About Business Analyst

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data,” pronounced Sherlock Holmes while cracking one of his famous cases.The significance of decoding data has never been greater than right now – particularly for organizations.

In a highly competitive market, the field of business analytics has emerged and grown in recent years as an important capability for organizations. De classifying data has improved organizational decision making both internally as well as with suppliers and customers.

The process of understanding, assessing and documenting business needs and the impact of its changes on the business is called business analytics, and the professional who makes it possible is a Business Analyst. Not just in analysing data, business analysts also support in effectively communicating the requirements to stake holders.

At a broad level, there are four types of business analysts: Business Developers - who identify organizational business needs and opportunities, Business Model Analysts – who define organizational policies and market approaches, Process Designers – who standardize organizational workflows and Systems Analysts – who interpret business requirements for technical systems.

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It is not necessary for a business analyst to have an IT background although some knowledge in IT is always helpful. Some of the documentation tools used by business analysts include MS Word, MS PowerPoint, MS Excel and SQL querying. For modelling flowcharts,MS Visio and eDraw are used and Balsamiq is used for wireframing and mock-ups.

Most business analytics courses are master’s degree programs. However, at the bachelor’s level, universities across the world offer the theoretical groundwork for advanced learning in business analytics. Masters (MS) in Business Analytics and MBA programs are the most common degrees pursued in this career. Some colleges offer business analytics as a co-major. There are also some which offer a five-year bachelor's and master's degree through an accelerated joint program. The Masters of Science programs focus on computer programming skills while the MBA programs emphasize on business skills.

In an MBA program, students can major in IT, finance or business administration with the option to concentrate on project management or business analytics. These courses prepare students to liaison between business and technology departments of organizations.

The best way of pursuing this career after grade 12 is to do a BBA, then an MBA program with specialization in business analytics. You can also consider pursing the 5 year BBA+MBA integrated course offered at many universities. Alternatively, you could pursue any bachelor’s degree with Mathematics as a major subject before taking up business analytics at the master’s level. Remember, business analytics is about data and numbers. So you must have Maths as a mandatory subject from grade 12 onwards to pursue a career in this profession.

The UK is the best country to pursue an undergraduate course in business analytics. At the end of the first year of the B Sc. in Business Analytics course, students are allowed to select from the following specializations: Business Analytics - Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management / Project Management / Information Systems. M Sc. in Business Analytics programs are best offered at the University of Surrey, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Nottingham.

In India, IIT Kharagpur offers a two years full-time program in Business Analytics conducted jointly at the IIT Kharagpur, IIM Calcutta and ISI Kolkata. Praxis Business School, Kolkata offers a one-year full-time program which focuses on SAS, R, Python, Big Data, Data Visualization and intensive industry projects. SP Jain School of Global Management, Mumbai also offers a 6 months full-time course in business analytics and besides teaching the software also covers topics including big data and machine learning.

Career Prospects

Business analysts play a variety of roles in an organization. They are a part of business operations and work with Information Technology to improve the quality of services delivered and even assist in integration and testing of new solutions. They create project plans, assist in training material development and support during and after implementation. Although, business analysts have a changing job role depending on the projects which may include operations scaling, sales planning and strategy devising, here are some of their broad job responsibilities:

Understanding existing data requirements Developing project plans based on requirements Communicating with business and technology units Supporting in creating training and implementation manuals Supporting initiatives that improve reporting quality Working with stakeholders for different projects

Some of the industries that have a high demand of business analysts are:

  • Finance
  • Banking& Insurance
  • Telecom
  • Utilities
  • Software services
  • Government agencies
  • Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Real Estate
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Jobs & Salary

Most organizations are heavily dependent on technology and since business analysts are the bridge between technology and business units of organizations, their demand is growing in every industry that is technologically enabled.

In the US, the field of business analytics and management analytics is expected to grow 14% by 2024, much more than the average of most other fields. Currently, there are at least 1000 more jobs for business analysts than there are for software developers. Business analysts in the US make an average of $6,400 a month as their base salary. The highest paid business analysts work in Microsoft ($8,700/month), CISCO ($7,800/month), CGI Group ($7,200/month), Capital One ($7,100/month) and Verizon ($6,500/month.) Some of the other top international companies that recruit business analysts are:

 

Wipro, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) are the top Indian software companies which hire business analysts. Some of the most common profiles for business analysts are:

Project Manager
Business Process Consultant
Management Consultant
Business Analyst - Finance/Banking Business
Project Manager - Information Technology (IT)

In India, from the entry level up to 5 years, a business analyst can earn an average salary of Rs. 42,000 a month. With 5 to 10 years of experience, the pay can go up to an average of Rs. 67,000 a month. Experienced business analysts with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of Rs. 100,000 a month. Employees with over 20 years of experience make around Rs. 130,000 a month. City wise, companies in Gurgaon followed by Bangalore, Pune and Chennai are best in terms of pay for professionals in this field.

Pros & Cons

Becoming a business analyst requires assimilation of various skills - communication, diplomacy, problem-solving, analysis and the ability to engage with stakeholders to understand and respond to their business needs.

Pros
  • Opportunity to work on a variety of projects which keeps the job interesting
  • High salaries, abundant job and career development opportunities
  • Working on different projects creates opportunities to learn
Cons
  • Business analysts don’t get as much credit as software developers do, particularly in software engineering companies.
  • Business analysts may sometimes need to deal with inter departmental politics.
  • Long hours of work

Famous Personalities

George Soros

A Hungarian-born American business magnate, George Soros can be best described as a top class business analyst and an investor.The chairman of Soros Fund Management, he has a keen understanding of businesses and the financial markets. He made major headlines by short selling US$10 billion worth of pounds, which made him $1 billion richer during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.

Susan Decker

An American businesswoman, Susan Decker is best known as the president of Yahoo! Inc during 2007 and 2008. She has an MBA degree from Harvard Business School and has been listed as a top-rated analyst for ten consecutive years by the Institutional Investor magazine. Decker has been on the boards of directors of several multinational organizations including Berkshire Hathaway, Intel Corporation, Costco and Pixar Animation Studios.

Fares D. Noujaim

Fares Noujaim is a Lebanese-American and an investment banker who started his career with Goldman Sachs. His deep understanding of business analytics has led him to hold several prestigious positions in some of the world’s largest banks and financial institutions. He has also served as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc.

Timeline

1800 - 1900 The concept of business management develops as a scientific discipline.

1920 - 1940 Henry Ford introduces ‘Just in Time’, a process of ordering stock only as required, reducing the storage costs for manufacturers. Gulick and Ur wick propose new strategies for departmentalising, there by streamlining process flows.

1940 - 1960 The first business computer is used for processing payroll. Software development is conceptualized as an engineering discipline.

1970 - 1980 Information economies emerge as a concept where useful information is created from raw data. Data Warehouses and Management Information Systems (MIS) give rise to Information Management (IM).

1980 - 1990 Motorola pioneers Six Sigma. The British government persuades ISO to adopt BS 5750 standards as an International Standard. The term Business Intelligence (BI – a process of capturing, interpreting and using information to make business decisions) becomes popular.

1990 - 2000 Emergence of the concept of Business Process Re-engineering

2000 Evolution of Business Process Management systems


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