Business intelligence analysts are responsible for collating and analysing data to identify patterns and predict future trends, which inform short-term and long-term business decisions.
As a business intelligence analyst or business analyst, your duties entail developing methodologies to analyse data, complex data modelling, and reporting to senior management.
Your technical ability and sense of business acumen will create valuable insights, which will become the driving forces behind every aspect of the business or organisation – from streamlining services to initiatives to boost sales.
As a business intelligence analyst, you will typically be responsible for:
- Reviewing and improving data collation processes.
- Assessing the validity and accuracy of data collected.
- Meeting with external and internal stakeholders to find aspects of the business that could benefit from intelligence analysis.
- Keeping up to date on laws and policies concerning data collection and processing.
- Utilising data processing software and researching new software packages.
- Finding data anomalies and issues with data collection strategies which contribute to the collection of unreliable data.
- Identifying ways to streamline processes and increase efficiency.
- Identifying trends in buying patterns, product performance and customer behaviour.
- Liaising with IT departments regarding data storage systems.
- The starting salary of a junior business intelligence analyst is £32,419 per year.
- The average salary of a business intelligence analyst is £46,446 per year.
- The earning potential of a senior business intelligence analyst is £61,078 per year.
Business intelligence analysts typically work 37.5 hours per week, from 9 am to 5 pm; however, overtime is occasionally required. Due to the demanding nature of the profession, a certain degree of flexibility is required, and part-time roles aren’t commonly available.
What to Expect
- Business intelligence analysts undertake a dynamic set of duties, largely revolving around working with vast volumes of data and extrapolating valuable information.
- The role can be stressful and challenging. However, it is a rewarding role for the right candidates who feel comfortable handling quantitative data; many business analysts report positively on their work-life balance.
- You may need to travel between local, regional, and international sites within the organisation.
- The demand for business intelligence analysts is growing in the UK; over the next decade, it has been forecasted that there will be 284,100 new roles.
- Competition for analyst roles is high, and they don’t typically tend to be entry-level positions.
Most business intelligence analysts hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in business intelligence, data science, business administration, economics, or a relevant computer science field.
Many employers indicate a preference towards candidates who have a solid foundation in mathematics and statistics, and some will strongly favour candidates with an MBA in business administration. However, master’s degrees aren’t always required if the candidate holds professional certifications or sufficient work experience.
Ideally, your educational background, in addition to your work experience and sense of business acumen, should prove proficiency in programming and advanced database interrogation.
As a business intelligence analyst, you will need:
- To be proficient in analysing large sets of data to extract meaningful insights.
- Technical expertise and proficiency in popular database systems, such as Oracle and SQL.
- Advanced Excel skills, including an ability to use complex formulas.
- Familiarity with programming languages, business intelligence tools, and data modelling techniques.
- Confidence in your problem-solving skills.
- Creative and critical thinking skills to enable you to approach issues with a questioning and logical mind.
- A sharp attention to detail.
- Strong written and verbal communication skills which allow you to convey complex insights and liaise with stakeholders who may not have a strong technical background.
- The ability to understand business processes, objectives, and strategies.
- Time management and resource allocation skills which allow you to effectively manage projects and deadlines.
- An understanding of data protection laws – especially when handling sensitive information.
- A willingness to keep up with the latest trends in data analytics and business intelligence technologies.
- To be comfortable with collaboration and teamwork.
- The ability to handle sensitive data responsibly and ethically.
To create a solid foundation for a career in business intelligence, candidates will typically need work experience which hones their data analysis skills, technical proficiency, and business understanding.
The common roles used as stepping stones into the industry include data analyst, junior business analyst, database administrator, database developer, market research analyst, IT support analyst, financial analyst, statistical analyst, operations analyst, and reporting analyst roles.
As with many technical roles, the career prospects for business intelligence analysts are incredibly promising. There is no shortage of pathways for specialisation and advancement once experience has been gained and skills have been demonstrated. Areas in which BI analysts can specialise include marketing analytics, healthcare analytics, and financial analytics.
In addition to progressing into senior, manager, lead and strategic roles, BI analysts can consider careers in data science, business intelligence consultancy, or becoming a business intelligence architect, director of analytics, product manager, or chief data officer.
These career paths reflect the increasing importance of data-driven decision-making in business and the diverse opportunities available for people skilled in business intelligence and analytics.
Business Intelligence Analysts are employed across a wide range of sectors. Some of the main employers include:
- Healthcare, including the NHS and private healthcare providers.
- Financial services, such as insurance companies, investment firms and banks.
- Telecommunication and technology companies.
- Government and the public sector.
- E-commerce companies and large retail brands.
- Logistical and manufacturing companies.
- Entertainment companies.
- Research and education institutions.
- Utility companies.
While some BI analysts work directly for companies and organisations, others work on behalf of specialised data analytic firms to lend their expertise and skills to various clients and businesses. There is also plenty of scope for BI analysts to work on a freelance basis after gaining experience within the industry.
The MSc Information Technology with Data Analytics course at UWS London is the ideal educational foundation for aspiring business intelligence analysts.
The key modules include business data communication and networks, database design, and information systems analysis. The 1-year degree includes specialised pathway modules in data analysis and visualisation, data mining and business intelligence, which are directly relevant to business analyst roles.
The course also offers modules such as IT strategy and management, which enhances strategic business acumen. The master’s project provides an opportunity for practical application and in-depth research, further solidifying the skills needed for a career in business intelligence.