Top 10 Essential Business Analysis Skills
- 19th April 2016
- Posted by: Juan van Niekerk
- Category: Business
If you are considering taking on a business analysis career, you may wonder what the skills are that you will need to be successful. Since every business’ needs are different and the business environment is an ever changing one, the skills that you will use will not always be the same as the previous time you performed an analysis.
Being adaptable is utterly essential in every business-related role, as target markets, marketing strategies, customer demand and financial viability are constantly changing. Thus, having a wide array of adaptable, up to date skills is essential if you aspire to being a successful Business Analyst.
After gaining your business analysis certification, you will be ready to take on the role as Business Analyst, but not all skills can be learned through study. Certain skills that do not only pertain to business analysis need to be honed over time as they involve working with clients and stakeholders. Below, we will look more closely at some of the skills necessary to be successful in business analysis.
1. Analytical thinking
Business Analysts use a variety of techniques when conducting analysis, most of which will have been learned while undergoing training or while gaining their business analysis certification. There is, however, a lot to be said about a natural ability to identify gaps or mistakes that even analytical tools may miss.
Having the ability to recognise the impact that may be felt in future by suggested solutions can have a great impact on your career. Business analysis is after all meant to provide long term business solutions, and not just a quick fix. This will also help you to identify positive options when deciding on a route to take towards a justified solution.
2. Objective thinking
Be goal oriented. You need to have a clear view of the end result that your recommended fixes will have on the business after business analysis has been concluded. Be certain that the objectives that you have in mind will be met and that they truly are necessary.
During analysis, be sure to keep the needs of the business constantly in mind. This is the result that you are working towards and, if you do encounter obstacles, think positively to find a way around them.
3. Communication is key
In business analysis, communication takes many forms such as e-mailing, texting or telephone conversations. It is essential that you come across as professional and patient. A client or stakeholder may have a hard time articulating what they are trying to bring across and it is important to listen tentatively. Technical jargon can also be an issue, as your client’s expertise almost certainly lie elsewhere. If necessary, use plain language to ensure you are being understood.
The opposite may also be true. If you are unsure about any aspect, ask. It is far better to take some time to make sure that you understand what is meant rather than taking a chance and making mistakes that will cost not only you, but the business too.
4. Presentation Skills
Presentations are a great way for stakeholders, business owners and Business Analysts to ensure that they are on the same page. Be sure to only include information that is specific to the theme of the presentation. If you have been asked to present on the requirements to meet business needs, for example, it would only be a waste of time to include information on well-running systems.
5. Time Management
Time management is imperative to successful business analysis. There will be a pre-agreed time frame in which your work will need to be completed and, since time lost in business means lost revenue, you will need to ensure it is done timeously.
Prioritise your activities to ensure that you are not left with important tasks and not enough time to complete them. This does not only apply to you, but to those that need to supply information to you. Make sure that they know when you will need the information by or you will run the risk of falling behind schedule.
6. Management of stakeholders
Stakeholders will need to be informed of the decisions and recommendations you make as it is, after all, their asset that you are working on. There may be those that are critical of your methods. Schedule meetings to discuss any reservations or suggestions they may have and ensure that they are constantly being kept informed of your progress. A stakeholder will not sit idly by and wait for information.
7. Modelling skills
Giving a visual element to information can make a massive difference in how well it is understood. It is easy to rely on text to get a point across, but this can be boring and cumbersome. Using process modelling can give a clearer idea of the direction that you wish to follow and is far more engaging. It will not only make it easier to point out solutions, but will simplify the process that you are following.
8. Be self-managing
This ties together with time management. Your schedule is our own to keep and relying on others to get your work done is never a good idea as you will be held accountable, whether positively or negatively.
Be proactive in your work, delegate tasks as necessary and manage minor issues as they occur. This will speak volumes towards your reliability to get work done efficiently while being aware that those around you also have schedules to keep.
9. Technical skills
One of the most common outcomes of business analysis shows that the business’ needs and it’s IT resources are not aligned. It would be virtually impossible to realise this if your technical skills are lacking.
There are very few businesses that don’t rely heavily on their IT infrastructure and having a firm knowledge of the required technology can help identify not only problem areas, but areas where they may offer solutions.
10. Industry expertise
Business analysis is performed on a daily basis in every sector of industry imaginable. It will not be possible to conduct business analysis if you have little or no knowledge of the industry that you are meant to be analysing. There will be times when you will have to do some research before attempting business analysis, but there will also be those times when your knowledge and skills align perfectly with the needs of your client.
A business analysis career can be one filled with reward and can be very satisfying. A lack of skills will prove to be very frustrating for both the Business Analyst and their client, but keeping those skills sharp and up to date will ensure that you don’t lose your focus or your passion for business analysis.
Speak to our experts about developing your business analysis skills.