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A business intelligence analyst is a professional with technical and analytical skills who evaluates data, shares findings relevant to the business, and presents them in a manner that can bring about an effective change in a business. This article explains the role of a BI analyst, the skills it requires, and the jobs and salaries one can expect in 2022.
Who Is a Business Intelligence Analyst?
A business intelligence analyst is a professional with technical and analytical skills to evaluate data, collate findings relevant to the business, and share them in a manner that can bring about an effective change in a business. BI analysts are often employed to resolve specific business problems by referring to the organization’s data store.
A business intelligence analyst suggests measures for corporate development and progress by evaluating complicated datasets of a company. This profession combines a love for statistics and the potential to effectively assist an organization in achieving its business goals.
Knowing how to gather and evaluate data correctly can greatly influence a business’s performance. A business intelligence analyst examines data to provide market and financial intelligence reports. These studies highlight market patterns and trends that may affect a company’s operations and future objectives.
Business intelligence analysts help organizations make sense of the vast volumes of data they possess. They assist businesses in streamlining processes, increasing profitability and staying ahead of industry trends.
To correctly assess and evaluate data, a mix of professional expertise, technological abilities, and education is required. A BI analyst’s job description typically includes the following tasks:
- Extraction and analysis of company information, primarily financial, personal, expense, and revenue reports
- Compiling data regarding reported issues and offering remedies that improve the operation of processes and systems
- Conducting cost-benefit analysis on initiatives designed to maximize the organization’s performance.
- Working with the leadership and teammates to implement changes
- Evaluating the effectiveness of accepted techniques
- Engaging with teams to assess required resources, employees, equipment, and facilities
- Speaking with key stakeholders and senior leadership to set strategic targets
- Delivering interactive presentations and generating reports for efficient data dissemination to a diverse audience
Educational qualifications to become a business intelligence analyst
A specialized certification or program is a great method to develop skills such as data analysis and Power BI knowledge. Certificates and online courses may provide the flexibility necessary to master a new area with ease. Typically, no prior experience is required.
A bachelor’s degree may equip aspirants with the technical as well as critical thinking abilities necessary for a career as a BI analyst. One must concentrate on quantitative subjects such as finance, math, or data science.
A master’s degree may help a professional transition into a business intelligence analyst position by building on their prior experience and education. A master’s degree in data science may help deepen the understanding of data. But if you have a basic grasp of data processing but need to improve your business acumen, an MBA program with an emphasis on business analytics could be right for you.
BI analysts, business analysts, BI architects, and BI developers: Understanding the difference
Let’s understand the differences between different BI roles:
- BI analysts are responsible for executing BI queries and generating reports and dashboards.
- Business analysts, on the other hand, collaborate with business divisions to collect technical needs for Ops and analytics platforms, analyze business processes, and suggest internal improvements, among other data-driven responsibilities.
- BI architects are often responsible for building and executing the technical infrastructure that enables business intelligence operations, including BI systems, apps, and data analysis tools. In addition, they are often responsible for selecting BI and analytics systems and ensuring all service-level agreements, as well as performance criteria, are fulfilled — tasks that do not typically come within the purview of BI analysts.
- Some organizations also employ BI programmers, who, similar to BI architects, are often more technically proficient than BI analysts. In general, BI developers concentrate on using APIs and SDKs and write code to create analytics apps, gateways, integrated BI abilities, and more in-depth, multidimensional studies.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Intelligence Analyst
As a business intelligence analyst, you’ll be expected to handle the tasks mentioned below.
1. Analyzing data
Once new data arrives, it is the responsibility of the business intelligence department to oversee its management from beginning to end. This involves examining and certifying the accuracy of consumer data, delivering new data to the proper data warehouse, and analyzing new data.
The process of data analysis also includes finding methods in which your organization may utilize data more efficiently and develop new initiatives. Numerous businesses use business intelligence tools to automate the smallest of procedures. Standardizing the data analysis process may help your team save time and money while making everyone’s work easier.
