Thinking of the qualities that a business analyst should have, there are tons that come to mind. But to home in on what really matters, what could be a better way than to ask experts who’ve been in the field for years? So I checked in with some of my colleagues here at Wix.com and came up with 8 pieces of advice to help make you a better business analyst.
Knowing and understanding the business that you work at is the most important thing you can take with you; be familiar with the business model, learn exactly how the product works and acquaint yourself with the main paths users take when using it. Business questions are frequently asked in order to make the right product decisions. You, the business analyst, can help find those answers. Hint: the answers are found in the data.
Be on top of the data. Know your data well, starting from what is collected, how is it collected and how is it stored. When a business question is knocking at the door, it will be easier for you to know how to address it and how long it will take to get to the answer.
The analyst is the person who defines how to monitor the product and determine what success looks like in terms of data and numbers. The analyst is there to take the numerous data streams and transform them into meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs). The KPIs are the important indexes that should be monitored and improved. How can you easily identify your KPIs? Think of your organization’s goals. The KPIs (e.g total amount of new users register to Wix, daily amount of Wix Premium packages purchased, etc.) are the factors that should be optimized in order to achieve the strategic goals.
Once you have your KPIs ready or when you have discovered an interesting business insight in the data, share it with others (product managers, management, developers, etc.). But don’t just send them an Excel. Share data in a way that stakeholders will be able to understand. What could be a better way to share insights than visualizing it? A graph, for example, can be easier and faster to understand than thousands of words. Don’t know where to start? See this article about basic visualization tips.
Human beings tend to make decisions based on intuition, common sense, hunch. But business analysts have to base their claims and recommendations on data, which is emotionally unbiased. Be like data. Be objective.
Sometimes, user behavior is a result of product performance. When the product has performance issues, (e.g certain actions in the product take too long and the product gets stuck) the numbers will show it. Analysts can help developers find the pain points or even bugs by analyzing user behavior. You have the power to help other team members, and make their jobs a bit easier. Try it, your assistance will be appreciated.
Those are Laura’s words, not mine, but thanks! The message here is to be a great analyst you need to be creative. When things are not working the way you planned, it’s time to try another way. For instance, when the data you thought you have can not really help, try to find another angle of the question you’re trying to address. There is always more than one way to solve a riddle.
Love what you do! When you enjoy your work, it makes you and the people you work with more calm and more creative. Keep your energy up by always asking new questions. Try to learn something new every day by being curious! Sometimes you need to act like Sherlock Holmes to resolve a mystery that only the numbers can solve. Isn’t it fun?
Now you know what others think about business analysts and what makes them successful. All you need to do is to implement these tips and you will be well on your way to becoming a better analyst.
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