A Business Analyst is, at its most simple definition, a data-driven decision maker. They bridge the gap between IT and the rest of the business, making use of data analytics to assess processes, determine requirements and deliver data-driven recommendations and reports to executives and stakeholders. They make use of a wide range of data to inform business decisions, and ensure these decisions are as sound and reasonable as possible.
A Business Analyst would communicate with business leaders and users to understand how data-driven changes to processes, products, services, software and hardware can improve efficiency and add value. Ultimately the ideas and solutions they present must be understandable to the less technically inclined, and must be technologically, financially and functionally feasible. This function can extend to all manner of areas, including the improvement of products, hardware, tools, software, services or process.
It is a job that requires analytical and creative thinking, and the ability to understand statistics and data, and to communicate your insights to others effectively.
A Business Analyst engages with people within a business to understand the needs of the organisation as well as the separate departments within that organisation. They also engage with external stakeholders, such as clients, to analyse feedback into the company’s service, function or products.
Findings from your engagement with these stakeholders will be analysed using data modelling in order to put forward suggestions for strategic and operational improvements. Potential improvements must be considered in relation to opportunities and potential risks, carefully weighing the pros and cons of implementation.
You will also need to identify the processes and information technology required to introduce your recommendations, and produce written documentation to support your work, report on your findings and present to stakeholders in a way that is easily understood.
When it’s time to implement your suggested improvements, it is your responsibility to work with senior management to do so. You will need to communicate the benefits of your recommendations across departments and help to address any uncertainty and concern. In addition, you will need to support colleagues and teams in making your recommended changes, including helping to resolve any issues that may be encountered during testing and implementation.
Lastly, you will be required to create plans and processes that allow you to evaluate the impact of the changes made. You will take responsibility for oversight, and report on your evaluation to management.
Business Analysts operate in a corporate environment, and they are often required to wear many hats as their tasks, activities and responsibilities are always changing. From communicating with stakeholders on all levels, to analysing the nitty-gritty of big data, to drawing conclusions and presenting findings, to managing implementation, a Business Analyst needs strong leadership and communication skills, outside of their ability to understand technical fields. There is a high level of accountability that comes with the job, and you will need to be innovative in your thinking. A Business Analyst can earn between R26 000 and R75 000 a month.
- Business Management
- Product Management
- Marketing, Sales
- Financial Management
- Financial Analysis
- Pricing Analysis
- Quant Trading
- Risk Analysis
- Business Intelligence
To become a Business Analyst you can study any of the following degrees:
- Business information systems
- Computer science
- Information management
- Business computing systems
The skills and knowledge of the Business Analyst must span Mathematics, Technology and Finance.
You will need to cover advanced Mathematical understanding, Mathematical modelling and statistics and forecasting techniques.
In the field of technology, you will need to understand data warehousing, Java product development, SQL basics and cloud solutions.
In Finance, you will study business intelligence, business solutions, product management, risk management, financial market intelligence and business efficiency.
A Business Analyst needs a strong general knowledge and needs to stay up to date with financial and business trends. They need excellent communication skills, leadership skills and an ability to interpret and translate data into a format that makes sense to others.
- Nelson Mandela University
- North-West University
- Rhodes University
- University of Cape Town
- University of Johannesburg
- University of KwaZulu-Natal
- University of Pretoria
- University of Stellenbosch
- University of the Western Cape
- University of the Witwatersrand