2. Assisting the decision-making process
In addition to analyzing raw data, your position as a business intelligence analyst will entail interpreting your findings. Numerous C-suite executives rely on the data provided by the BI team to make crucial business decisions. Even if you’re a newly recruited business intelligence analyst, your daily job will significantly impact the organization as a whole.
3. Helping maintain data security
You’ve likely read news articles about another organization that suffered a big data breach that compromised the identity and private information of millions of people. This is not the kind of corporate gaffe for which you can apologize and move on. Companies are penalized tens of millions for disclosing consumer information.
A business intelligence analyst plays a critical role in securing the data his organization collects. He is also responsible for educating coworkers about appropriate practices to manage sensitive information and collaborating with the IT division to safeguard user data.
4. Visualizing data to find patterns
A business intelligence analyst may collect, cleanse, and analyze data such as sales revenue, market capitalization, trade data, and customer engagement metrics. BI analysts may also be required to program data visualization and monitoring tools and data models.
A fundamental aspect of a BI analyst’s role is identifying patterns or regions in the material that indicate opportunities for business process improvement. For instance, a BI analyst may examine market trends to determine how a business may need to modify its offerings.
5. Creating reports to share insights
Sharing discoveries as a BI analyst may include anything from visualizing data in charts and graphs to putting reports together and presenting them to other teams and customers. Based on their findings, business intelligence analysts are also expected to formulate suggestions to enhance or expand the business.
6. Collaborating with business users and department heads
BI analysts are expected to collaborate with managers and other corporate clients to determine which data is required to address their concerns. They then collate that data, operate BI queries, and create data visualizations, reports, and dashboards to assist stakeholders in extracting meaning from analyzed data sets.
To expedite the analysis process, BI analysts increasingly work alongside enterprise clients on self-service BI implementations, training them how to alter and analyze data themselves.
7. Supporting the BI strategy
BI analysts also analyze ways a company might adopt new regulations around data gathering and data analysis procedures, such as maintaining the integrity of data usage. They may also be tasked with recruiting additional data professionals, for example, data architects.
See More: Data Analytics Career Path: Degree, Training, Jobs, and Salary in 2022
Business Intelligence Analyst: Key Skill Requirements in 2022
Typically, employers looking for business analysts seek applicants with the ideal mix of experience, abilities, and education. In addition to suitable degrees, professional experience and technological competence may set you apart from other applicants. Knowledge of database management, user interface and queries, and enterprise resource management gives you further edge.
Critical thinking, data interpretation, and active listening for problem comprehension are prerequisites in this profession. Business intelligence analysts must have a comprehensive understanding of the data to organize, analyze, and present it in a relevant manner to all stakeholders. Professionals should also be able to locate relevant data and understand it to create rational business strategy recommendations.
To become a business intelligence analyst, you need the following skills:
1. Hands-on knowledge of database tools
Data management will be an integral aspect of your work. The ability to handle data using popular data tools like Excel and structured query language (SQL) is critical. In addition, proficiency with data analysis platforms that provide solutions for machine learning has become a sought-after expertise among BI analysts.
2. Good understanding of coding languages
As a BI analyst, one may be required to develop systems or procedures that aid in data analysis and business monitoring. Knowledge of programming languages like Python, Java, and R is often necessary for business intelligence jobs.
3. Prior experience in data preparation and visualization
Data preparation is an essential component of business intelligence. To derive any conclusions from the data, it must first be acquired, cleansed, and structured uniformly. Several data preparation technologies can take data from diverse sources and then format it according to the same parameters and values.
As a BI Analyst, you should be conversant with data preparation tools like Tableau Prep, Improvado, Alteryx, and the like. These tools help create infographics and visualize data.
4. Excellent communication skills
In order to disseminate insights, a business intelligence analyst frequently presents their findings verbally or in writing. To become a business intelligence analyst, acquiring verbal and written communication skills is critical to summarize information and ideas. It is important to bear in mind that a majority of decision-makers may not have a technical background. So, one should be able to convey complex ideas in a simple language, so they are readily understood.
