What does a business analyst do day to day?
What does a business analyst do day to day?
Each day is a little different, but the core work is the same.
Join me for a day in my life consulting as a business analyst.
A Typical Day
There's no single answer to "What does a business analyst do day to day?" because every day can be different. This is a typical type of day for me though.
I’m working with a client that’s growing their service based business.
A major challenge for them is to standardize and automate their processes and work so they can serve more customers, hire additional employees, and maintain the high level of service to customers that’s caused their services to be so in-demand.
Whether you’re working as a consultant or working in a permanent position as a business analyst within a company, much of the work will still be the same.
This day should show what a business analyst does day to day for either case. Let’s get started with the day…
I’m working from home today which is typical for most of the work I do as a business analyst.
On-site visits with clients can be very beneficial at the launch of a new project to create the scope and work with stakeholders that may have information I’ll need.
Right now, I’m working on streamlining the pricing and quoting processes and I already have a lot of inputs and data from the client.
I usually start out my day looking over an action list that I share with the client and double checking my current priorities. This keeps us both on the same page and makes sure we have the same expectations and focus.
Understanding Business Issues
This client is currently referencing a 10 page spreadsheet to price out their services with many different variables.
This list gets added on to each time a customer asks for a quote on something new that they haven’t done before.
This is really difficult for someone new to pick up because they need to understand the thought process and methods of the person who created the prices and be very familiar with the different options.
They can’t put in inputs and get a quote back...they have to maneuver through the hundreds of potential options.
Gathering & Analyzing Data
This morning, I’m gathering all the quotes they’ve done over the last few years and all the sales they’ve made to see which services are actually selling and at what rates.
I’m expecting the results to roughly align with the 80/20 rule - that is - 80% of their sales are likely coming from 20% or less of their services.
They’ve given me access to their CRM - or customer relationship management - system so I can create any reports I need or extract any data that’s needed.
Because of the volume they’re dealing with, Excel is going to be sufficient to manage this work. I’ll go ahead and extract this data, analyze it, and see what I get.
Once I have my results, I look for overall themes.
As I suspected, most business is coming from a few select services.
Where possible, I like to use an agile - or iterative - approach to solving business problems.
Rather than trying to optimize every single thing at one time, we’ll do it in rounds.
For the first update, I’m going to suggest we focus on the handful of services that make up most of the clients revenue.
Communicating with the Client
With these results in hand, I’m having a short video chat with my client to give them the initial results and see if this makes sense to them.
I like to do this for 2 reasons -
- It helps double check the work. I’m not an expert in their industry and it’s always good to bring in business knowledge where possible. I want to see if my conclusions align with their gut feel from being in the business everyday.
- I’m also doing this because it gets buy-in at this stage and reconfirms the direction.
Now I’m going to start sketching out a pricing structure.
I’d like it to flow nicely so we can also look at software which will let them more easily quote.
I won’t go through the details here, but my general strategy is to try to make groups and subgroups and continue this process in a way that doesn’t overly segment, but makes it very clear what the next input step is to create a quote.
That’s what I’ll be working on the rest of the day.
Once this work is done, I’ll meet with the client again to present my recommendations and fine tune it with them.
It’s quite possible that the way they’ve priced things over time doesn’t make as much sense once they see the big picture.
The nice part about the new structure is it will be very easy to make changes if needed.
That about wraps up my day.
This has been a pretty typical day as a business analyst - consulting with the stakeholders or client, gathering data, analyzing it, recommending updates that will streamline their business.