A role of a business analyst is very crucial in a company’s productivity, efficiency and most importantly in its profitability. Like in any other role, a set of technical skills, a mix of hard skills and soft skills, is a prerequisite for a business analyst. Along with a predefined set of skills, the ability to change, adapt and evolve is a key for a business analyst to thrive. A business analyst uses a combination of tools and techniques so that they can build business intelligence solutions which align the data, and the required technology to deliver actionable insights, and support the decision making process on a whole. A business analyst might be involved in all or most of the stages in the business intelligence processes. Data mining, analysis, etc…,
The list of skills is quite exhaustive, and a blog or an article will not be able to cover all of them, however, it can definitely list down a set of must-have skills for a successful business analyst.
It is practically impossible to give input or to get involved in the life cycle of business intelligence without business acumen. A business analyst has to acquire the domain-specific knowledge, so that one can understand the industry and organisation that they are involved in, to contribute effectively. With sound specific business knowledge, the analyst can comprehend the impact of any strategy implementation, and assist in tactical day to day understanding of the business.
Conceptual Thinking, Data Analysis, and Modelling
A business analyst has to dive deep into data to extrapolate valuable insights for the business and assist in strategy implementation. They need to have the ability to understand data, with the use of data models. They need to understand the flow of data within the organisation so that it can be used effectively for decision-making purposes by the management.
Business Intelligence Software and knowledge in Analytical Programs
Besides exceptional knowledge in Microsoft office and most specifically in Excel, it is an added advantage if they have a working knowledge of Visio for data modelling and specifically, if they know SharePoint, it will come handy when building custom input lists. Back in the days, MS Asses was sought after but not any longer unless there is a specific requirement, however, fluency in querying languages like SQL is highly preferred.
A much-needed capability is to understand and analyse data, its formats, structure, and flow, from intangible to tangible. Finally, any business analyst working in the analytical space should be aware of commercial off the shelf analytics software applications like Tableau, Qlik etc…,
Inquisitive and Detailed Oriented Mind Set, Visualising the Big Picture
Ironically a business analyst needs both the skill sets, ability to see the big picture yet to have the patience and discipline in understanding the finest grain of data and intuitively picking up the subtle details. So they need to understand the Key Performance Indicators of each title and processes, yet have the maturity to understand why certain steps are crucial and cannot be skipped, keeping in mind the organisation strategy, and vision along with detailed data elements.
Exceptional Communication and Emotional Intelligence
Not only should a BA be very clear and concise in communication, should also be a good listener, and should be able to translate technical terms or deep concepts effectively, with not only the stakeholders but with others as well.
A Business Analyst should also be able to manage face to face interactions with extreme maturity, unite teams working in silos to come to common solutions, using data and its insights as a point of argument. A BA should navigate the politics and align the departments towards the business objective.
Self-discipline, Documentation Skills, and Stake-Holder Management are some other essential skills which sharpen with experience. Analytical Skills, Negotiating Skills and Problem Solving along with any other skills specific to the business domain can be acquired through training and educational programs.
We at Imarticus learning offer an IIBA-endorsed business analysis certification program. This program helps you to gain in-depth exposure to Business Analysis, techniques and frameworks as prescribed by latest BABOK 3.0. After completing the skill-building certification.
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