The Role of a Business Analyst: Salary, Skills and More

role of business analystMost modern companies are made up of many different departments, each itself a complementary range of different people. In order for a business to operate efficiently, each of these departments needs to communicate and cooperate with the others.

This requires business processes, which range from simple guidelines for sending emails to important checklists for ensuring departments like IT and management understand each other’s goals, work processes and limitations.

The role of a business analyst involves defining problems in the processes used in conducting business and finding solutions. It’s a demanding role that’s vital for any modern business looking to streamline its operations and become more efficient.

Are you interested in becoming a business analyst? Learn more about the role of a business analyst and their importance as a metaphorical bridge between different departments and professionals in this guide.

Before you can become a business analyst, it’s important to establish a good career foundation. Learn about how to set yourself up for a successful career (or change to a new career) in our course, The YOU Plan for Career Change.

What is the role of a business analyst?

With technology playing a greater role in modern business than ever before, large businesses need to be able to rapidly adapt to change. This often means changing processes, technology and operations to become quicker and more efficient.

This is there a business analyst excels. Business analysts observe and analyze the processes used to operate a business or organization, from strategies for shipping products to the communications between departments, and implement change.

Most of these changes are guided towards increasing efficiency and reducing the cost of doing business. Others are designed to increase output and help improve production and revenue without a subsequent increase in costs.

Think of business analysts as people involved in adaptation and change. Without analysis and insight from a business analyst, an organization may continue to use outdated or inefficient methods for months or even years at a time.

This costs the organization a significant amount, both in lost income and in the lost productivity an inefficient process produces. Because of this, business analysts play a very important role in maximizing an organization’s profitability.

With this said, business analysts aren’t always part of for-profit companies. Business analysts are also employed by charities, non-profit organizations, public services, as well as many other organizations of all sizes and structures.

Would you like to learn more about the organizational and operational role played by a business analyst? Learn about the fundamentals of operating a business from a former CEO.

Business analysts and high-level management

Sometimes, companies need to change in order to succeed. When market conditions change or new technology emerges, companies that were once stable and secure can become at risk of losing market share and revenue.

Since business analysts are involved in bridging the gap between management and other departments, they’re instrumental in creating large-scale change that gives a business or organization a new focus or method of functioning.

The first goal of a business analyst is – as the title may suggest – to analyze. Unlike financial analysts, who look at the financial health of a company, business analysts look at the operational health of a company and try to spot inefficiencies.

Not all companies are run equally efficiently. Some use processes that reduce their value offered to key stakeholders. Others operate very efficiently and require more of an overview than in-depth analysis.

Business analysts look at the systems used to operate a business at all levels, from specific per-project processes to the operations of management. Certain business analysts play a role in determining the strategy and tactics used by organizations.

In many ways, it’s helpful to think of the role of a business analyst as that of a type or business architect. Just like every part of a building should have purpose, every aspect of an organization should have a clear purpose defined by an analyst.

The key to success as a business analyst is understanding how organizations – both large and small – function, particularly the people within them. Learn the basics of analyzing an organization in our course, Introduction to Organizational Behavior.

Qualifications required to become a business analyst

role of business analystSince today’s businesses are heavily dependent on computer technology for output and productivity, business analysts need to be well versed in modern information technology and computing.

This knowledge and training doesn’t necessarily have to be deeply technical – there is no requirement for a specialized qualification in computer science, for example – but a technical or business qualification is certainly an advantage for job applicants.

Most business analysts don’t start in an analysis position – instead, they move into the role after gaining experience in business or IT. Many business analysts work as consultants on a contractual basis for large companies and organizations.

If you’d like to become a business analysis, gaining the right educational background is essential. Learn how to get into your dream college and degree program using the strategies and techniques in our College Admission Success course.

The median salary of a business analyst

A career in business analysis can be quite lucrative, particularly in a large business with many departments and hundreds – in many cases, thousands – of processes to analyze, optimize and help run more efficiently.

As of 2014, business analysts in the United States earn a median salary of $77,000, making it a potentially lucrative job. Specialized business analysts, such as business intelligence analysts, can earn average salaries of more than $90,000 per annum.

Like in any career, the amount that you can earn as a business analyst depends on more than just your on-the-job skills. Your work history and ability to negotiate a fair salary also have a significant effect on the amount that you could earn.

Would you like to learn how to successfully negotiate with your boss and earn more as a business analyst or in any other career? Learn the secrets of negotiating a raise and earning more money in any job with How to Negotiate Your Salary.

Learn more about the role of a business analyst

As efficiency becomes an even greater priority for businesses, business analysts are constantly in demand. From small projects to large departments, the insight offered by a business analyst can help any type of organization run more effectively.

Would you like to learn more about becoming a business analyst? Learn the major roles and responsibilities of a business analyst in our blog post on what a business analyst does, as well as our best tips on how to ace a business analyst job interview.