9 Key Skills Every Business Analyst Needs In Order to Excel

Doctors, engineers, data scientists and other such professions demand a lot of focus, will-power, learning ability, anticipation and other similar mental faculties. These kinds of jobs might drain an ordinary person and that’s why you won’t find an average Joe doing any of these jobs.

The job of a business analyst falls in the same category as above and hence can be taxing and demanding. This entails not just knowing the core of the job but also being armed with various soft skills such as effective communication, empathy, being able to correctly judge situations and others.

Business analyst skills are a combination of hard skills and soft skills from an abstract point of view. This is to focus upon the fact that these skills are more related to one’s emotional intelligence more so than his/her raw intelligence (which too is, of course, a factor in deciding his/her professional success).

Unlike purely technical skills, the skills for business analysts are not just acquired through some sort of training, but rather through experience combined with an inherent ability to read people and understand situations. And the career scope of business analytics is so wide and glooming.

The Ideal Business Analyst: A Cursory Look

Since the term ‘business analyst’ is self-descriptive, we would assume that most of the readers would have understood the meaning of the term. So, to clear any further obscurity about the term, we are going to have a brief look at the role of a business analyst.

The role of a business analyst is to analyze a business/organization and then document its various operations and processes, to assess the business model and how it integrates with technology. The job of a business analyst is to guide a business to improve its operations and processes, products, services as well as software through data analysis. That’s one of the reasons MBA in business analytics is in high demand now. 

The technical skills for a business analyst are also known to be a bridge between a company’s business problems and technological solutions for a business. The term ‘business problems’ can mean anything about business systems which may include models, processes and methods. 

Technological solutions can be making use of technological architecture, software applications and tools. This finally entails using technological entities to solve business problems.

Top 7 Business Analyst Skills that are High in Demand!

Let’s come to the point and take a look at the top 7 business analyst skills that are in demand.

1. Competent Verbal Communication

Communication as a skill is needed in any high-functioning job profile. However, since the job of an analyst is to analyze data, the results have to be communicated to the people in higher authority. Out of all skills for business analysts, communication holds the biggest ground. 

One should be capable of making the agenda known with extreme clarity. Also, being able to ask insightful questions is required so that the right kind of information is achieved from stakeholders. For example, if your stakeholder does not work in a technical profile, you need to ask the questions in simple and plain language.

2. Good Listening Skills

Listening skills are one of the key cornerstones of becoming a good business analyst. A good business analyst listens to and absorbs information. This helps the analyst to analyze the information thoroughly so that they can specify the requirements. 

Also, it’s important that the listener not only understands what is being said but also the context behind it, such as the objective, the main motivation and the circumstances for which it is being said. The business analyst should ideally observe the voice, the tone and the body language of the speaker to understand the message clearly.

3. Ability to Understand Delegated Objectives

Interpretation is an extension of the above skill. The requirements communicated by the management or technical staff are to be understood both holistically and individually. Sometimes, the communicated information contains a lot of gaps, which the analyst has to understand and fill up. In case there is any problem with understanding the objectives, one should not hesitate and ask again.

4. Being able to Run Meetings with Stakeholders

Using email to communicate effectively and professionally with a client has been a standard protocol until now. However, at times, it is not the most effective way. Therefore, discussing issues with the client face to face can work wonders and even help in solving issues pretty quickly.

In fact, many times executives will know better about a project or an issue due to a simple reason that people are more open in their interactions with the other party. However, if an audit trail is a necessity, the business analyst can always set up a meeting with the client through a written confirmation.

5. Knowing the Objectives Well

Understanding one’s objectives is one of the most crucial business analyst skills. At times, the higher and middle management may communicate what has to be done clearly. However, most of the time, they will only give an outline of the requirements that they need to have. This will give you only a faint idea of the requirements. It’s up to the analyst to convert this silhouette of ideas to a solid understanding of what is really needed.

For example, if they talk about having software that will streamline all business processes and optimize their work, the business analyst should know that they are talking about an Enterprise Resource Management System. This is where the technical skills for business analysts come in handy.

6. Being Diligent with Time Management

This is a very crucial one of all the skills for business analysts. Time management is important since the work schedule of a business analyst is filled with tasks and they have to ensure that their commitment to each one of them has to be fulfilled. Understanding the priorities and then scheduling the day to day tasks as required is the most fundamental step in time management for business analysts. 

Multi-tasking is a major sub-skill under time management as it helps to get multiple jobs done at the same time, thus saving further time for other work commitments. However, it’s not just work commitments that matter, but also being able to balance the work-personal life equation.

7. Documenting and Writing Reports

This is a good example of technical skills for business analysts. It involves writing reports, plans, documentation and various types of analysis details. The responsibility of a business analyst will require one to write on a wide array of topics.

One of the main keys to writing reports effectively is to understand the instances where the language has to be technical and where it needs to be in plain easy English. In brief, this skill is a combination of writing skills and the ability to understand the communication parameters such as the target readers and the message you are trying to convey.

Conclusion

Business analyst skills are a combination of hard skills and soft skills. If you want to be a successful business analyst, it will always help you to work on your people skills as well as bettering your technical capabilities.

Companies across both IT and e-commerce sectors pay excellent compensation to deserving candidates who can add value to their organization. Apart from the regular educational qualifications and work experience, having advanced Business Analysis certifications also helps in bagging jobs that offer high-level salaries.

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