Top 10 Business Analyst Skills to Learn in 2024

Top 10 Business Analyst Skills to Learn in 2024

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Jaya
Jaya Sharma
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Sep 28, 2023 11:50 IST

Business analysts are professionals who analyze the market environment, business processes and systems. These professionals use their skills to improve the product and services through data analysis

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In this article, we will be learning how to become a business analyst. Along with that, we will be exploring top business analyst skills that are a must for this career profile.

Table of Contents

What is Business Analyst?

A Business Analyst is a professional who plays a critical role in fulfilling the operational needs and the solutions provided within an organization. They start by deeply understanding the business objectives through extensive communication with stakeholders. This understanding is pivotal for analyzing the organization’s business processes, systems, and structures. 

These professionals are responsible for gathering detailed business requirements and ensuring that these are accurately translated into functional specifications. They use various tools and techniques to analyze data, and study patterns, and trends, which helps in understanding the implications of particular actions.

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What does a Business Analyst do?

A Business Analyst plays a multifaceted role, ensuring that the business objectives are met effectively from the beginning to the completion of a project. A Business Analyst is a professional who:

  • Improve efficiency and effectiveness by streamlining processes and systems, business analysts can help the organization to save time and money.
  • Reduce risk by identifying and mitigating risks, business analysts can help the organization avoid problems down the road.
  • Improve customer satisfaction by developing solutions that meet the needs of customers, business analysts can help the organization to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Increase revenue and profits by helping the organization to achieve its goals, business analysts can help to increase revenue and profits.

How to Become a Business Analyst: Skills Required

While learning about how to become a business analyst, one must know about the following skills:

1. Data Analysis

Data analysis is pivotal for Business Analysts in driving data-driven decision-making, offering insights into business operations, and identifying areas for improvement. It enables Business Analysts to:

  • Analyze diverse datasets to extract meaningful insights.
  • Understand trends, patterns, and anomalies in business operations.
  • Make informed recommendations for business enhancement.

Scenario: Analyzing User Behavior for a Mobile Application

A Business Analyst (BA) at a mobile application company is confronted with declining user engagement. The BA leverages its data analysis skills to scrutinize user behaviour data within the application. By employing various data analysis tools and techniques, they dissect the data to uncover patterns and insights related to user engagement. The analysis reveals specific features within the app that are underutilized. This insight allows the team to make data-driven decisions to enhance these features, leading to improved user engagement and satisfaction.

Steps Involved:

A business analyst is expected to follow the below-mentioned steps in this particular scenario:

Goal Setting

  • Objective: Uncover patterns and insights related to user engagement within the mobile application.
  • Expected Outcome: Identification of underutilized features and enhancement for improved user engagement.

Action – Data Collection

  • Task: Collect and analyze user behaviour data.
  • Sources: Application usage data, user feedback, and analytics reports.

Method

Employing statistical and machine learning techniques to analyze user behaviour data and uncover patterns and insights.

Tools Utilized

  • Python: Using libraries like Pandas for data analysis.
  • Tableau: For visualizing user behaviour data and insights.

Outcome

  • Insights: Identification of specific underutilized features within the app.
  • Implementation: Enhancement of identified features for improved user engagement and satisfaction.

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2. Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is essential for Business Analysts as it empowers them to convert data into actionable insights to make informed decision-making and strategic planning. It enables Business Analysts to:

  • Transform raw data into meaningful information.
  • Visualize and analyze data to understand business performance.
  • Provide data-driven recommendations for business growth and efficiency.

Scenario: Enhancing Sales Strategy for a Retail Business

 A Business Analyst at a retail company is tasked with enhancing the company’s sales strategy. They use Business Intelligence (BI) tools to gather and analyze data from various sources, including sales data, customer feedback, and market trends. The BI tools allow the BA to visualize the data, making it easier to interpret and share with the team. The insights gained from the BI analysis enable the BA to identify the most profitable products, peak sales periods, and effective marketing strategies. This comprehensive understanding guides the team in optimizing the sales strategy, leading to increased revenue and customer satisfaction.

Steps Involved:

A business analyst is expected to follow the below-mentioned steps in this particular scenario:

Goal Setting

  • Objective: Utilize Business Intelligence tools to optimize the company’s sales strategy.
  • Expected Outcome: Increased revenue and customer satisfaction through an optimized sales strategy.

