Mission statements, organizational goals, supply chain management, R&D, customer service, employee satisfaction — there are a lot of factors that go into genuine, sustainable business success. As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to keep all of the facets of your business both on your radar and in perspective at all times.
Even if your company is finding success, your business can suffer from a lack of attention in important areas. Subtle factors such as company loyalty, brand awareness, and even efficiency and productivity can atrophy if you aren’t continually analyzing and refining your organization’s activities.
As a business owner, it’s easy to simply shrug and accept that you can’t address everything at all times. However, there’s a way to address your organization’s shortcomings without heaping more responsibilities onto your already overcrowded plate — by working with a business analyst.
What is a Business Analyst?
A business analyst’s primary goal is to facilitate positive refinement and change from within a company. This can come in a variety of ways and can take place in nearly any department, process, or function of a company.
With such a diverse area of application to function within, business analysts typically possess a wide variety of important traits, such as:
- High-functioning teamwork.
- Expert communication (between themselves and between others).
- Refined analytical skills and data management.
- The ability to observe and build budgets as well as create forecasts and conduct cost-benefit analyses.
While their skillset and responsibilities may be diverse, a business analyst’s pinpoint focus can be reduced to one simple task: promoting continuous improvement as a critical element to long-term organizational success.
Understanding Continuous Improvement
While continuous change is a common concept in the always-evolving 21st-century business world, it’s important to define the term as it relates to the duties of a business analyst, in particular.
Continuous improvement on a professional level isn’t just a concept or ideal — it is often quite literally an operational strategy as well. Often referred to as kaizen — a compound word stemming from the Japanese words for “change” and “good” — continuous improvement doesn’t just seek to fix existing problems. The strategy strives to actively make positive change within an organizational structure in order to keep a company on the cutting-edge of an industry.
How a Business Analyst Can Help Your Bottom Line
While the broad-stroke purpose of a business analyst is fairly easy to grasp, if you’re considering hiring one for your company, it’s important to realize the specific function (or really, functions) that they can serve.
While hardly comprehensive, here are a few of the most important ways that a business analyst can specifically help with continuous improvement within your organization:
Achieve Organizational Goals
A business analyst can revisit a company’s easy-to-forget organizational goals on a regular basis. Things like ethical stances, mission statements, and company vision are easy to underprioritize in the day-to-day bustle, and having a member of your team always striving to keep you on the straight and narrow is essential.
A business analyst can use data, analytics, and market research to proactively avoid stagnation with your company’s current revenue streams. They can spearhead potential innovation and find new ways to create better products or services in the future.
Foster Employee Happiness and Morale
A business analyst can help to shepherd healthy operational change for employees in the workspace. For instance, they can aid in incorporating a remote work option or ensure that employees have proper access to necessary tools, such as a learning management system, to help them thrive.
Ensure Customer Satisfaction
A business analyst can keep a sharp eye out to see if your business is serving customers in the best manner possible. They can observe customer feedback and track analytics in order to understand current customer expectations and behavior, which they can use to suggest changes in procedure or behavior to better meet customer needs.
A business analyst can look for a wide variety of inefficiencies within an organization’s daily activities. They can then recommend ways to streamline internal processes, reduce costs, explore business intelligence solutions, and optimize the use of existing resources.
Serve as an Interdepartmental Liason
In addition to a wide variety of applicability, a business analyst can work with nearly any department within a company. For example, they may spend time with your customer service representatives refining your company’s product support offering. At the same time, they could work with the tech department to analyze your e-commerce website’s user experience or work with IT to make data-driven decisions aimed at enhancing internal communication or getting rid of redundancies.
Using a Business Analyst to Achieve Results
Their vast array of skills combined with their universal presence within a company makes a business analyst a powerful addition to any professional team. They allow for an environment of continuous learning without the need for existing personnel to constantly be second-guessing if their behavior is inefficient, unproductive, or, at times, even irrelevant.