5. A working knowledge of finance
A thorough grasp of business practices and finances is essential when making suggestions for business enhancements. You should be familiar with the business framework of your organization and comprehend how to use data to maximize the company’s profits based on key performance metrics. You must understand the organization’s short- and long-term business objectives to assist in determining its future course.
6. Statistical analysis know-how
Statistical knowledge is crucial for business intelligence analysts. You should understand how different statistical components, such as the mean, median, range, and variance, are utilized to gain a more holistic understanding of data.
Other advanced statistical subjects such as combinatorial optimization, set theory, probability equations, both discrete and continuous, as well as bivariate distribution, random variables, etc., are also important. An aspirant should be familiar with analytical tools like SAS, Hadoop, Spark, Hive, and Pig that may assist businesses in developing a solid BI strategy.
7. Aptitude for descriptive analytics
Descriptive analysis aims to determine whether there are any absent numbers, outliers, aberrant or distorted distribution, etc. In essence, it involves learning and familiarizing oneself with the data before delivering it to senior leadership in a clear and concise manner. Various tools may be used for descriptive data analysis, such as statistical approaches and data visualization charts like scatter plots, bar graphs, whisker and box plots, etc.
See More: Data Scientist: Job Description, Key Skills, and Salary in 2022
Business Intelligence Analyst: Salary in 2022
Business intelligence analyst is one of the top trending jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), according to Forbes magazine. As per the projections made by the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), the number of jobs for business intelligence analysts is expected to increase by 15% from 2020 to 2030. This is much higher than the norm for any occupation.
To start your career as a business intelligence analyst, you are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree. However, graduates with a master’s degree in business analytics may earn a competitive edge depending on their expertise, skills, and competence, making them particularly more eligible for higher-level positions.
A business intelligence analyst can expect high-paying salaries in many sectors, such as financial services, medical services, industrial production, insurance, future technologies, and e-commerce. According to PayScale statistics (last updated on November 14, 2022), the annual income range for a BI analyst in the U.S. is $48,701 to $93,243, with a mean of $66,645. Business intelligence analysts in the United Kingdom make between £35,000 and £45,000 annually, depending on the organization’s size, location, and degree of expertise.
Business Intelligence Analyst: Jobs in 2022
Business intelligence analysts are often a part of a company’s data science and BI department. Depending on the organization’s size, they may engage with a large team of data analysts and other business intelligence experts or even work individually.
Entry-level business intelligence experts generally report to middle management or a more senior analyst, such as the BI Manager, Head of BI, Business Intelligence Project Manager, or a Senior Business Intelligence Analyst. Mid-level business intelligence analysts, on the other hand, report to senior executives, such as the BI Director, the Associate Director of BI, the VP of Business Intelligence, or the Chief Analytics Officer. Typically, employers look for the following job roles:
- Business intelligence specialist: Focuses on analyzing BI data and sharing it with different business units.
- BI project manager: Leads a team of analysts and developers on mid to long-term business intelligence projects.
- Domain-specific business intelligence analyst: Analyzes data only from a specific industry or domain to identify inefficiencies and opportunities.
- BI associate: An entry-level professional who helps the BI specialist in collating data and generating reports.
- HR business intelligence analyst: Specializes in staffing analytics and workforce planning/optimization.
- Business intelligence analyst (part-time): Freelances as a BI analyst and consults with companies on short-term BI projects and assignments.
Every BI analyst begins their career as a data analyst. Later, they often rise to positions such as business intelligence experts, architects, consultants, or managers. Although four-year degrees in computer science, business management, or statistics might help you get a job, top businesses do not place a high value on these degrees. To swiftly address talent shortfalls, major organizations like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and others, seek applicants with BI certification from industry-recognized universities.
Business intelligence is now a staple for organizations worldwide. It refers to the use of first and third-party data as well as big data to solve business problems and unlock new opportunities. A BI analyst specializes in using BI tools to further the organization’s strategy, bringing a technical understanding of data analytics. This makes business intelligence analysts a valuable asset for organizations.