Action – Data Collection

  • Task: Gather and analyze sales data, customer feedback, and market trends.
  • Sources: Sales records, customer feedback surveys, and market research reports.

Method

Utilizing BI tools to analyze, visualize, and interpret diverse data sets to enhance decision-making and strategy planning.

Tools Utilized

Outcome

  • Insights: Identification of the most profitable products, peak sales periods, and effective marketing strategies.
  • Implementation: Implementation of an optimized sales strategy based on the insights gained.

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3. Requirements Management Software

RMS are crucial tools for Business Analysts to ensure project success. These types of software help Business Analysts:

  • Efficiently gather, document, and manage project requirements from various stakeholders.
  • Ensure all project requirements are clearly understood, accessible, and organized.
  • Facilitate smooth communication and collaboration among project team members and stakeholders.

Scenario: Upgrading an E-commerce Platform

A Business Analyst (BA) at a thriving e-commerce company is tasked with overseeing the upgrade of the company’s e-commerce platform. The upgrade involves multiple teams and complex functionality, including integrating a new payment gateway and enhancing the user interface. The BA uses Requirements Management Software to meticulously document, track, and manage all the requirements from various stakeholders, ensuring that every detail is accounted for and communicated to the relevant teams. This organized approach helps in the seamless execution of the upgrade, ensuring that all requirements are met, leading to the successful implementation of the new features without overlooking any stakeholder’s needs.

Steps Involved:

A business analyst is expected to follow the below-mentioned steps in this particular scenario:

Goal Setting

  • Objective: Ensure all stakeholder requirements for the e-commerce platform upgrade are captured and met.
  • Expected Outcome: Seamless upgrade with all stakeholder needs addressed.

Action – Data Collection

  • Task: Gather all requirements from various stakeholders.
  • Sources: Meetings, interviews, and surveys with stakeholders.

Method

Systematically gathering, documenting, and managing stakeholder requirements using specialized software to ensure all needs are met for the e-commerce platform upgrade.

Tools Utilized

  • Jira: For tracking and managing requirements.
  • Confluence: For documenting detailed requirements and sharing with relevant teams.

Outcome

  • Insights: Clear understanding of all stakeholder requirements.
  • Implementation: Successful and organized execution of the platform upgrade.

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4. Process Modelling 

One of the essential skills for Business Analysts is process modelling that is used to optimize and improve business processes. It helps Business Analysts:

  • Visually represent and analyze business processes for better understanding and communication.
  • Identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and areas for process improvement.
  • Facilitate the implementation of optimized and efficient business processes.

Scenario: Improving the Supply Chain Process of a Manufacturing Company

A Business Analyst at a manufacturing firm is facing challenges with the company’s supply chain process, leading to delays in production and delivery. The BA employs Process Modelling tools to map out the entire supply chain process, identifying bottlenecks and areas for improvement. By visually representing the processes, the BA and the team can easily identify and implement enhancements, leading to a more efficient and streamlined supply chain, and improving production and delivery times.

Steps Involved:

A business analyst is expected to follow the below-mentioned steps in this particular scenario:

Goal Setting

  • Objective: Identify and eliminate bottlenecks in the supply chain process.
  • Expected Outcome: Enhanced supply chain efficiency and reduced production and delivery times.

Action – Data Collection

  • Task: Map out the entire supply chain process.
  • Sources: Interviews with supply chain personnel, observation, and process documentation.

Method

Using process modelling tools to visually represent the supply chain, enabling the identification and elimination of bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

Tools Utilized

  • Bizagi: For creating a visual model of the supply chain process.
  • Microsoft Visio: For detailed process mapping and analysis.
  • IBM Blueworks Live: For business process discovery, documentation, and management.

Outcome – Clear Process Understanding

  • Insights: Visual insight into the onboarding process. 
  • Implementation: Use process models for continuous process improvement.

5. SQL

SQL is indispensable for Business Analysts for effective data management and analysis. It enables Business Analysts to:

  • Query databases to extract, analyze, and manage relevant data.
  • Understand data patterns, trends, and insights for informed decision-making.
  • Facilitate data-driven strategies and solutions for business challenges.

