In today's data-driven world, information technology impacts all levels of a business. To bridge the gap between IT and business operations, many organizations rely on the expertise of business analysts.
Business analysts solve problems by aligning an organization’s IT infrastructure with its strategic goals. The demand for business analysts is expected to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026 – faster than average for all occupations.
Interested in pursuing a career in this growing field? In this blog post, we’ll explore what business analysts do and how they fit into IT operations.
Browse business analysis training courses now.
What Do Business Analysts Do?
Business analysts recommend and design solutions to improve efficiency and profitability within an organization. A business analyst may operate under different job titles, such as systems analyst, process analyst, requirements engineer or enterprise analyst.
Business analysts are responsible for:
- Assessing the organizational and IT infrastructure contributing to a business problem
- Identifying the technology and processes needed to solve the issue
- Creating a strategic plan to implement or revise inefficient procedures and technology
- Setting goals and objectives for the new methods and technology
- Implementing or reconfiguring technology to address the problem
- Restructuring and reorganizing business processes to meet the goals and objectives
- Communicating business and technology needs to the appropriate stakeholders
- Overseeing the adoption of solutions
- Measuring the results of new systems
At their core, business analysts are responsible for implementing solutions that solve technology challenges. They may introduce a new technology, institute a training program, alter an existing process or revise a company policy.
An analyst's placement in an organizational chart can vary from business to business. They often work inside the IT department, but they may also be part of the project management office or a digital business unit.
Where Do Business Analysts Fit Into IT Operations?
Business analysts are technology and business operations experts. They know that a solid IT strategy is the foundation of every successful company and work closely with the CIO and IT department to resolve high-level issues.
While some business analysts only specialize in business operations, this is becoming less common. Today’s business analysts typically have several years of IT and management experience under their belt. They direct and help manage IT projects from start to finish — including planning, implementation and training — to help meet C-level business goals.
Core Requirements of Business Analysts
A business analyst must possess an array of highly developed skills and be ready to learn new ones on demand. They must have advanced problem solving abilities and be comfortable suggesting new ideas that challenge the status quo. Analysts should have a knack for identifying inefficient processes and finding creative ways to streamline operations.
Business analysts need to have both hard and soft skills to be successful.
- Data Analysis: Pulling, analyzing and reporting data trends
- Communicative: Can clearly explain technical requirements through writing, speech and visualizations
- Business Process Modeling: Representing processes visually using Unified Modeling Language (UML) so they can be analyzed and improved
- Adaptable: Able to convey complex ideas to both IT professionals and business leaders
- Advanced Excel Knowledge: Able to create financial models and reports
- Collaborative: Can get stakeholders from different departments to work together
Technical Requirements of Business Analysts
A business analysts’ technical abilities may vary depending on their responsibilities within an organization. They generally need broad knowledge of popular IT systems and technology structures.
Some analyst positions may require a deep understanding of databases and software development. At minimum, business analysts must be able to:
- Keep up with emerging business technologies and trends
- Understand and articulate how various technologies can improve business functions
- Have enough technical knowledge to communicate with IT departments and professionals
Training Courses and Resources for Business Analysts
Investing in professional training is one of the best ways to gain marketable business analysis skills. These are some of the top training courses for business analysts.
Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) Certification Courses
Business analysts who want to be recognized for their advanced knowledge and professional competence can become a member of the International Institute of Business Analysis and obtain their CBAP certification.
To pass the CBAP exam, an analyst must have:
- Minimum 7500 hours of business analysis work experience aligned with the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) Guide in the last 10 years
- Minimum 900 hours in four of the six BABOK knowledge areas
- Minimum 21 hours of professional development in the past four years
- Two references from a career manager, client or CBAP recipient
- A Signed Code of Conduct
New Horizons offers a CBAP Exam Preparation Course and courses in all six of the BABOK knowledge areas:
Business Analysis Elective Courses
New Horizons also offers specialized electives for analysts seeking knowledge in specific business practices or technologies, including agile project management and Microsoft SharePoint:
Browse more business analysis courses.
Leadership and Management Courses
Business analysts need more than business and technical acumen to succeed. They must be able to lead and communicate with executives and stakeholders in an organization.
Business analysts who have a strong technical background but lack leadership experience may want to take leadership training courses to hone their soft skills. New Horizons offers a wide selection of leadership & professional development courses to help IT professionals become more confident leaders.
Popular courses for business analysts include:
- Transitioning into Leadership for an IT Manager
- Mastering Positive Assertiveness
- Thinking with Critical Insight
- Communicating Across Your Organization
- The Art of Effective Presentations
- Strategic Negotiation Skills
Browse more leadership & professional development courses.
As businesses continue to undergo dramatic technological transformations, the need for business analysts to bridge the gap between IT and operations will increase. If you possess strong IT skills and a talent for problem-solving, business analysis can be an exciting and lucrative career path.
If you think business analysis might be the right path for you, sign up for the business analysis courses mentioned above or contact us today for more information.