Online Engineering Programs > Features > Business Systems Analyst – A Day in the Life

Business Systems Analyst - Education, Certifications & Responsibilities

Find schools

*sponsored

Work Environment of Business Systems Analysts

Business systems analysts work in a corporate environment. But the ubiquity of IT and data processes means that practically every company needs business systems analysts. Business systems analysts can work in practically every sector: from finance, to retail, to manufacturing, to research, to government. It’s even possible to work as a consultant, slinging one’s services from sector to sector on a project-by-project basis. But wherever they work, a business systems analyst is likely to call an office home base, as this a technically demanding role that also requires frequent communication between departments.

Business Systems Analysis Team

A business systems analyst acts as a bridge between business strategy and technical operations. Generally, a business systems analyst reports up to top management in a chain of command that terminates with the CIO. In their day-to-day work, however, they are expected to interface frequently with IT leadership. Merging these two worlds and acting as an interpreter between them are key responsibilities of a business systems analyst.

Typical Daily Responsibilities of Business Systems Analysts

The responsibilities of business systems analysts can be grouped into two categories: the technical and the relational.

In the technical category, business systems analysts must get in the weeds with the technology they’re using to implement business solutions. This means performing rigorous testing, delivering data-driven reporting, and developing new systems architecture.

On the relational side, business systems analysts need to discern (from leadership) the strategic goals of a business, and then translate these goals into achievable tasks for an IT team. This means interdepartmental collaboration, frequent communication, and project management.

Typical daily responsibilities of a business systems analyst include:

  • Consulting with business leadership to ascertain strategic goals
  • Collaborating with IT to design systems that meet strategic goals
  • Surveying, designing, and implementing a system that’s ideal for the user experience
  • Testing old and new systems through sampling, modeling, and soliciting feedback
  • Calculating the cost-effectiveness of a new system versus an old system
  • Developing specifications and templates for software engineers to follow
  • Performing risk assessments on legacy systems as well as proposed systems

The precise tasks of a business system analyst vary depending on their employer and their employer’s specific needs. But the first ingredient in the special sauce of a great business systems analyst is the ability to discern what those specific needs are, even if the employer isn’t necessarily sure. And the second ingredient is being able to deliver systems that meet those needs, even if the technology that does that isn’t well-known in the company.

Required Skills & Knowledge of Business Systems Analysts

Business systems analysts need a unique blend of skills. At its core, this is a heavily technical role, and requires an understanding of SQL, software development, and data analytics. But in order to implement that technical knowledge, business systems analysts also need soft skills like communication, leadership, and project management. Organizational skills are at a premium here, as being able to manage one’s time, resources, and the input of multiple stakeholders is a critical element in delivering successful business system solutions.

Most business systems analysts build their foundational skills by earning a bachelor’s degree in a subject like computer science. This gives them a concrete understanding of the terminology and capabilities of the technology which will be used to meet a business’s strategic needs. While it’s possible to start working with just a bachelor’s degree, some business systems analysts seek out graduate-level education in an area like data science to give them a better understanding of the modern business landscape and the factors that drive it.

Business Analyst Certification

Business systems analysts may choose to pursue professional certification as a way to demonstrate both their expertise and their commitment to staying current in the field.

The premier certification for business systems analysts is the Certification of Capability in Business Analytics (CCBA) from the International Institute of Business Analytics (IIBA). The rewards for achieving this level of certification aren’t purely idealistic, either: CCBA-holders earn, on average, over 10 percent more than their non-certified counterparts.

Do note that while the roles of business analyst and business systems analyst are different (the former being less technical than the latter), there’s still a lot of overlap between the two, and the IIBA caters to both parties. Certification in business analysis demonstrates that a business systems analyst has the collaborative project management skills needed to take on positions of high responsibility.

In addition to tiered certifications based on work experience, the IIBA also offers specialized certifications in areas like Agile analysis and data analytics. The CCBA designation in particular affirms one’s ability to work with stakeholders, model business processes, and evaluate opportunities for better outcomes.

In order to be eligible for the CCBA designation, applicants must have: a minimum of 3,750 hours of relevant work experience over the last seven years; 21 hours of professional development over the last four years; and professional references. Once deemed eligible, applicants must pass an exam that covers the following areas: business analysis planning and modeling; elicitation and collaboration; requirements life cycle management; strategy analysis; requirements analysis and design definition; and solution evaluation. Application fees and exam fees are $575 in total, and CCBA-holders must recertify every three years by completing 60 continuing development units (CDUs).

Related Features

Artificial Intelligence Systems & Specializations: An Interview with Microsoft’s Sha Viswanathan

The ability of a computer to learn and problem solve (i.e., machine learning) is what makes AI different from any other major technological advances we’ve seen in the last century. More than simply assisting people with tasks, AI allows the technology to take the reins and improve processes without any help from humans.

Automotive Cybersecurity: Connected & Self-Driving Vehicles

This guide, intended for students and working professionals interested in entering the nascent field of automotive cybersecurity, describes some of the challenges involved in securing web-enabled vehicles, and features a growing number of university programs, companies, and people who are rising to meet those challenges.

Careers in Digital Marketing: Big Data & Social Analytics

The field of digital marketing intersects with many other tech industries and grew out of traditional theories of advertising, marketing, and sales. Just like traditional marketing, the goal is to reach your target customer base, build brand awareness, and make a meaningful, data-generating connection.

Combating Climate Change with Better Batteries

With 100 percent renewable energy as the ideal future state, startups and established players are racing to find the right mix of cheap, safe, and effective utility-scale energy storage. Learn more about some of the latest advances and new directions for combating climate change by making better batteries.

Guide to Engineering Conferences in 2019

Engineering is an exceptionally dynamic sector. It is continually changing and expanding, and experts, professionals, and academics in the field need to keep pace with all of the latest developments. Conferences provide professionals in various engineering disciplines with knowledge about cutting-edge tools, technology, and skills in the field.