Scenario: Analyzing Customer Data for Personalized Marketing

A BA at a retail company is tasked with helping the marketing team create a personalized marketing campaign. The BA uses SQL to query the company’s extensive customer database, extracting detailed information about customer preferences, purchase history, and behaviour. This in-depth analysis allows the marketing team to craft a highly targeted and personalized marketing campaign, leading to increased customer engagement and sales.

Steps Involved:

A business analyst is expected to follow the below-mentioned steps in this particular scenario:

Goal Setting

  • Objective: Utilize SQL for efficient data management and retrieval for analysis. 
  • Expected Outcome: Effective and efficient handling and analysis of user data.

Action – Utilizing SQL

  • Task: Write SQL queries to manage and retrieve specific user data. 
  • Sources: Databases containing user data and onboarding information. 
  • Types of Data: User activity data, feedback, and onboarding progress data.

Method – Employing SQL Queries

  • Data Retrieval: Use SQL to retrieve specific data for analysis.
  • Data Management: Manage user data efficiently using SQL.

Tools Utilized

  • MySQL: For database management and SQL queries.
  • Oracle Database: For enterprise database solutions, transaction processing, and mixed database workloads.
  • MongoDB: For Big data solutions, content management, mobile and social infrastructure.

Outcome – Efficient Data Management

  • Insights: Efficiently manage and retrieve user data for analysis. 
  • Implementation: Use SQL for all data-related tasks and analysis.

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6. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) 

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is vital for Business Analysts to ensure the developed solutions meet user expectations and requirements. It helps Business Analysts:

  • Coordinate and manage UAT processes to gather end-user feedback.
  • Ensure the solution meets user needs and expectations before deployment.
  • Facilitate the successful implementation of solutions, ensuring user satisfaction.

Scenario: Launching a New Mobile Banking Application

A BA at a financial institution is part of a project to launch a new mobile banking application. Before the launch, the BA coordinates a comprehensive UAT process. They select a diverse group of users to test the application, ensuring it is user-friendly, functional, and free of bugs. Feedback from the UAT is used to make necessary adjustments, ensuring the application’s successful launch and high user satisfaction.

Steps Involved:

A business analyst is expected to follow the below-mentioned steps in this particular scenario:

Goal Setting

  • Objective: Ensure the new mobile banking app meets user expectations and is free of critical bugs.
  • Expected Outcome: Smooth and successful app launch with high user satisfaction.

Action – Data Collection

  • Task: Collect user feedback during the UAT process.
  • Sources: A selected group of diverse users.

Method

Organizing and overseeing a structured UAT process to ensure the mobile banking app meets user expectations and standards.

Tools Utilized

  • Jira: For tracking user feedback and identifying issues.
  • TestRail: For organizing and managing the UAT process.

Outcome

  • Insights: Understanding of user feedback and necessary adjustments.
  • Implementation: Final adjustments and successful app launch.

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7. Agile Methodology

Business Analysts use Agile methodology to enhance the flexibility and efficiency of project development. Agile empowers Business Analysts to:

  • Facilitate iterative development, ensuring the project adapts to changes and feedback effectively.
  • Enhance collaboration among cross-functional teams for holistic project development.
  • Ensure the timely delivery of high-quality project outcomes that meet customer expectations and goals.

Scenario: Developing a New Feature for a Software Product

A BA in a software development company is overseeing the development of a new feature for a software product. The BA employs an Agile Methodology, ensuring regular feedback, iterative development, and adaptability to changes. This approach allows the team to quickly respond to any issues or changes in requirements, ensuring the timely and successful development of the new feature.

Steps Involved:

A business analyst is expected to follow the below-mentioned steps in this particular scenario:

Goal Setting

  • Objective: Oversee the agile development of a new software feature.
  • Expected Outcome: Timely and successful release of the new feature.

Action – Data Collection

  • Task: Continuous feedback collection during the development process.
  • Sources: Development team, stakeholders, and end-users.

Method

Implementing Agile principles for continuous feedback, iterative development, and quick adaptation to changes in the software development process.

Tools Utilized

  • Trello: For project management and task tracking in Agile development.
  • Slack: For continuous communication and feedback sharing.

