What is a Business Intelligence Analyst?

Business intelligence analysts evaluate complex data from internal and external sources to provide insights for decision makers and facilitate the solving of business problems. They identify and interpret data trends and patterns to locate influential, mitigating and variable factors. They generate customized reports containing analyses of business needs, operational trends, data elements, potential risks and favorable opportunities. These operations research analysts often participate in consultations or act as members of cross functional teams who resolve specific business issues, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Business Intelligence Analyst – Operations

Business intelligence analysts who deal with operations or production will be responsible for designing analytic solutions through gathering report requirements, understanding technical limitations and documenting business processes. They handle random data requests and assist with daily production reports. For example, they may use warehouse information management systems to extract and translate data into logistical trends and opportunities. These business intelligence analysts may create user dashboards, group scorecards and customized reporting solutions through creating SQL database solutions.

They may independently work with operations managers and production supervisors to collect data on outputs and deliverables. They may also work with customers to understand and address their data needs and reporting requirements. These business intelligence analysts may engage IT teams and stakeholders to ensure that data solutions, technical requirements and information system development are well documented. They perform data mining, trend modeling, predictive analysis and statistical forecasting to support decision capabilities.

Business Intelligence Analyst – Supply Chain Management

A business intelligence analyst who works in the field of supply chain management will track and trend complex logistical data. They will utilize logistical data gathered from shipping, transportation and customs brokerage companies. They work with clients to understand their specific data needs, and then they collaborate with various departments and functional roles to create specific query and reporting capabilities. They will translate information requirements into SQL queries, Access reports and Excel pivot tables.

These business intelligence will take ownership of assigned reporting projects by providing follow-up communication on deliverables until requirements are met. They may design and develop new solutions for enterprise data management, departmental business intelligence and data warehousing projects. They must have strong applied mathematics skills in areas like statistics, SQL databases and computer programming. Most employers will want them to have experience with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).

Business Intelligence Degree

Many online colleges now offer new degrees in business intelligence or analytics management. These degrees will teach students about the methods and technologies used to help companies gather, store, analyze and report key data to drive business decisions. Students will learn about designing and developing databases, data mining solutions and data warehouses that contribute to business intelligence efforts. These programs will introduce students to numerical models, Internet analytics, optimization modeling and operational data interpretation.

Classes on business analysis introduce students to the tasks and techniques used to systematically streamline data structures, operations and processes. These classes explore common approaches to data collection, needs assessment, root cause analysis and organizational functions. Classes on applied analytics examine modeling techniques, such as linear programming, break-even analysis, sensitivity analysis and simulation models. Internet analytics courses focus on how to interpret data to support decision-making. Students also take classes in business intelligence databases and managerial applications.

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Business intelligence analysts should be familiar with data visualization tools, organizational metrics, workflow analysis and project management techniques. Employers will hire business intelligence analysts who have degrees in data management, information technology and computer science.