Key Transferable Skills for Business Analysts

There’s always debate about which skills in business analysis are the most important and most transferable. The answers always seem to come back to these:

  • Team CollaboratingCommunications Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Technical Skills
  • Research and Analytical Skills
  • Organizational Skills

If you join the International Institute of Business Analysis, you’ll have access to A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (the BABOK  Guide) and the underlying business analysis competencies it lists. Here’s more detail on the transferable skills, which should help if you’re considering moving into business analysis as a career:

Communication Skills

According to the IIBA oral communication skills are used to verbally express ideas, information or other matters. Written communication skills are necessary for business analysts to document elicitation results, requirements and other information for which medium-to-long term records are required.

Listen and verbally respond to customer’s needs in order to solve problems and provide information and direction, ensuring the customer’s experience is a positive one. Record customer needs, issues and resolutions to maintain accurate records and data for further analysis by management and business development.

Interpersonal Skills

Business analysts must be able to work closely with other team members to effectively support their work so that solutions can be effectively implemented. You must also have strong facilitation and negotiation skills: Business analysts facilitate interactions between stakeholders in order to help them resolve disagreements regarding the priority and nature of requirements.

Work with team members to resolve customer issues and/or escalate them to appropriate departments within the organization. As a representative of the organization, utilize your knowledge of its policies to negotiate and facilitate resolution of issues and needs.

Technical Skills

Business analysts use office productivity applications to document and track requirements. At a minimum, business analysts also have to have a fundamental understanding of the business technology infrastructure and databases.

Technical skills are required for use of some of these applications such as customer management software, word processing, etc.

Research and Analytical Skills

Analytical skills are defined in various categories such as creative thinking, learning, systems thinking and problem solving. Business analysts must be effective at defining and solving problems in order to ensure that the real, underlying challenge is understood and that solutions actually address it. Analysis is aided by techniques such as process modeling, organizational modeling, data modeling and business rules analysis. Research skills are aided by techniques such as document analysis, observation and interviews.

Ask probing questions to understand the customer’s need or issue. Review current policy and procedures to ensure resolution of the issue or need is in line with the organization’s contractual obligations to the customer. Use creative thinking to address a customer’s need.

Organizational Skills

Personal organization skills assist the business analyst in effectively managing tasks and information. So, organize information to ensure a timely response to customer questions.

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