If you have the ability to look at a process or situation within an organization, evaluate the situation and then see or spot solutions that may make the process more efficient, then you should consider a career as a business analyst.
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As a group of professionals, the functions and job description of business analysts have existed for many years. Business analysts have become a valuable part of any organization interested in ensuring that their organization functions at optimum levels. Although the functions and details of the tasks that business analysts perform on a daily basis may vary depending on the type of organization that employs them and the particular project they are busy with at the time, there are some fundamental skills that all business analysts must be proficient in to be able to perform their duties efficiently.
The main tasks of a business analyst can be divided into four different areas of expertise, namely:
Investigating the project to define the project goals and issues
Collecting and analyzing the data specified by the scope of the project
Documenting feedback, ideas and proposals that relate to the project
Evaluating and presenting various solutions based on the analysis
Investigating the Project to Define the Project Goals and Issues
A good deal of your time as a business analyst will be spent investigating the processes currently used in the organization. Investigations include watching the normal functions and processes in action as well as conducting interviews with staff and stakeholders to clarify the reasons for the various business processes used.
The questions you will be asking as a business analyst generally revolve around the four concepts. Is the process worth it? What is the process about? Why is the process performed and is it really necessary? Does the process deliver what is sets out to deliver?
This area also requires business analysts to make decisions about whether the process is critical or not. To learn how to conduct analysis to differentiate between critical and non-critical organizational functions and activities, you can sign up for Business Impact Analysis course now.
Collecting and Analyzing the Data Specified by the Scope of the Project
Once the business analyst has analyzed the scope and goals of the project, it’s time to collect and analyze the data based on the project details. Collection of data may include collecting the documents involved in the process, accessing computer data and information that relates to the project as well as conducting interviews with the staff members involved with the specific business process.
This area of expertise requires the business analyst to be proficient in reading and comprehending a lot of raw data and a course like Speed Reading for Business that increases your reading speed and your comprehension of text may be very helpful to improve your proficiency in these particular areas.
Once the data has been collated, it’s time to put your analytical skills to work. A business analyst must be able to evaluate the data to spot problem areas, as well as being able to critically evaluate the outcome of the process. The project scope often includes goals for a particular process and part of the evaluation process is determining whether the process efficiently meets those goals.
There are various techniques and templates that can be used to assess whether a process meets the requirements. Gap analysis can be used for example to determine whether there is a gap between the actual performance and the potential performance. Here is an article you may find useful for your Gap analysis: Gap Analysis Template: The 3 Key Elements of Effective Gap Analysis
Documenting Feedback, Ideas and Proposals that Relate to the Project
Once the collection of data has been analyzed, the business analyst must begin creating feedback, ideas and proposals that relate to the project. To achieve this, the business analyst must have a good knowledge of the software and tools available to help document the analysis. Tools available to the business analyst include case modeling tools. A course like Business Analysis: Working with Use Cases will teach you how to use case modeling as a business analyst and the course is especially helpful for those people who are looking to transition into a business analysis role.
Creating ideas and proposals requires a balanced combination of analytical skills as well as imagination because you need to be able to critically evaluate the data and then come up with alternative methods and processes that will be more efficient for the organization.
Evaluating and Presenting Various Solutions Based on the Analysis
The culmination of the above three steps results in a proposal that offers a solution to a problem or a more efficient process based on the project requirements. This step often involves presenting the solutions and proposals to senior management or team leaders to begin a process of transformation within the business.
The business analyst must therefore be able to communicate effectively and also posses the ability to address larger groups of people. Presentations also often require the ability to use presentation software to effectively communicate the conclusions of the analysis.
If you feel that the above skills and abilities are ones you already possess or are ones that interest you then, once you have the necessary expertise, a course on How to Market Yourself as a Coach or Consultant may be especially beneficial to you. This course will teach you everything you need to know to effectively package, brand, and market your services as a business analyst. Or if you are going for an interview as a business analyst, then you should read Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers: Are You Prepared? to give yourself the best possible chance of being hired as a business analyst