determine requirements, and deliver data-driven recommendations and reports to executives and stakeholders.
BAs engage with business leaders and users to understand how data-driven changes to process, products, services, software, and hardware can improve efficiencies and add value. They must articulate those ideas but also balance them against what’s technologically feasible and financially and functionally reasonable. Depending on the role, a business analyst might work with data sets to improve products, hardware, tools, software, services, or process.
The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), a nonprofit professional association, considers the business analyst “an agent of change,” writing that business analysis “is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or non-profits.”
Business analyst job description
BAs are responsible for creating new models that support business decisions by working closely with finance and IT teams to establish initiatives and strategies aimed at improving revenue and/or optimizing costs. Business analysts need a “strong understanding of regulatory and reporting requirements as well as plenty of experience in forecasting, budgeting, and financial analysis combined with understanding of key performance indicators,” according to Robert Half Technology.
According to Robert Half, a business analyst’s job description typically includes the following responsibilities:
- Creating a detailed business analysis in an effort to outline problems, opportunities, and solutions for a business
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Planning and monitoring
- Variance analysis
- Defining business requirements and reporting them back to stakeholders
Business analysts are tasked with prioritizing technical and functional requirements, identifying what clients want, and determining what is feasible to deliver. It requires a deep understanding of systems, how they function, who will need to be involved, and the necessary steps to get everyone on board.