Professional business analysts have never been in demand as much as they are today. In a global economy, where belt tightening, international competition, and managers losing their minds are the new norm, businesses analysts are needed to put all a company’s ducks in order. Through critical thinking and problem-solving, businesses analysts will apply their craft to a company’s needs. You are their lifeboat!
Here are seven business analysis skills that every professional needs:
While many young graduates and professionals do not think this is an essential skill, employers are beginning to understand that communication is soft skill that is absent in the workplace. This means that it is quickly becoming one of the most in demand skills.
When we’re talking about communication, we’re not just encouraging better Facebook Messenger skills, fast text messaging, and stellar emojis. We are talking verbal communication:
Remember the old English proverb: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
Listening is just as important as speaking. In fact, this can fall under the communication umbrella. Unfortunately, like being a verbal person, listening is a lost art form. We may think we’re listening, but we are not, especially when we try to either insert ourselves into the main subject of conversation or shift the focus back onto us.
If your aim is to say “I” or “me” or “myself” at least five times in a conversation, then you’re not hearing a word anyone else is uttering.
- So, what are good listening skills to practice?
- Maintain eye contact.
- Pay attention.
- Listen to the words as if you were typing them into a computer.
- Never interrupt.
- Refrain from imposing your solutions.
- Wait for a pause to interject and clarify.
3. Time Management
Time management is integral to the success of any business analyst. Possessing this skill ensures that your work is completed on time, the project is not lagging, and every task is completed with the best proficiency.
Many contend that multi-tasking is the best way to manage your time, especially when you’re trying to juggle multiple things and staying on track. This is untrue. It is always better to prioritize your activities, tasks, and other items on your to-do list.
Oh, and the best way to prioritize? Everyone is different, but the hardest ones – the things that will imbibe most of your time – should be done first.
4. Critical Thinking
Business analysis is a solutions-based occupation. However, in order to come up with the best course of action, you need to assess the myriad of choices placed in front of you. This is where critical thinking comes into play.
As you select the best solution, you need to assess documentation, review data, peruse input surveys, examine the workflow, ask important questions, and comb through the influx of reports pertaining to a specific business, industry, or economy. Once you have this, then you need to evaluate everything and propose an appropriate resolution.
Are you a critical thinker? You need to be.
Let’s be honest: today’s talent pool is the most tech-savvy generation in history. Wait, but is this true? While most young people can stream a YouTube video, post to their Facebook wall, connect their Blu-tooth, and using Microsoft Office (well, just Word and maybe Excel), the question really is: Can they code? Can they read programming language? Can they put together a computer? Can they problem-solve a computer hiccup?
Sure, you might be consumer tech-savvy, but are your technical tech-savvy, too?
For business analysts, every project they work on requires conjuring up a solution to a problem – any problem, from the mundane to the complex. Indeed, problem-solving is a must-have skill in business analysis. Without this trait, then the entire team needs to coalesce and help you do your job.
You never want that embarrassing moment to happen to you.
So, think outside the box, understand the problems at hand, consider the parameters of the project, make a list of potential solutions, and weigh the pros and cons of each solution.
7. Financial Planning
How do you torture a business analyst? Have the vice presidents make suggestions; each suggestion contradicts the other one, making it harder to budget for.
Financial planning is a crucial trait of business analysis. Since you are examining the books of the business, or analyzing the state of economies, personal finances, or corporate accounting, you need to know how to balance, find efficiencies, streamline operations, and other measures that will squeeze every penny.
Many assert that a business analyst is a jack of all trades. In a sense, this is true. A business analyst will gather opinions, research data, make presentations, present suggestions, and find solutions to problems. That said, in order to succeed in this field, you need a myriad of skills, ranging from the soft to the hard, from the technical to the financial.