6 Tips on How to Succeed as a Business Analyst
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the perspectives of IIBA.
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As organizations continue to navigate the complexities of the post-pandemic business landscape, the role of a business analyst has become more dynamic than ever, serving as a bridge between departments and teams.
Business analysis consists of leveraging data analysis to identify requirements, make data-driven recommendations and, most importantly, drive change within an organization. Regardless of the type of organization, success as a business analyst requires a unique set of skills and competencies.
In this article, we'll explore some tips to help you excel in your role as a business analysis professional.
A business analysis professional must always have the bigger picture in mind. To achieve your goals, you’ll need a complete understanding of the business—whether you learn it through experience or a business administration program.
1. Understand the Business
The first step is to study its mission, values, and goals. Once you understand the business from within, you can then explore its customers and competitors to get a holistic view of the factors affecting it. A market analysis will help you better decipher the business and its offerings.
2. Develop Analytical SkillsOne of the most important skills for a business analysis professional is the ability to analyze data and information effectively. You should be able to identify data patterns and trends and use that information to make informed decisions.
Often touted as the new oil, data is extremely valuable to the digital economy. As a business analysis professional, you would benefit from having sound skills in mathematics and statistics along with experience working with data analysis tools such as Excel, SAS, or R.
A systems thinking approach involves looking beyond individual components of a project or process and considering the entire system and its interdependent parts.
3. Adopt a Systems Thinking Approach
Systems thinking requires an understanding of how each component affects the others and how the system as a whole impacts stakeholders and the broader business objectives. By adopting this approach, business analysis professionals can identify potential issues and opportunities and develop effective solutions.
For more insight into this approach, consult Peter Senge's book The Fifth Discipline and the work of W. Edwards Deming in the field of quality management.
Attention to detail in business analysis is critical to identify inconsistencies, errors, and discrepancies in data and information. It ensures the accuracy of assessments and the development of effective solutions that align with business objectives, and it helps maintain focus when working through complex problems.
4. Pay Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is one of the top qualities sought by employers in business analysis professionals. By being detail-oriented, you can develop software solutions that meet the specific needs of the business and its users.
Networking, attending conferences, and reading industry publications all provide valuable opportunities to learn about emerging practices and keep your skill set sharp.
5. Follow Industry Trends
According to IIBA’s 2022 Global State of Business Analysis Survey, organizations that offer internal training and development can reduce turnover and enhance their employee’s skills. This probably explains why 79% of the survey’s respondents said their employers support ongoing skills development to varying degrees.
Similarly, according to a Citrix study, 82% of employees and 62% of HR directors think workers will need to regularly hone current skills or acquire new ones to remain competitive in the global job market of the future.
Many professional development opportunities are available to business analysis professionals, including certification programs and training courses.
6. Seize Professional Development Opportunities
Taking advantage of these opportunities can help you develop new skills and stay current with industry best practices. Here are some options to explore:
- Business Analysis Certification
- Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
- Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA)
- Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
2. Agile Training and Certification
Agile methodologies have become increasingly popular in software development and other industries. Training and certification programs can help business analysis professionals better understand and apply these approaches.
3. Data Analysis and Visualization Training
As data becomes more central to business decision-making, business analysis professionals may benefit from training and certification in data analysis, visualization, and communication.
Other than skill-based courses, a business administration degree is a great option for professional development and offers many valuable programs.
Whichever industry they choose to practise in, a business analysis professional must be dynamic. That means staying on top of best practices and understanding data mining, as well as cultivating soft skills such as communication, flexibility, and adaptability.
You should always try to update your skills through professional development opportunities and certifications, whenever possible. Above all, the most important personal skill you will need to succeed as a business analyst is tenacity, as this will help you navigate changing environments.
Once you acquire it, the possibilities are endless.
IIBA offers a variety of industry-standard business analysis certifications. If you aren’t sure which certification to start with, you can’t go wrong with IIBA’s Entry Certificate in Business Analysis. You can also explore the full suite of professional certifications.
About the Author:
Janil Jean is a top management executive at LogoDesign.net and has been in the field of management, digital marketing, and branding for more than 10 years. She is a keen blogger and loves all things involving new technologies.