The job ‘business analyst’ might not sound that exciting, but, whilst it is demanding, it is one of the important and intellectually satisfying jobs in both the private and public sectors today.
Business analysts are the thinkers who chart the path to a future that is both sustainable and profitable. They work alongside the most senior leaders and work across the entire business, working to make enterprises more agile for a rapidly evolving market.
Here are just a few of the ways in which business analysts make a difference:
- Modelling new business strategies
Once you understand the business’s current position, the next step is to decide what to do next. How can the business grow its market share and become more profitable? In the past large companies would often have their own analytics team in house, the likes of IBM and Ford Motor Company for example. Many companies would make decisions based on an incomplete understanding of the data that was available to them. Often this meant that firms would make important decisions based on what despairingly became known as the ‘hi-ppo’ system – the ‘highest paid person’s opinion.’
It is the job of a business analyst to take the available data and use it as the basis from which to extrapolate different outcomes, depending on how the business specifies and modifies specific variables. Business leaders are then able to make more informed decisions and much more likely to deliver better business outcomes.
- Analysing whole-business performance
Broadly speaking, the job of business analyst is to use data to understand the needs of a business. This is extremely varied, from identifying the right data sources, then cleaning, de-duping and integrating those sources to gain a comprehensive, detailed and accurate understanding of the business.
Modern businesses often find it difficult to integrate data from a range of sources, for example, for a retailer-data comes from e-commerce sites in-store point of sales, marketplaces and more. The role of the business analyst would be to use these different data sets and get an understanding of the company’s performance and position within the market, so the board and other functions within the company can make informed and effective decisions.
- Discovering new opportunities
By using external sources and intelligence, both quantitative and qualitative, a business analyst can help companies spot changes in the market before they even happen. Companies are then able to direct its resources to the markets and activities which will give them the biggest return on investment. This can also help mitigate and even avoid risks, giving you an edge over competitors who aren’t so well prepared.
- Planning for technological transformation
One of the key roles for a business Analyst is to match platforms and technology infrastructure of a company with the company’s needs. Looking at data to understand the current position of the company, the analyst will work closely with business leaders to build an outline of where the company wants to go next. Next, they will understand the business processes and inputs that must be part of any effort to achieve this goal. Once they have all the relevant information, the business analyst can work with other functions to understand how these processes and inputs can be optimised and which systems and technology platforms are required to streamline and execute these processes in the most cost effective and efficient way.
- Accelerating price discovery
Price discovery is the process of finding the right price for a good or service: one that will deliver the best balance of sales volume and profit. Rather than relying on a mix of subjective experience, partial data, and trial error, working with a data analyst will help companies understand how to price product accordingly and where it fits in the competitive landscape.