As the business world grows more interconnected, companies across industries continue to optimize their internal processes to remain competitive in the global marketplace. At any given time, organizations can have dozens of inefficient business operations that may lead to wasted spending, productivity losses and missed sales opportunities.
Research from the software firm Panopto found that large U.S. businesses (those with around 5,000 employees) lose an average of $12 million every year because of day-to-day inefficiencies. An organization’s ability to identify and resolve these operational flaws can have a major impact on their overall profitability, which is why business process analysts are in high demand.
But what do business process analysts do, and how can a Master of Science in Business Analytics help build a career in this specialized field?
What Is a Business Process Analyst?
Business process analysts fill a variety of roles within modern for-profit companies, but their primary goal is to assess business requirements and make evidence-based recommendations to support process improvements. They also serve as intermediaries between executive decision makers, management teams and IT professionals to keep track of business performance, conduct process mapping and identify internal inefficiencies.
According to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), professionals in this role specialize in analyzing, designing and implementing business processes to effect change, particularly when new policies and procedures are introduced. Business process analyst job descriptions typically include the following responsibilities.
- Evaluating employee needs, internal workflows and business processes
- Overseeing detailed business analysis and process reengineering projects
- Collaborating with business and IT leaders to create new process designs
- Interpreting complex data and business metrics for relevant stakeholders
- Documenting business process modeling activities for future reference
As technology continues to transform modern business environments, companies are onboarding more professionals who understand digital applications and virtual workflows. This need places business process analysts at the intersection of organizational planning and information technology.
To be successful in this role, individuals must have at least some experience with business IT and a deep knowledge of process management during tech rollouts. Implementing applications and software often creates new operational challenges that must be accounted for. Business process analysts may be responsible for identifying these barriers and locating process-based solutions that can mitigate unplanned downtime, eliminate productivity losses and maximize IT spending.
How to Become a Business Process Analyst
A strong educational foundation is key to becoming a business process analyst. While many entry-level positions are open to applicants with a bachelor’s in business, mathematics, computer and information technology or another relevant field of study, some require a graduate-level degree, and advancing to senior positions usually requires a master’s.
The next step is to gain work experience in systems or business development. Positions such as computer systems analyst, accountant, auditor or market research analyst can lead to advancement into business process analysis.
Business Process Analyst Skills
Aspiring business process analysts should cultivate a number of hard and soft skills, from mastery of business software to interpersonal and communication skills.
Because business process analysts play a key role in their organizations’ overall IT strategy and internal development, they must be able to evaluate available software and applications to determine how they can enhance existing business operations. For example, cloud computing has become a dominant trend for both large enterprises and small businesses, but the overwhelming number of vendors can make it difficult to locate the perfect fit. Using process management expertise and technical know-how, business process analysts work with decision makers to locate IT solutions that align with their company’s budgetary constraints and long-term goals.
Before business process analysts can develop new operational strategies, they must first identify the precise problems they’re trying to solve. Every challenge a business faces has multiple solutions, with some being more effective than others. This is why professionals in this role conduct in-depth research into business performance before making their recommendations. Monitoring trends within their industry is also crucial, as new process-mapping tools and techniques are constantly introduced.
Over the course of their careers, business process analysts will work with individuals from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. As such, they must be able to form productive relationships with a wide range of people, many of whom may have very different opinions about process management and business optimization. Interdepartmental collaboration is a core part of the profession, so it’s important to hone interpersonal abilities and practice active listening skills before stepping into the role.
While similar to interpersonal competencies, communication skills focus on tailoring information to meet the needs of different stakeholders. For example, business process analysts might prioritize the technical aspects of a new IT deployment when speaking with system administrators, but focus on costs and process improvements when pitching their solutions to C-suite executives. Ultimately, business process analysts must be able to interpret and explain performance data and other business metrics for a variety of different audiences.
Business Process Analyst Career Path
Pursuing a business process analyst career path typically requires students and mid-career professionals to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and experience in real-world contexts. Generally speaking, individuals in this profession begin by earning a bachelor’s in business management or another relevant business degree.
After graduating, some students immediately seek out entry-level positions, while others move onto advanced business degree programs. For example, a Master of Science in Business Analytics can provide the business acumen, process knowledge and IT expertise that applicants need to stand out to potential employers. While there isn’t a set career roadmap for becoming a business process analyst, most companies prioritize candidates with years of experience and specific business-related competencies.
One way for professionals to show potential employers their knowledge and experience is to become certified. A number of certification institutions exist, including the International Qualification Board for Business Analytics (IQBBA), the Project Management Institute (PMI), and the IIBA, which offers the Certification in Business Data Analytics (IIBA-CBDA) and the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP), among others.
Business Process Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
As a profession, business process analysts are in high demand thanks to the acceleration of digital transformation and the need for new global partnerships. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of business process analysts — categorized as management analysts — is expected to grow 11% between 2019 and 2029. This is significantly faster than the average for all occupations. In terms of salary, business process analysts earned a median annual wage of $87,660 in May 2020, according to the BLS, with the highest 10% taking home more than $156,840.
Launch your business process analyst career with an MSBA from University of Nevada, Reno
Whether you’re an aspiring business student or an established professional, an online Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) from University of Nevada, Reno can help you develop the knowledge, skills and experience to become a successful business process analyst. This 30-credit-hour MSBA degree focuses on both the fundamentals of data science and specialized learning areas within the field of business analysis.
Through courses such as Applied Data Science and Predictive Modeling and Data Mining, students learn how organizations use big data to drive smarter IT and managerial decisions, leverage business metrics to improve performance and conduct detailed process modeling to ensure maximum efficiency.