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Business Analysis: A Critical Link for Successful Analytics Initiatives

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Advances in technology and digital have resulted in increased attention on the role of business data analytics. According to a Business Wire article released in March 2019, “A 2018 study by International Data Corp. (IDC) forecasts worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics will reach $260 billion in 2022...” Using business data analytics organizations no longer need to guess at their customer needs because, through focused data analysis, sufficient context is obtained to gain consumer insights. It is those insights that are used to inform business decision-making and to identify the business and customer needs for guiding organizational change.

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Business analysis and business data analytics – A powerful and essential partnership

Although business data analytics and business analysis have been used interchangeably, there are some important distinctions between these practices. Understanding where the role of the business analysis professional commences and where the collaboration with data scientists begins is a critical element for organizations and professionals to understand.

When you have an analytics project, the objective is to use the data to inform the business of trends, patterns, and what is happening, however, business analysis starts prior to doing the analytics. Business analysis professionals are working with your stakeholders to define what problem the business is trying to solve and working with the business to understand the context around it and the data available to help analyze the situation. So, while business analysis is the practice of enabling change by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders, business analytics is strictly focused on interpreting the large amounts of data that is available to today’s organization. Business analysis provides the business context for business data analytics.

The business analysis role doesn’t end as the data scientist’s work commences. We are helping to bridge the communication between the business and the technical team. We can help support the data scientists by understanding the types of data our organization has, its meaning, and where it is residing. We can work together to put a sourcing plan together with the data scientist. We usually see the handoff between a business analyst and a data scientist when it gets into building the mathematical models.

A business analysis professional will partner with the data scientist to mine the data, provide the necessary business context, and answer any questions the data scientist might have. Business analysis and business data analytics are a powerful partnership that when used together can help create better business outcomes and drive your organizations success.

Understanding if a career in business data analytics is right for you

With more and more organizations putting a focus on business data analytics, business analysis professionals could bridge their business skills and technical experience to support their organization in business data analytics.

Although the two disciplines are separate and unique, there are many parallels between the skills and competencies required in business analysis and those needed when performing the business data analytics activities.

IIBA has heard directly from the corporate community about the need to find business analysis professionals equipped to support business data analytics initiatives. If a business analysis professional has an aptitude and passion for math and science, data, running queries, and looking for patterns, business data analytics may be a great fit. While the role may not be for everyone, those professionals who possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and desire can branch out their career and capture exciting opportunities.

Creating a path of recognition, focus, and growth

Because of the increasing attention on business data analytics and the impact the practice can make, IIBA has been working to develop new tools and resources that will help equip business analysis professionals in further exploring and activating organization’s priorities related to business data analytics.

Individuals looking to gain additional recognition, experience, and career potential in business data analytics can pursue the new Certification in Business Data Analytics (IIBA®-CBDA). This certification recognizes professionals with 2 to 3 years of experience in business data analytics. For more information download the free paper Understanding the Guide to Business Data Analytics which provides an introduction to Business Data Analytics.

IIBA members can reference the complementary Guide to Business Data Analytics. This new guide provides a foundational understanding of business data analytics concepts, it acts as a reference for the practice of business data analytics and is a companion resource for the Certification in Business Data Analytics (IIBA® - CBDA). Not yet a member? Join thousands of Business Analysis Professionals worldwide and become a member today to gain instant access to the guide, or you can purchase it for only $49.95 USD.

IIBA has committed to help support business analysis professionals in aligning their skill set to help them seize the increased opportunities from a widening business analysis career path. If you have experience working in data analytics consider joining IIBA’s virtual Data Analytics Special Interest Group to connect with like-minded practitioners and help us advance the practice.


Explore the recent webinar Data Analytics, Decision Intelligence, or Both? BAs Hold the Key to Smarter, Faster Decision-Making and to learn more about business data analytics and supporting resources visit



About the Author

Jared loves being a Business Analyst and has done so in title for over 15 years with over 25 years of business leadership experience in both the retail and energy sectors. He is a strong advocate for IIBA, having served in various capacities with the Calgary IIBA Chapter as well as chairing the Volunteer Chapter Network. He brings his passion for business analysis and experience as a Chapter Leader to the role of Director of Chapter and Membership Engagement of IIBA.

He holds his Bachelor of Arts degree in French from the University of Calgary and the Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®) designation. He will take any chance possible to evangelize business analysis and will talk your ear off about the role and the profession should you allow him to do so.