Outcome

  • Insights: Real-time insights into the development process and potential improvements.
  • Implementation: Successful development and release of the new feature.

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8. Project Management

It is a fundamental skill for Business Analysts, ensuring the seamless planning, execution, and completion of projects. Project management enables Business Analysts to:

  • Effectively plan, organize, and oversee projects to ensure they are completed on time, within scope, and within budget.
  • Coordinate teams, allocate resources, and manage risks to achieve project objectives.
  • Ensure clear communication and collaboration among project stakeholders, ensuring alignment with project goals and expectations.

Scenario: Expanding Business to New Markets

A BA in a retail company is managing a project to expand the business to new international markets. The BA uses project management principles to plan, execute, monitor, and close the project, ensuring that the expansion is smooth, timely, and within budget. Successful project management leads to the effective establishment of the business in new markets, contributing to the company’s global growth.

Steps Involved:

A business analyst is expected to follow the below-mentioned steps in this particular scenario:

Goal Setting

  • Objective: Successfully manage the project of business expansion to new markets.
  • Expected Outcome: Effective establishment in new markets within time and budget.

Action – Data Collection

  • Task: Gather information on new markets and project requirements.
  • Sources: Market research, stakeholder interviews, and surveys.

Method

Applying project management principles to ensure timely and within-budget expansion to new markets, with clear tracking and coordination of all project aspects.

Tools Utilized

  • Microsoft Project: For detailed project planning and tracking.
  • Asana: For task management and team collaboration.

Outcome

  • Insights: Clear understanding of the project status and potential challenges.
  • Implementation: Successful business expansion to new markets.

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9. Communication

Communication is a crucial skill for Business Analysts, ensuring the effective exchange of information, ideas, and feedback among all project stakeholders. It enables Business Analysts to:

  • Clearly articulate project goals, expectations, and requirements to all team members and stakeholders.
  • Facilitate open and transparent dialogue, ensuring that all parties are informed, aligned, and able to provide feedback.
  • Resolve issues and conflicts by promoting understanding and collaboration among team members and stakeholders.

Scenario: Coordinating a Cross-Functional Project

A business analyst at a healthcare company is coordinating a cross-functional project to implement a new patient management system. Effective communication is crucial for the success of the project. This business analyst establishes clear communication channels and schedules regular updates, ensuring all teams are aligned, informed, and working collaboratively towards the project goals. This approach enhances teamwork and leads to the successful implementation of the new system.

Steps Involved:

A business analyst is expected to follow the below-mentioned steps in this particular scenario:

Goal Setting

  • Objective: Ensure effective communication for the successful implementation of a new patient management system.
  • Expected Outcome: Enhanced collaboration and successful system implementation.

Action – Data Collection

  • Task: Establish and maintain communication channels.
  • Sources: All project teams and stakeholders.

Method

Establishing and maintaining clear, effective communication channels and strategies to ensure alignment and collaboration among all project teams.

Tools Utilized

  • Slack: For real-time communication and updates.
  • Google Meet: For virtual meetings and discussions.

Outcome

  • Insights: Continuous insights into team feedback and project status.
  • Implementation: Successful coordination and project completion.

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10. Negotiation

Negotiation is an essential skill for Business Analysts, ensuring the ability to reach agreements and consensus among stakeholders with diverse interests and expectations. It enables Business Analysts to:

  • Effectively navigate conflicts and disagreements among stakeholders, ensuring that all perspectives are considered, and a mutually beneficial solution is reached.
  • Secure the necessary resources, support, and approvals for the successful execution of projects.
  • Balance competing demands and constraints to achieve project objectives while ensuring stakeholder satisfaction.

Scenario: Procuring a New Customer Service Software

A BA at a telecommunications company is tasked with procuring a new customer service software solution. The budget is tight, and the requirements are specific. The BA uses its negotiation skills to engage with vendors, discuss the requirements, and negotiate terms, prices, and services to align with the company’s needs and budget. The successful negotiation ensures the acquisition of a suitable software solution within budget, enhancing the company’s customer service capabilities.

Steps Involved:

A business analyst is expected to follow the below-mentioned steps in this particular scenario: 

Goal Setting

  • Objective: Successfully negotiate and procure a suitable customer service software within budget.
  • Expected Outcome: Acquisition of a suitable software solution enhancing customer service capabilities.

