12 Important Business Analyst Skills You Need to Succeed

Walid Abou-Halloun

Posted by Walid Abou-Halloun Date: Nov 3, 2020 2:00:02 AM

Are you thinking of becoming a business analyst?
It can be a very rewarding and fulfilling job and can lead to a long and varied career in a variety of industries. But do you know what it takes to become a good business analyst? Becoming a business analyst is more than just look at charts and graphs. It requires a broad and varied skill set and the ability to communicate with a whole range of people. Whether you are thinking of becoming a business analyst, or want to enhance your career, read on to learn about 12 important business analyst skills that will help you get ahead.

1. Communication

As a business analyst, you will have to communicate with a wide range of people. From your project team to stakeholders, IT technicians, managers, and your support staff. The skill you will need as a business analyst is to pitch your communications to the various stakeholders at the right level. Launching into a lengthy spiel about IT issues to someone who has no tech background will not only fail to get your information across but could also damage stakeholder relations. Communication is not just verbal either. You will have to write plenty of emails and memos, and finding the right language to use will be crucial.

2. Managing Relationships

So, we’ve established that you will have to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders. But how does a business analyst maintain good relationships with all these people? Well, firstly the key skill is to listen. When you have to work alongside people with different roles from yourself, there is always something you can learn. Take the time to get to know the different stakeholders individually, and listen to any concerns or ideas that they may have. Acknowledging that everyone involved has an important role to play within the project will create an inclusive working method. When people feel they are not included or listened to they can become harder to reach out to.

3. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is an important skill in all aspects of working life, but none more so than as a business analyst. One of the main requirements of a business analyst is to find solutions to business problems. When you are working on a project it is unusual for things not to change halfway through. Whether it is stakeholders changing their minds, technological difficulties, or logistical problems. Chances are, as a business analyst you are going to have to adapt quite quickly. Problem-solving as a business analyst mainly involves:
  • Identifying the problem
  • Describing the problem
  • Communicating all possible solutions
  • Proposing a solution
  • Designing a model for the solution
You may encounter a number of challenges throughout the problem-solving process, but it is important that any glitches or unexpected issues are dealt with calmly and rationally.

4. Being a Good Team Player

As a business analyst, you will be working on projects as part of a team. Being part of a team requires certain skills to ensure the smooth working of the project while maintaining good working relationships. So what skills do you need to be a good team player? Well, the first thing you need to do is to understand exactly what everyone on the team does, and how they contribute towards the project goals. Dissecting the project management team roles will help you understand how the project can be delivered, and where responsibility lies for each aspect. Knowing what you contribute to the team is also crucial. The success of the project hinges on all members of the team playing to their strengths and working to deliver the shared goal.

5. Research

As a business analyst, you could work on projects in a wide range of fields. It is unlikely you will be an expert on all of them. So how do you begin to understand problems and search for solutions? By thoroughly researching the field in which you are working. Unless you have a sound understanding of the problems you are trying to solve, it is unlikely that you will find the best solution for your client. So before you begin any analysis, use your research skills to educate yourself. Using online searches will help you gather plenty of data on the issue at hand, but you will also need to have the skills to conduct some research closer to home. Researching a problem should involve talking to the people that are directly affected. Whether it is service users, customers, clients or colleagues, you should have the research skills to conduct surveys or questionnaires to gain their perspective. Thoroughly researching a topic will also gain you credibility within the team. Having a sound working knowledge of the topic will give you authority and help your case should you need to negotiate or persuade people on your proposals.

6. Presentation Skills

A business analyst regularly has to communicate large amounts of information to various stakeholders. In order to do that effectively, you will have to facilitate meetings, hold workshops and chair seminars. All of these will, at some point, require you to give a presentation. Having good presentation skills is, therefore, a must for anyone considering becoming a business analyst. The main skills required for giving presentations are:
  • Confidence
  • Excellent public speaking
  • Being able to operate IT tools such as Powerpoint
  • Creating visuals and infographics
  • Being able to think on your feet
All of that might sound daunting, but giving a presentation should be your chance to demonstrate to your stakeholders the level of research and analysis you have done. A presentation is your chance to shine and show your authority on the subject.

7. Decision Making

During the course of a project, things may change. Problems may arise, or timetables may shift. As a business analyst, you will be expected to have the confidence to make decisions that protect the project goals. This is where your research and team skills will come into play. Having the confidence and support of your team, and having conducted a satisfactory amount of research will give you the confidence to make difficult decisions.

8. Writing Skills

As a business analyst, you will be required to write many documents. These will include project update reports, business model proposals, and correspondence. You will need the skills to be able to write clearly and confidently and communicate complex pieces of information to a diverse audience. While a good working knowledge of MS Word and grammar apps will help you to a certain degree, there is no substitute for having the ability to write clearly and concisely.

9. Tech Skills

Being able to code or program is not essential for a business analyst. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to have IT skills. As a business analyst, you will be using IT on a daily business to help you manage data, create presentations and conduct research. Therefore having a good working knowledge of software that can help you is essential. Many employers will offer training for business analysts should they have specific IT requirements. But it is important that you brush up on your IT skills if you are considering working as a business analyst.

10. Organisational Skills

It is crucial in any line of work to be organised, and business analysts are expected to keep a lot of plates spinning. Delivering a project on time and within budget is your main priority, and being organised is how you will succeed. Your organisational skills as a business analyst could mean the difference between success and failure of the project. If you miss a deadline the whole project could slip behind schedule. Being able to manage your time when there are so many demands on it, is a real skill. Being able to multi-task and not let one strand of work suffer is also one of the real talents you will need to perfect.

11. Innovation

By its nature, problem-solving will require you to look for new, modern solutions to old problems. This means you could well be working towards a solution that may not have existed before. Having your eyes on new IT and business solutions will enable you to offer innovative solutions to your company and clients. You should be forward thinking, and unafraid to try something new. This could also mean that you have to learn about new business models quickly and then communicate them to your team.

12. Negotiation

While the role of a business analyst can be hugely satisfying, there will be times when not everyone agrees with your chosen strategies. When you are working with so many stakeholders it is inevitable that not everyone will agree with each other all of the time. Your job as a business analyst will be to try and negotiate with those stakeholders that have divergent views. You may need to offer compromises and use your powers of persuasion to obtain a solution.

How To Use Your Business Analyst Skills

All of these business analyst skills overlap to make up a successful business analyst who can communicate, negotiate work in a team and find innovative solutions to complex problems. So not much then! But once you are working as a business analyst you will find out how rewarding it can be to overcome challenges and demonstrate your skills. If you want to check out more business resources for the modern age, check out our blog today.

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