Job description for business analysts
A Business Analyst’s (BA for short) role is to review, examine and evaluate various metrics related to a company’s various business activities. The areas of responsibilities are not restricted to one business vertical and can cover the entire gamut of corporate activities and functions. As one can imagine, this means that BAs have a rather wide area of responsibility and thus need to possess a wide variety of skills and qualifications, see article on skills and qualifications for Business Analysts to execute their roles properly. Here are some examples of what a BA’s Job Description might look like:
Monitoring special projects
This would include gathering all the required data, structuring it and then analysing it to ascertain if the project is progressing as per specifications and its allocated budget. Special projects are ad-hoc assignments and thus analysing them is not all that straightforward either. The initial effort might be towards defining measurable goals for the project, creating milestones and specific tasks within the overall scope of the project.
BAs might have to come up with special matrices and creative ways to judge the progress of such projects. At the end of the day, the goal of the entire exercise is to ensure that the project is a success and BAs are the ones who help management track the progress of such projects.
Analysing performance of routine business activities
This can be a broad mandate and involve inputs from dozens of departments and field offices. For example, a BA might be asked to prepare a detailed workflow chart of how tasks progress in a certain department. This requires understanding the functioning of that department and how various individual roles interact with each other in that department and follow a task from initiation to completion.
Another example may be the studying of operational objectives for a certain department and measuring their throughput. It might also involve identifying bottlenecks, designing modifications to remove those bottlenecks and making recommendations for workflow enhancements.
A business, at the end of the day, operates to meet the needs of the market. Companies spend billions on market research to understand what their consumers want so that they can fulfil those needs by designing and marketing products/ services. While market research agencies often do the fieldwork and gather the raw data, it often comes down to Business Analysts to make sense of such data received from other agencies or the company’s own sources.
BA’s must collect and analyse information regarding market trends and consumer preferences. Research data from various sources need to be processed to generate a comprehensive business strategy.
Financial and Operational Effectiveness. BA’s might spend a great deal of time working with financial numbers. This could mean tasks like budgeting and estimates for various departments, analysing weekly, monthly or quarterly performance results, tabulating such data and presenting it to management for review and so on.
In addition to financial metrics, operational data might require a similar treatment from BAs. For example, looking at the procurement figures, analysing throughput efficiency, tracking exceptions or error rates, etc.
A day in the life of a business analyst
The role of a business analyst is to gather information and then use that information to maximise the efficiency of a business. To achieve this goal, a BA will spend roughly a third of her day in meetings, calls, or writing emails to get all the information that she needs. This data is not always readily available especially for special projects and thus needs to be acquired skilfully.
The next part of the job is using that data to perform the analysis and making recommendations. Therefore, the BA may spend the rest of her day pouring over spreadsheets, communicating with people to understand any discrepancies or trends, polishing that data to make it presentable to senior management and so on.
Like many business roles, BA’s must spend most of their day communicating, analysing data, understanding trends, making presentations and tracking the progress of others. It is a role best suited for somewhat extrovert and analytical individuals who love to learn about the inner workings of all business verticals.
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