A business analyst is someone who studies an organization or firm domain, documents its business models or systems, analyzing the organization’s organizational structure or its relationship with technology, and then documents its overall business performance or effectiveness. Generally, a business analyst would perform these tasks using computer-based techniques, although some analysts work more hands-on using certain technologies.
In addition to being a detailed teacher of business theory and systems, an analyst has to be skilled in implementing that concept into real business situations, sometimes using sophisticated software. In this capacity, a business analyst works in cooperation with managers, making their analysis and recommendations useful to the management. In business analysis, an analyst would make use of several means to document and facilitate business performance.
A business analyst job description would entail working closely with managers to obtain adequate data for analysis. For instance, a manager may require data on sales figures for one quarter, year, or both previous and current; the manager may also want information on the trends in product spending and consumer sentiment; and he or she may want to know about changes in company marketing strategies. By gathering sufficient and relevant data, the business analyst can evaluate the performance of the company in terms of its revenues and profits, as well as its shortcomings in various areas such as management, product, and service design. The information gathered from the analysis, coupled with the knowledge of how computers and the Internet can help organize and manage this information, led to the birth of business analysis, which now forms the basis for almost all business-related research and data-driven decision making.
Although it used to be that business analysts were primarily teachers of business theory and required detailed skills in using computers and the Internet, business analysis is more of an applied art than an exact science. As such many business analysts nowadays are using data analytics to make business decisions without having to be involved in the process personally. This allows business analysts to free up their time so they can devote it to managing their company more effectively.