How To Become a Business Systems Analyst (BSA) in 2022
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With the digitization of the workplace and the rise of remote work, organizations are more than ever looking for ways to improve the way they work. In practice, this means ensuring that their teams are using the e best tools for the job, that the processes and procedures implemented are as effective and efficient as possible, and that the technology a company invests in aligns with its business goals.
Cue business systems analysts. As experts in both IT systems and understanding the needs of businesses, BSAs are tech-savvy strategists who act as the liaisons between the business side of an organization and the technologies and services employed. The profession has become integral to improving business processes and increasing productivity, which is why BSAs are in high demand, with competitive salaries, solid job growth over the coming years, and diverse opportunities across all sectors.
What Is a Business Systems Analyst (BSA)?
To understand the role of a business systems analyst, it’s important to first understand what constitutes a “business system.” Business systems encompass everything from software and hardware to processes, procedures, and workflows—in other words, all the ways in which people communicate, collaborate and get things done within an organization.
Business systems analysts, also known as computer systems analysts or systems analysts, are information technology professionals who gather and analyze business systems-related data to determine where improvements can be made. At their core, BSAs are technical, analytical, and empathetic problem solvers who can help identify business problems and needs, develop data-backed solutions, and help organizations make those improvements while staying within budget and satisfying stakeholders.
What Does a Business Systems Analyst Do?
The roles and responsibilities of a business systems analyst can differ greatly depending on the organization or team they join, the project they’re working on, and whether they work in-house for a company or are brought on as consultants.
Business Systems Analyst Job Description
The core function of a business systems analyst is to help organizations be more effective and efficient at what they do. This often looks different from company to company, team to team.
For example, in a Google job listing for a business systems analyst in its human resources division, the company seeks a BSA who can help it create an end-to-end onboarding experience for new hires that’s timely, secure, and scalable. This role requires subject matter expertise in HR-related processes, systems, and integration; collaboration with engineers and platform teams; and comfort with using first- and third-party technology.
In comparison, a BSA role within Deloitte’s banking-as-a-service team lists broader responsibilities that include conducting relevant research and data analysis, supporting the assessment of business value, and identifying opportunities for efficiencies.
Business Systems Analyst Roles and Responsibilities
A consistent responsibility listed across most BSA job postings is the ability to problem-solve and find ways for an organization to work more effectively, whether it be through overhauling old systems, keeping a finger on the pulse of relevant industry trends, analyzing and understanding how people within a team or organization currently work, and what tools—hardware, software, or new systems—are needed to make them more efficient.
Many BSAs are responsible for the end-to-end implementation of technology solutions, which means that project management, budget design, communicating developments to managers, and accepting feedback from stakeholders all fall within their purview.
BSA Salary Expectation
The importance of BSAs to companies is reflected in their compensation, where the average salary of BSAs in the United States is around $85,344, according to Glassdoor.
The average entry-level BSA makes around $61,000 a year, while some senior BSAs earn closer to $167,000.
How Can You Become a BSA?
There isn’t a set path to becoming a business systems analyst, although there are certain qualifications and skills that recruiters often look for when hiring BSAs.
BSA Qualifications and Education
Business systems analysts typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in IT/information systems, business administration, or a related field such as economics, finance, accounting, psychology, computer science, and mathematics. Additionally obtaining a data analytics certificate can be really valuable too. It’s not unusual for analysts to also hold a master’s degree such as an MBA.
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Business Systems Analyst Skills
In addition to strong communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills, employers most often look for BSAs with experience in the following areas:
- Systems analysis. This involves studying a process or procedure, breaking it down to its components, and understanding how those components work together to achieve their purpose. The latter part of this requires strong empathy and communication because BSAs need to anticipate how team members might react to or use a new system, explain their decisions, and persuade stakeholders to adopt the changes they recommend. Through systems analysis, BSAs can identify strengths and weaknesses within an organization’s systems and suggest improvements.
- Project management. Many BSAs are responsible for the end-to-end overhaul and implementation of business systems, including setting budgets, preparing detailed reports, researching business procedures, and communicating developments to managers and department heads. The ability to manage a project to meet deadlines and budgets while ensuring that all stakeholders remain in the loop is an important skill for any BSA.
- Business administration. Business administration encompasses a range of qualitative and “soft skills” that enable a person to fluidly move between executive teams, managers, technical teams, and other professionals. This is a particularly important skill for BSAs because much of the job involves communicating problems and forthcoming changes to stakeholders, offering and accepting feedback on processes, giving effective pitches and presentations, and being able to show how a decision or change aligns with a business’s goals.
- Data analysis. BSAs are expected to dive into data to identify business trends and customer behavior quite similar like a data analyst, and support their recommendations with the help of data.
Tips for Finding a Business Systems Analyst Job
A few other factors improve a candidate’s shot at landing a job as a BSA. Check out our tips for finding a business systems analyst job below.
- Highlight relevant training. While many employers look for candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree at a minimum, it’s worth highlighting any relevant training you’ve received that gives you a competitive edge. For example, if you’ve completed an online bootcamp in data analytics that has equipped you with both the technical and business skills to thrive as a BSA, make sure hiring managers know about it. Training such as bootcamps and other online courses show potential employers that you’re proactive and engaged, and the capstone projects and portfolios produced through bootcamps can help show off your capabilities.
- Get certified. Organizations such as the Institute for Certificate of Computing Professionals and the Institute of Management Consultants provide certifications for IT management, business, and data professionals. Depending on the certification, candidates have to pass exams that demonstrate a high level of technical knowledge in order to become certified. While this is optional for BSAs, hiring managers often narrow their searches for candidates based on who hold certifications, giving certified BSAs a leg-up.
Business Systems Analyst FAQ
Still, have questions about the role of a business systems analyst? Check out our answers below to some of the most frequently asked questions about BSAs.
What Is the Difference Between Business Systems Analysts and Business Analysts?
The difference between business systems analysts and business analysts can be confusing because there is often overlap between the roles and, at some organizations, the titles are used interchangeably. However, at many companies, these are distinctly different positions.
Business systems analysts tend to have a stronger focus on the technical systems within a business; think software, hardware, and the various services and tools that enable collaboration and project management.
Business analysts, on the other hand, cover a broader scope. Where BSAs typically have a background in information technology, BAs often have a background in business. Their work might at times dip into the technological needs of an organization, but they predominantly evaluate business needs and design high-level solutions that may not have technical components.
Is a System Analyst the Same as a Business Systems Analyst?
Yes. These job titles are often used interchangeably. Some organizations also refer to BSAs as business technology analysts, computer systems analysts, or information technology analysts.
Can You Get a Business System Analyst Job With No Experience?
The short answer is yes. Some organizations require prior BSA employment experience, particularly for more senior roles. However, many entry-level positions prioritize experience with BSA-related skills. For example, a BSA job listing for the investment bank Guggenheim Partners requires that candidates have experience with SQL and/or relational databases, while fintech company SS&C Technologies requires candidates to have experience with process mapping, data analysis, documentation of business cases, and the ability to give presentations and demonstrations to stakeholders.
In other words, many of the skills needed to land an entry-level role as a BSA can be obtained through a college degree, summer course, or online bootcamp—the key is to sign up for training that will both equip you with the required skills and help you graduate with a portfolio of projects that demonstrate your application of those skills.
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