Data analysis and business analysis may be useful for business owners for various reasons, and it may be relevant at different stages of company development.

Let’s imagine that you have an online store and you notice that sales of a certain product have dropped in the last few months. You decide to contact a business analyst to understand the reasons for this decline and develop a strategy to improve the situation.

A business analyst begins by collecting data. He can examine product sales over a certain period, price competitiveness data, customer feedback, and other factors that could influence demand. Next, the BA specialist will formulate hypotheses and prototype solutions, and based on them, develop comprehensive recommendations for optimizing business processes. Often, business analysts are also responsible for working with documentation and reporting, developing instructions and regulations and their timely implementation.

Business analysis is a set of techniques and techniques that are needed to study a business, search for existing and potential problems, as well as opportunities for growth.

Previously, business analysis was not identified as a separate area; there was no understanding of why business should allocate budget and time for this service. The developers performed the tasks of an analyst – identifying requirements and writing documentation. They also tested their own products, wrote user instructions and did many other things that individual professions do today. However, everything has changed.

What role does a business analyst play in a company?

A business analyst acts as a bridge between creativity and strategy, data and decision making.

Essentially, a business analyst has an umbrella role that often requires an understanding of both business processes and technical aspects to ensure effective collaboration between business and technology.

The days when leaders made decisions based on intuition are gone. Today, entrepreneurs and business leaders measure the impact of every move based on data. Business analysts are key figures in providing this data and helping companies navigate a world of innovation and change.

Without a business analyst, a company can get lost in a sea of numbers and solve issues “by touch.” A knowledgeable professional can help a company understand what works and what doesn’t, and make decisions based on facts rather than guesswork.

Types of business analysts

If you take a look at the modern labor market, you may get the impression that most companies are looking for a versatile professional who will combine the responsibilities of a systems and business analyst. The data analyst stands out a bit, the job descriptions for which include the work tasks of a data scientist and a BI specialist.

The International Institute of Business Analysis identifies many skills and positions in the field of business analysis. They can be found here.

What does a business analyst do in a company and how can it help?

In addition to data analysis, a business analyst is engaged in systematizing the company’s internal processes, identifying project risks and predicting results. Helps to prioritize tasks, assess the potential profitability of activities, and select the most effective approaches to their implementation.

At the project completion stage, the analyst conducts a review with stakeholders, checking the compliance of the developed solutions and products with the assigned tasks and goals. He participates in the process of product development and testing that ensures its correct functioning.

Implementing business analysis may be a key step in successful projects completion. For sustainable business development, it is crucial to identify defects in business processes at early stages, understand market trends, customer needs and the competitive environment, which will facilitate the development of effective development strategies. Also, this will allow your business to remain competitive and quickly respond to changes in the industry.

How is business analysis useful for small and large businesses?

A business analyst helps in identifying growth points, bottlenecks and resource allocation efficiency. This allows small businesses to get the most out of every invested ruble, building sustainable foundations for future development.

In large companies, business analysts become navigators, helping to orientate business in huge amounts of data. They provide company leaders with the tools to develop strategies based on an analysis of the organization’s performance.

What tools does a business analyst use?

  • Data visualization tools (Draw.io, Mindmaps, Figma, Balsamiq (rarely, but they use such a tool), Miro, Visio);
  • Tools for SWOT data analysis (Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets);
  • Tools for processing big data (Hadoop, Spark);
  • Project management tools (Jira, Trello, Confluence).

Many tools are usually combined with each other,  this is just a short list of the most well-known services. As already mentioned, business analysis has many directions and each specialist uses his own tools, depending on his tasks and responsibilities in the company.

Why is it worth outsourcing business analysis?

Outsourcing or outstaffing of business analysis can be more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house team of analysts. This helps to reduce payroll costs, taxes and other personnel-related expenses.

Companies can easily scale the volume of work by adding or reducing the number of analysts depending on the current needs of the project.

Outsourcing is primarily necessary in conditions of time shortage – with its help you can quickly mobilize a team for a new project with the appropriate level of experience and skills, with no need for adaptation and training of a specialist at a new workplace.

Freeing up internal resources from performing analytical tasks allows the company to focus on its core activities and strategically important tasks.