Is a Career in Business Analytics for You?   

By Maureen McVey, CBAP, Head of Learning and Development, IIBA   
imageData, information, metrics, dashboards, business decisions—do these words pique your interest? Do you consider yourself creative and curious? Then perhaps working in Business Analytics is for you. 
The Career Road Map developed by International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) describes the business analysis profession in terms of “roles” or “specialties” that someone with foundational business analysis skills can aspire to. One of those roles is titled Decision Analyst. 
One aspect of business analytics is to help the business make informed decisions through the analysis of trends, and metrics, hence the term Decision Analyst. Business Intelligence Analyst, BI Reporting Analyst, Business Analytics Specialist and ERP/CRM specific data analyst titles are used widely in job search engines. Data Scientist and BI Architect are some of the senior titles for this role. The Decision Analyst career path can take you to Director, VP and even C level. This brief article will provide a list of skills and knowledge needed to move into a Business Analytics/Intelligence role. 
Knowledge of the business domain is very important for any business intelligence analyst. This includes an understanding of processes and business rules, transactional applications used in day-to-day operations. You must have strong facilitation skills asking the right questions to determine the metrics necessary to report on business results.  
Increasing your skills in data modeling, structured query language (SQL) and online data processing (OLAP) reporting cubes can help you in this role. You should also increase your knowledge of the use of structured and non-structured data (video, text messages). You will need to know how to elicit requirements for and the design of dashboards. In order to be effective, you must know about data warehousing and data visualization tools.
Moving to senior positions requires knowledge of mathematics, algorithms, the use of structured and unstructured data (video, text messages), and machine learning. Machine learning is the use of algorithms in the construction and study of systems that can learn from data. Predicative analytics utilizes statistics, data mining, and modeling to understand the patterns in the resulting information to identify risks and future opportunities.  
Someone practicing business analytics requires business acumen, creativity, problem solving and strong communication skills. If you have a keen interest in helping an organization to reach their goals and make evidence based decisions before making a change, a career in business analytics is right for you. If the thought of having to get a mathematics degree is a bit frightening, don’t worry—you don’t have to become a data scientist. Anyone with business analytics skills is an asset to any organization.