Action – Data Collection

  • Task: Gather software requirements and budget constraints.
  • Sources: Stakeholder interviews and budget analysis.

Method

Engaging in strategic negotiations with vendors to secure the most favourable terms for the procurement of new customer service software.

Tools Utilized

  • Email: For sending formal requirements and communication with vendors.
  • Excel: For budget tracking and analysis.

Outcome

  • Insights: Understanding of vendor offerings, pricing, and terms.
  • Implementation: Successful procurement of the new customer service software.

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Business Analyst Career Progression

One of the main queries that comes to mind while learning how to become a business analyst, is the salary. In India, a business analyst’s salary ranges between ₹ 2.7 Lakhs to ₹ 15.1 Lakhs with ₹ 9.5 Lakhs as the average annual salary. These professionals have to continuously enhance their skills and knowledge by obtaining relevant certifications (such as CBAP and PMI-PBA), attending workshops, and staying updated with industry trends. Below is an expected career progression of a Business Analyst:

Career Stage Experience Title Key Responsibilities
Entry-Level 0-2 years Junior Business Analyst or Business Analyst Gathering and documenting business requirements
Analyzing data
Ensuring clear communication between stakeholders
Mid-Level 2-5 years Business Analyst or Senior Business Analyst Taking a more active role in problem-solving
Process improvement 
Project management 
May lead small projects and mentor junior analysts
Senior-Level  5-10 years Lead Business Analyst or Business Consultant Overseeing large projects
Leading teams of analysts
Making strategic recommendations to enhance business operations
Specialized 7+ years Business Architect, Data Analyst, Business Intelligence Analyst Focusing on specialized areas such as data analysis, business intelligence, or business architecture
Managerial Position 10+ years Director of Business Analysis, Chief Business Analyst Overseeing the business analysis department
Setting strategies and goals
Ensuring alignment with organizational objectives

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FAQs

What are the important skills for a business analyst?

A business analyst should have an analytical approach to problems. There are the following skills that a business analyst should have: Being detail-oriented and high level of accuracy Knowledge of the business structure Documentation and report writing Business process management

List the tools that are used by Business Analysts.

It is advisable for business analysts to have knowledge of the following tools: Google Docs MS Office Suite ERP systems Database knowledge SQL

Are technical skills mandatory for business analysts?

No, technical skills are not mandatory for business analysts. Although, it is advisable to gain technical skills for a better grasp of processes.

What do you mean by INVEST?

INVEST is a term used by business analysts for delivering services and products. It is an abbreviation for Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Sized Appropriately and Testable.

What are the different techniques used by Business analysts?

MoSCoW, SWOT, MOST and PESTLE are the different techniques used by business analysts.

Q6. Explain MoSCoW in detail.

MoSCoW is an abbreviation for Must of Should, Could or Would. A business analyst should compare demands with other requirements before implementing the process. This comparison should be done for the implementation of processes.

Q7. What is SWOT?

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis. This is a popular technique used for proper resource allocation.

How can business analysts keep themselves updated?

Business analysts can enrol into certifications for enhancing their skills. They can also refer to news and industry publications. Events and conferences are also helpful in maintaining networks within the industry.

What is a BRD?

Ans. BRD is a Business Requirement Document (BRD) is created by business analysts. It is a functional specification of the software. A BRD is created post direct interaction with clients. SRS is derived from BRD.

What are the documents that are required by business analysts?

A business analyst requires a number of documents including: Initiation documentu00a0 Functional requirement document System Requirements Specifications document Business requirement document Change Request Document Requirements Traceability Matrix Use case Specifications document Gap Analysis Document

What are the different diagrams used by business analysts?

There are three diagram models used by business analysts. These are: Activity diagram: the diagram used for illustrating diverse activities and their flows across different diagrams. Use case diagram: this diagram model the system functionality by using a set of actions, services and functions required for the system to perform. Flowcharts: these models are the diagrammatic depiction of the complete system flow.

About the Author
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Jaya Sharma
Senior Executive Content

Jaya is a writer with an experience of over 5 years in content creation and marketing. Her writing style is versatile since she likes to write as per the requirement of the domain. She has worked on Technology, Fina... Read Full Bio

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