Business Analysts provide the much needed logistical core of many technological and service related industries. Business Analysts often are responsible for the collection and analysis of data. This can include information on customers, potential and established markets, products and services, financial regulations and products, and training or business needs. A Business Analyst will then review the data for trends, opportunities, advantages, and areas for improvement and translate this information into a readable format, often for the upper level management of a corporation. This information allows business leaders to make educated and informed business decisions.
The recent economic climate has greatly increased the demand for Business Analysts, as companies often utilize consultants or employees in this role to analyze business processes for areas where technology may allow for a streamlining of a process or a cost savings. As demand increases for businesses to operate more “lean”, complex analysis is required to determine areas of a businesses supply chain, production, or delivery methods that may show potential for reduction.
Business Analysts must have excellent communication skills and must be able to concisely deliver complex information both verbally and written in a method laypeople can understand. Leadership skills are needed, as this position may require the questioning of established procedure and necessitates a personality able to pursue the answers to difficult questions. Experience in cost-benefit analysis and computer modeling are often an asset in this position. IT departments are the most common focus for Business Analysts, so knowledge of networking, communication, and software is often required. The ability to work within a team is also helpful, as many businesses are now choosing to utilize project teams to analyze production and supply concerns.
Most Business Analysts obtain an MBA (Masters of Business Administration). This is the most common credential sought by employers. However, some analysts may hold degrees in specific areas of study and specialize in those areas. Finance and International Business are two other common areas of study for Business Analysts. Masters degrees are preferred by hiring organizations, though individuals with four year degrees that have applicable experience and a background of success may also be considered for hire.