Business analytics is a merger of data analytics and business intelligence and its scope goes way beyond either of its components. The field of business analytics itself has been misunderstood, ill-explained, and underestimated for a long time. Businesses have started to realize its importance and demand for business analytics professionals is quite high at the moment. If you want to know more about the job market for business analytics and the opportunities there, read about the top 4 reasons you should attend a business analytics course.
In the course of this post we will discuss certain skills that are crucial for all BA and BI professionals but largely underestimated and ignored.
While on one hand the abundance of information has made it possible for businesses to replace instinctive decisions with data driven steps, on the other hand the overwhelming influx of information has, in many cases, deviated and confused the business efforts. We as human beings need context behind the information to consume, comprehend, and capitalize on it.
This is where storytelling comes in. Storytelling in this context refers to the laying down of dry information in a narrative structure so that it makes sense. A very simple example would help us understand the concept. Now, suppose you own a business and there is a report that says your gross revenue in a year is $1 million. This is some solid information but is it really meaningful? The information would be more meaningful if you could compare it with the revenue from the previous year while factoring in the investments in ad campaigns, software services, and other expenses. Then again you must not miss the bankruptcy of one of your clients, and the sudden earthquake that has rendered one of your target markets financially paralyzed.
Therefore the comprehension of information is intrinsically dependent on the attachment of context to it. Storytelling is a crucial part of a business analyst’s role though you would not find it in the job description.
I cannot be truthful and say that this skill is overlooked or undermined, but it deserves more spotlight than it gets. 18% of data science and analytics professionals feel that one of the greatest challenges posed against them is the management’s disregard for their reports. While companies often fail to understand the ramifications of the insights found by analysts, they are quick to discredit their work due to lack of results.
The only way to tackle this issue is by strengthening the visualization. You should learn some very important things about data visualization while studying for your business analytics certification. Reserve a lot of focus for this aspect because your data visualization skills are going to solidify your position in the industry. Your hard work will pay off when the clients understand your presentation with ease.
This is the step that moves the company to action, so do not ignore this.
You could say that effective communication is an extension of the two previous skills we discussed. I cannot deny that, but it deserves a separate mention, so here we are.
Effective communication for a business analyst usually has three parts.
- Understanding the clients’ requirements; making them understand the company’s services; and building a bridge between the two businesses.
This part is crucial and has to be done with a lot of skill and conviction. As a business analyst you need to know your client and more importantly you need to know their business. You should have a set of questions that would effectively extract all the information that might be useful to ensure impeccable service, while also cutting out the chaff.
- Conveying your concern regarding business processes to your employer.
You have been hired to improve business processes, but you cannot work on hunches and feelings. If you think that a particular task could have been done differently to avoid delay or to add some revenue, do not say. Prepare a report, like a problem statement. Convince your employer and get it approved.
- Explaining your work
You do not build products, you are not personally responsible for converting leads. The only way for you to ensure that the employer understands your contribution is by explaining it to them. You should be able to explain the models you are building or the parameters you are using to strategize business, to your employer. This is part of your job. It takes skill to transform numerical data into eloquent language.