Introduction

If you are an aspiring business analyst and want to know what it takes to be an efficient and successful business analyst, then we have here exhaustive information on business analyst skills that encompasses business analyst soft skills as well as business analyst hard skills. But before we dive into business analyst required skills let us first understand what is the job of a business analyst.

  1. Who is a Business Analyst
  2. Job Description of a Business Analyst
  3. Business Analyst Skills

1. Who is a Business Analyst

Some jobs in the world require a tremendous amount of focus, learning capability, anticipation, and many such high-order mental faculties. Some of them are doctors, data scientists, engineers, and also a business analyst.

Business Analysts are those who drive a business to success through various initiatives like improving processes, improving products and services, etc. They are the ones who straddle the IT and the business operations of a company, bridging gaps, and improving efficiency. BAs are a combination of IT skills, soft skills, and analytical skills which they use to determine requirements and assess processes. Their recommendations are data-driven and they engage with business leaders and other stakeholders to understand how an overall efficient system can be brought into an organization.

2. Job Description of a Business Analyst

If you want to know what are some of the business analyst required skills, it is important to first go through the role and responsibilities of a business analyst. In a nutshell, a business analyst creates new models by interacting closely with IT teams and financial reporting. These new models support business decisions and aim at improving and optimizing costs. Here is a quick look at the key functions of a BA:

  • Draw a clear and detailed business analysis that outlines the problems along with opportunities.
  • Budgeting.
  • Forecasting.
  • Planning
  • Monitoring.
  • Variance analysis.
  • Pricing
  • Reporting
  • Defining business requirements.
  • Reporting the requirements to stakeholders.

From the entire list, the task of identifying and prioritizing functional and technical requirements is the topmost priority of a business analyst.

3. Business Analyst Skills

The skill set for business analyst has many layers. There are business analyst technical skills on one side and there are soft skills and people skills on the other side. A business analyst treads both these paths hence the skills a business analyst should have must comprise of both these aspects. The technical skills required for business analysts need him/her to pull out data, analyze them, and report the data. The other part of business analyst skills, which are also part of business analyst key skills, is people skills where their listening and communication skills are required. We will now get into the whole gamut of business analyst skill set.

A) Technical Skills Needed for Business Analyst

In the technology-driven world of today, it is imperative that one dabbles into many tools and technologies like MS Office, SQL queries, etc. Though an IT background is not one of the mandatory skills needed for business analysts it surely pays off to learn them. To narrow down the various technologies that business analysts need to learn, we have the following checklist:

  • MS Office – To analyze data and report business analyst excel skills and business analyst documentation skills are a much-needed part of business analyst software skills.
  • MS Visio – This helps in explaining architecture and workflows.
  • Software Design Tool.
  • SQL Queries – Querying data is a big part of business analysis skills.
  • Business process models.
  • Researching the internet – Research is the cornerstone of any business analyst’s job. You must research all the nooks and corners of the internet to gather the statistical data needed for providing a valuable solution to your company.

B) Reviewing Data and Performing Statistical Analysis

The sea of numbers you find after the research part of the project is done, needs to be analyzed to give insights about many important factors. This data can tell you about gaps and help you with risk assessment once you make sense of these statistics. Your business analytics skills are put to test in this part of the job. A typical process that goes into giving efficient business solutions is:

Perform a thorough research on the problem undertaken.

Gather data and statistics.

Review and analyze the researched data.

Provide the best solution after interpreting the data.

C) Financial Planning

The data you analyzed will lead you into financial planning as to how much each part of the solution would cost. You can then plan how your business would achieve the objectives and goals by proper financial planning. The ultimate motive of this process is to bring in a profit for your company and your clients. To do that effectively, you would need to know the following:

  • How much each step of the process would cost the company.
  • How much each step of the process would cost the client.
  • What benefits each stakeholder would get from your solution.
  • How much will the company or the client benefit?
  • Documentation and Recording – Documentation skills will make your life easier as recording everything makes it seamless to explain your plan to others. For everyone to understand your approach, you must show them the roadmap in an easily comprehendible manner.
  • Interpersonal business analyst qualities and other soft skills

D) Verbal communication

Amongst all the soft skills needed for a business analyst, verbal communication tops the list. The ability to make the agenda known to all stakeholders clearly and concisely and ask questions the way they understand holds the biggest ground for a business analyst.

E) Listening Skills

Communication skills go hand in hand with listening skills. A good listening skill helps a business analyst in absorbing information better. It is not merely understanding what the other person is saying but it is also about figuring out the context, motivation, and other between the lines aspects that a BA needs to make out.

F) Negotiation

We know by now that a BA’s role requires him/her to be a middleman between various departments be it client, developer, management. etc. This needs negotiating skills so that you adhere to your goals and keep all the stakeholders pleased too. A big part of the negotiation is persuading people to view things differently.

G) Problem Solving

BAs facilitate a shared understanding of the problems involved in the project and come up with possible solutions.

H) Understand Delegated Objectives

When a BA gathers all the requirements from either the business or technical side, they need to interpret it holistically and fill the gaps to understand their objectives clearly.

I) Time management

A BA requires multitasking hence managing time is very crucial to be efficient in their role. The key to doing successful time management is to understand priorities and layout your day-to-day work in accordance with that.

Conclusion

A business analyst does not need to be an expert in every domain or industry but evolves their hard and soft skills to be successful in their role. A business analyst’s skills are critical in many business areas like product ownership, technical leadership, project management, etc. therefore a BA enjoys a long shelf life in their career. Many IT and e-commerce companies offer excellent remunerations to business analysts hence it is all the more reason to start a career in this role.

If you are interested in making it big in the world of data and evolve as a Future Leader, you may consider our Business Analyst Training, a 10-month online program, in collaboration with IIM Indore!

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