Who are Business Analysts? A quick look at the individual professional and their ability

Who are Business Analysts? A quick look at the individual professional and their ability

In the second blog of this series, we look at what an individual analyst brings to a business, their specific role, and particular competencies and skills. Knowing what a business analyst should bring to the table helps companies find the right one for their needs and solutions.

What is the role of the Business Analyst?

At the heart of their role, the analyst is two things: an investigator and an advisor. With so many varied needs across businesses, there are numerous different approaches that the analyst will take. These different perspectives, in brief, are:

  • Analyst: A problem-solving perspective looking at entire systems
  • Facilitator: A progress and growth perspective helping to lead a group
  • Negotiator: A mediation perspective that helps stakeholders reach agreements
  • Architect: A system and process perspective based on implementing change
  • Planner: A planning and executing perspective based on requirements and deadlines
  • Communicator: A communication perspective helping the transfer of information
  • Diplomat: A perspective based on ensuring solution satisfaction across stakeholders
  • Expert: A specialist perspective where expert knowledge is applied
  • Strategist: A long-term planning role that extends to universal visions and goals

The common theme across all these roles is the need to investigate and analyse each business segment and find solutions. To successfully fulfill these different roles, the analyst needs to have numerous competencies in a wide range of areas.

What competencies does an analyst need?

While every analyst is different and will come from diverse expertise, there are a few main competencies analysts must display.

Firstly, analysts need to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. Because the core of their role in any business is to find and implement solutions, they must critically approach every issue they come across and apply it to the solutions they recommend.

Further, they need to be strong communicators. The need to constantly interact and discover information from stakeholders is vital, and this can only be achieved by having strong and adaptable communication. Across different sectors, levels of business, stakeholders, and individuals one communication style will not suit everything.

Next, the analyst needs to be able to display organisation and time-management skills. No business can wait forever for solutions to come, so the analyst needs to be able to work within that period and get to a solution.

Finally, the analyst must be a decision-maker. The process needs to be exact so that the right information is extracted and then the solution presented must be clear, accurate, and achievable. Without strong and focused decision-making along the way, the solution is not going to be taking advantage of the knowledge and tools which the analyst draws from throughout.

How about their knowledge and tools?

Every analyst has applicable and adaptable knowledge of both general business and the tools necessary to discover specific information within the direct business they are analysing. Firstly, the knowledge they bring into the process will draw on similar projects/systems, case studies within industries, reports, and “best practice” principles. They will also obtain all possible information from within the business prior to starting so that they can have a path to begin and don’t enter the business blindly.

From there, they use a large toolkit of activities, processes, and facilitation procedures to ensure they obtain all the necessary information during their analysis. These processes vary from interview techniques to facilitation and communication styles, different types of analysis, and a large range of activities that can be applied across the board to find the information they need.

At the end of the day, every analyst is different – it is important that organisations approach and enlist one which suits their strategy and needs. The last blog in this series will discuss different business strategies and frameworks that help determine how an analyst will approach the process.

Related issue

What is good business strategy and how do analysts improve it?