Business analysts work with organisations to help them improve their processes and systems. They conduct research and analysis in order to come up with solutions to business problems and help to introduce these systems to businesses and their clients.
Business analysts’ solutions for their clients will usually involve the implementation of new, or improved, computer systems
What does a business analyst do?
Business analysts look at how a company operates – conducting research and analyzing data to develop their knowledge – and suggest methods for the company to improve their practices and processes. This is usually done with the aim of helping the company to make more money, solve existing business problems and/or better achieve their goals.
The work of a business analyst is very closely related to the IT sector, and in some companies business analysts may be considered a technical job role and sit within an IT department. Nowadays, business analysts’ solutions for their clients will usually involve the implementation of new, or improved, computer systems, and the analyst’s role may extend to familiarizing the wider business with the benefits of this new technology and instructing colleagues on how it is to be used.
Analysts can either work ‘in-house’ for a company, where they will solely work on projects for their employer, or be employed by an analyst or consulting firm and will usually travel to a client’s office and be based there for the duration of a project. The length of business analysts’ involvement in projects can vary, as they may only be present in the short-term, coming up with solutions to a problem, or on a long-term basis, where they will assist in the implementation of the solution.
Alternate job titles include: business systems analyst, process analyst, enterprise analyst, business architect and functional analyst.
Typically a business analyst will:
- analyse the structure of a business, how it uses technology and what its goals are
- identify problems within a business, including through using data modelling techniques
- communicate with senior people in organisations to find out what they hope to achieve
- formulate ways for businesses to improve, based on previous research
- persuade internal and external stakeholders of the benefits of new technology or strategies
- oversee the implementation of new technology and systems
- run workshops and training sessions
Typical employers of business analyst:
- Specialist business analysis firms
- Consulting and professional service firms (including technology consulting companies)
- Public sector organisations (such as county councils)
- Technology companies
- Research firms
- Larger organisations that require in-house analysts (such as banks, utilities companies and multinational retailers)
Experienced business analysts may be able to work for themselves in a freelance capacity.
Qualifications and training required:
Business analyst roles typically require a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, though employers may prefer a degree in a business-, computing-, economics-, or numeracy-related subject. You can get your degree through a full-time university study or through a business analyst degree apprenticeship.
Key skills for business analysts:
- Commercial awareness
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Time management and organisational skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Analytical skills
- Leadership and management skills
- An interest in, and understanding of, project management techniques and computing systems
Recommended IBDP subjects needed to apply to university to study business:
No specific IBDP subject requirements.