What is a business intelligence analyst?

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We all talk about data being the main driver for business success but many people don’t understand exactly what that data looks like, who mines and examines it and what effect that intelligence can have on a business.

There are a plethora of roles closely linked to Business Intelligence (BI); Data Analysts, Data Scientists and Data Operations Managers to name a few, each with their own specialities in mining and organizing data. A BI analyst’s role not only involves data collection, but also requires a strategic approach which drives the transformation of data into insightful business action.

Read on to find out more about the role of a BI analyst and how it is integral to any growing business.


Understand Your Business Data

Data collected for any business varies depending on what stage a business is at. If, for example, we take the launch of a new product or service, the types of data that will be critical to collect will include:

  • Click through rates
  • Bounce rates
  • Numbers of users activating the service/signing up
  • Adoption rates – how many customers are actually using/buying the service/product?
  • Customer feedback. Are customers happy? What are their pain points?
  • Is there something wrong that we can fix?
  • Is the product holding up to the baseline predictions of uptake?
  • Are customers continuing to use the product/service?
  • What’s the churn rate? If high, why?
  • How is adoption trending?
  • If it’s a monetizable product – how’s this trending compared to predictions?

All these elements feed into creating a data driven picture of the launch – its successes, failures and, most importantly, areas that can be improved. This holistic visibility allows a BI analyst to take this information and communicate it fluently and effectively via bespoke dashboards to the senior management in a way that allows business decisions to be made. ProCogia’s consultant, Akbar, explains the remit of his responsibilities as a BI analyst for a Telecom client. “I consult clients and help them drive products through data. . From the launch of a product, we use data in order to keep it [the product] the latest and the greatest in the market through continuous improvement.” In order to gather the data, Akbar taps into a variety of platforms including social media and Google Playstore to understand exactly what customers are saying about the product. If there are complaints, it is the role of the BI analyst to solve these pain points, continually keeping the product the “latest and greatest”.

Business analyst top skills, BI technical certifications, Core business intelligence analyst tasks

BI analysts often emerge from a technical background, maybe with a computer science qualification or through their analytics experience. The skills required for a BI analyst includes:

  • Knowledge of data language and programming using software and coding languages such as SQL, R and Python
  • Experience in translating raw data into easily digestible visuals
  • Acting as liaison between the technical team and the business
  • The ability to articulate clearly and concisely all data findings
  • Business acumen to understand how the data insights translate into business action
  • Presentation skills to communicate effectively with key stakeholders

Articulating your findings in a way that can be easily consumed by the business is key to the role of a BI analyst. And in order to present data in a digestible format, BI analysts use bespoke dashboards which provide a holistic view of the information. Some of the most common software used includes Power BI, RShiny, Tableau, Amplitude, Domo, Qlik Sense – all powerful tools that transform complex data and industry trends into brightly coloured visuals that are much easier to interpret.

Getting the aesthetic right in these management presentation tools is extremely important as ultimately, the communication of this intelligence is what guides the business decision making process.

Business data goes further than just being a reactive tool with a focus on feedback. BI analysts harness data to make future predictions and can now deliver a service before the customers have even thought about it or demanded it!

An example of excellent foresight is the introduction of YouTube’s 10 seconds ahead button. This feature was created and rolled out without ever being requested, now many of us couldn’t manage without it!

Data shapes our world today, pervading every part of our lives. The BI analyst plays a critical role in modern businesses by informing and shaping organizations worldwide.

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