what is a business analyst?

01/01/2019

The job description of a business analyst

Anyone considering applying for business analyst jobs is likely to have acquired considerable experience and acumen in successful business processes. Business analysts are called upon to investigate and analyse business activities, identify underlying flaws or inefficiencies and make recommendations to rectify the problems, chiefly by using IT resources.

Business analysts will on occasion simply be asked to implement relatively straightforward changes such as new customer relationship management software, but they are also often required to undertake much more ambitious projects. These might include a full, end-to-end business system, encompassing everything from stock management to payment to dispatch logistics.

While many employers advertise for in-house business analyst jobs, a good proportion of these roles are also available on a fixed-term contractor basis.

Randstad Technologies has a strong reputation for expertise in sourcing candidates for business analyst jobs, both on a contracting basis and for permanent, in-house roles. Clients come from most sectors including the retail banking sector in London.

A business analyst’s day to day activities

Most business analyst jobs require their incumbents to work between 37 and 40 hours a week on average. However, at critical phases they will also be expected to work overtime to ensure the smooth and efficient implementation of the strategies and systems they are recommending.

Business analysts must be capable of:

Accurately identifying issues in need of improvement
Advising senior managers
Devising IT solutions using both hardware and software
Testing IT systems to explore inefficiencies and identify solutions
Providing training to staff to enable them to operate newly-implemented systems properly

Given the range of formal skills detailed above, business analysts must possess some core personal characteristics. An excellent grasp of mathematics and outstanding IT skills are generally indispensable, but employers and recruiters will also be looking for a robust capacity to work under pressure, an exemplary understanding of global business environments, first-rate interpersonal skills and excellent leadership skills. Business analysts must be capable of taking people with them when they make changes to business systems.

Variations on the role

Companies often expect business analysts to deliver additional skills to those formally identified in the job description. These include the ability to explore data-oriented structures (Data Modelling), familiarity with the data-management programming language SQL and planning, leading and managing the implementation of business-critical projects on time and on budget (Project Management).

Other skills that can be useful are familiarity with banking systems, gathering, storing and organizing data (Business Intelligence), familiarity with the Scrum process in agile software development and familiarity with the major project management training resource, Prince 2.

Entry to managerial level

For those who are seeking business analyst jobs for the first time, it’s probably advisable to apply for junior analyst positions to begin with, which typically offer salaries in the region of £26,500. More experienced business analysts, however, can easily command salaries of around £65,000 and above.

For those who opt for contracting as a freelance business analyst, the financial rewards can be appreciably higher, although such positions have currently become less numerous than previously as many employers are now seeking in-house analysts on a permanent basis.