Business analytics is a field and skill that is growing steadily in demand. Many surveys and studies find that more than half of businesses plan to make hires in the space in the near future or already make extensive use of business analytics, and this makes it a very attractive career path for those interested in working on the cutting edge of business intelligence.
If you’re looking at improving your business analytics skills, you might have been working as a business analyst for years or are newly qualified in the field. You might also want to simply add business analytics to your skillset and look for some pointers on how to get started or what you should focus on. Like most careers and skills these days, business analytics can benefit from continued learning, and constantly looking to improve your skills or expand your knowledge of business analytics practices is a good idea. Let’s explore some of the ways you can improve your business analytics skills.
Refresh or Expand Your Analysis Techniques
Refreshing or expanding your techniques and skills and how you go about it really depends on your proficiency and understanding of business analytics. You might just need a few short courses or, perhaps more suitably you might want to do an online business analytics degree. Not only will you need a soft skill set suited for the work, but you’ll need a really strong understanding of the theoretical applications. Business analysts are constantly facing problems that need solving, so being trained in how to think critically and how to present problems to create a shared understanding of any problem are all important. Obtaining analysis techniques, like being able to create process flows and business process models, and facilitating sessions on discovery and business requirements for those who wish to make use of your skills are a must.
Broaden Your Software Skills
As a business analyst, there are many software applications available to you to make your work easier or to better present your work. You might be very proficient with the basic toolset of any business analyst like expert proficiency in Office applications like Microsoft Word, Excel and similar, but expanding on your skillset and learning new software applications and tools that can better assist you is a good idea. Embracing visualisation tools like Microsoft Visio is a good start, but getting your feet wet with more specialised tools and advanced modelling tools for your field is better. If you’re working in the field of architecture, for example, you might consider applications like DOORS or Caliber. You’ll likely learn such specialist tools on the job, but having a general understanding of the more generic ones certainly won’t be missed by anyone reading your CV.
Become a Better Communicator
Entering the realm of soft skills now and focusing on your ability to communicate ideas and understand users better is a good skill to improve on. Becoming a better communicator is a must because you’ll be facilitating those discovery sessions and business requirement meetings. Being able to communicate your ideas and understand and communicate stakeholders’ ideas will help you be a better business analyst. Communication skills aren’t easy to learn and often require real introspection to improve, but it will always be worth it.
Embrace New or Trending Methodologies
It might be that businesses will be looking for a business analyst who understands the methodologies the business already uses to do their work. This will mean an understanding of the many different types of these methodologies. Current trending ways of working, particularly in more technology driven businesses like the agile and Kanban workflows are gaining huge adoption, and understanding these and how they work and sculpt business workflows is an important skill. Other business methodologies like Six Stigma and Business Process Modelling Notation are also good skills to have, but knowing what is trending and what business processes are in the zeitgeist will have you in a good position to transition into different workspaces easier.
These are just a few of the many things you can do to become a better and more proficient business analyst. At the core of it all is your ability to adapt and grow your skills or methods depending on your field or business requirements and that means being adaptable and aware of new and emerging trends or methodologies in the field. Keeping up to date and continuously trying to improve both your knowledge and soft skills will leave you in a great position to excel at your chosen career as a business analyst.