Business Intelligence, Business Analysts and Big Data

April 18, 2014

Data-OpportunitiesOne of the newest trends in business analysis is the melding of the BA and BI roles – where BAs become more like data-centric business intelligence analysts, similar to data scientists.

As more companies jump onto the Big Data wagon, the widening need for data may breathe new life into the business analysis role, opening more avenues of responsibilities — and corresponding increases in salaries as a result.

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Most BAs have technology and analytical backgrounds. That leads them to perform tasks such as:

  • Assisting with the implementation and support of business information systems like Cognos or SAS across multiple departments.
  • Ensuring that business data and reporting needs are met.
  • Developing and monitoring data quality metrics via a report or dashboard.

Clearly, these responsibilities go hand in hand with the use of Big Data. In time, many BAs may find themselves working less with traditional project teams and more in strategic roles such as business architect, management consultant or even line-of-business manager.

Big Data is impacting the BA role in other ways. Its demands will require BAs to serve as business partners across multiple departments so they can provide the story behind the numbers. Numbers in a vacuum, after all, aren’t much use to the likes of marketing or product groups, or corporate leadership. Because of this, BAs will find themselves more involved in Big Data projects from the outset, helping to define information needs, identifying necessary data and its sources, and ensuring that it’s reliable.

It’s worth noting that there’s a payoff to all this: According to recruiter Robert Half Technology, salaries for enterprise business analysts will range from an $83,500 to $119,000 this year, an increase of 4.3 percent over 2013. In addition, Half says that business intelligence analysts are seeing average starting salary increases of 7.4 percent.
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