The role of a business analyst, also known as a management analyst, is to analyze business needs and recommend solutions. A business analyst manager also oversees business analysts. To become a business analyst manager, the manager should understand the competencies needed to successfully meet the business analyst job responsibilities, and should be able to determine whether the work the analyst produced is adequate. A business analyst manager may be promoted to the position from the business analyst role, or she may have prior management experience and move into this position.
A business analyst manager's responsibilities may include hiring, managing, and firing analysts. The business analyst manager role may include assigning business analysts to projects and reviewing the analysts’ work. In some organizations, the manager may provide primarily personnel management, rather than directing the day-to-day work of the analyst.
The title of business analyst can cover a variety of roles with varying skills and business analysts may focus on different aspects of analysis, depending on the organization. One possible job of the business analyst is business process reengineering, where the analyst describes a current business process and recommends an improved process. Some business analyst work is very technical, and may be similar to that of a systems analyst. In other cases, the work is similar to that of a requirements engineer. Some organizations will refer to financial analysts with the title of business analysts.
In cases where the business analyst is working with the development of a software application, the analyst must interpret business needs into language or models that the development team can use in developing software systems. The quality assurance team should be able to use the same requirements when testing the system. The business analyst is often in charge of the following tasks: meeting with business representatives of all levels to discuss needs, features and requirements of a proposed software system; writing scope documents and requirements documents, ensuring requirements are written in such a way that they are understandable to business representatives, developers, and quality assurance team members; assisting with system testing; and assisting with training.
Business analysts will usually have usually at least a four year college degree, and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) may be useful for some positions. The four year degree is often a business or technology degree. Some colleges do offer a specific business analyst degree program or specialty.
Someone who is working as a business analyst, or who is interested in additional business analyst training may wish to become certified business analyst (CBA). The International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA) has developed types of business analysis certification programs. These programs require successfully passing a business analyst exam, along with work experience. The IIBA is not the only organization to offer certification. Some colleges have also developed business analyst certification programs.
Specific personality traits and skills are useful for a successful career as a business analyst manager. Analytic ability is critical, as is the ability to communicate effectively in writing and speaking to people with different backgrounds and of various levels of an organization. Ideally, the manager will be able to reconcile and negotiate in situations where business or technology needs are at odds. The manager must be comfortable with understanding the business and technical environments. An ability to learn quickly, handle pressure, and attention to detail are also key traits.