Increased salary potential. Exciting career opportunities. Heightened job security.
These are just some of the many reasons why becoming a business intelligence analyst may appeal to you. Beyond the personal benefits, entering the role of a business intelligence consultant also gives you the opportunity to make a tremendous impact at your company, within the industry and on the marketplace at large.
Consider Renu Energy Solutions, for example. A mid-sized enterprise founded in 2010, Renu relied on spreadsheets to analyze data and create data visualizations. Renu business intelligence manager John Sheldon wanted a better solution that unified and blended data to efficiently generate meaningful insights. Sheldon decided on Zoho Analytics, which works in tandem with Zoho’s CRM and project management tools to bring Renu’s data into one place and provide a comprehensive view of the company.
Thanks to Sheldon’s initiative, Renu now completes deals in under 50 days rather than their previous 80-day turnaround time. This has greatly improved customer satisfaction, reflected in an influx of five-star reviews for Renu. The BI tool can provide data on sales agents to their managers, Sheldon explains, “like which specific salesperson has a better understanding of customers on the coast rather than the mountains. They can then assign that rep to take care of the coast specifically. These insights give a clear picture of the performance of all our sales reps.”
Sheldon and Renu Energy Solutions show the remarkable positive difference a BI consultant can make for a company and their customers. Consider what a career as a business analyst may look like and some of the primary reasons to think about becoming a BI analyst in 2024.
What is a BI analyst?
Business intelligence (BI) analysts work with data to produce meaningful insights for an organization. Their roles generally include collecting, organizing and analyzing data in order to create insights and data visualizations that can empower the company towards more successful outcomes. Their findings may pertain to sales, marketing, operations or advertising.
Any area of a company that produces data can benefit from the perspective and observations of a qualified business intelligence consultant or analyst.
What are the roles and responsibilities of a BI analyst?
The roles and responsibilities of a business intelligence analyst may include:
- Collecting, cleaning and organizing company data so it is useful for analysis
- Analyzing data to answer specific questions about organizational performance
- Producing reports that feature visualizations and clear insights
- Collaborating with team members to identify company needs and leverage data to create a plan for meeting them
In short, anywhere that data can be found and leveraged for the sake of a company’s success, a BI analyst can have a role. Their ability to assess market trends and communicate their findings clearly and effectively makes the business intelligence consultant invaluable in nearly every area of industry.
What skills do you need to become a BI analyst?
Business intelligence analysts need to understand many aspects of working with data, including modeling, analysis, preparation, mining and visualization. A business intelligence consultant’s technical skills must also include database management and reporting. They will likely need to be skilled in statistical programming languages, machine learning and coding.
In addition to these technical skills, BI analysts need to develop a range of soft skills, such as active listening, critical thinking and problem solving. They need to be able to work both independently and as a collaborator. Lastly, BI analysts need strong written and verbal communication skills, as they will regularly be called upon to explain and present their uncovered data insights.
Where do BI analysts work?
BI analysts conduct data analysis and present key insights in just about every professional setting. From privately-owned organizations to public companies and nonprofit agencies to government offices, BI analysts are working to make the most of the data their workplace generates through stronger sales, improved risk management and streamlined processes.
Some of the professional settings where business intelligence analysts work include:
- Financial services and banking
- Health care
- Intelligence agencies like the FBI, NSA and CIA
- Human resources
- Nonprofit organizations
- Real estate
- Information security
So many industries are actively hiring business intelligence consultants, which makes the role a great fit for individuals with work experience in any given field. Through training in data analysis and business intelligence, such professionals can advance their careers in their given field or become prepared to make an industry change.
Reasons to become a BI analyst in 2024
There are many reasons to consider a career as a business intelligence consultant, given the dynamics of the modern marketplace. Technology is always developing, so the opportunity for BI analysts to collect, analyze and present data in meaningful ways will continue to evolve as well. More and more leaders are understanding the power of data, too, which leads to greater opportunities and respect in the workplace for business intelligence analysts. As more and more organizations work to become truly data-driven, the demand for qualified BI analysts will only increase.
While there are many reasons to consider a career as a BI analyst, there are three that especially stand out:
- Exciting career opportunities
- Good salaries and job security
- Job satisfaction through professional development and problem solving
Exciting career opportunities
Just like there are many industries that employ BI analysts, there are a variety of jobs within those industries that BI analysts can fill. Those roles may include:
- Market research analyst: these professionals study and project sales and marketing trends to facilitate data-driven company decisions
- Business consultant (also called management consultant or management analyst): either working within a specific company or contracted to work with various clients, business consultants gather data through interviews, records and documentation and then recommend new systems, processes or changes to help an organization thrive
- Operations research analyst: through research, assessments and data analysis, operations research analysts help companies make informed, logical decisions and solve problems
Other titles that may be used for business intelligence consultants include business intelligence manager, business analyst and data analyst. Leadership titles in business intelligence may include director of business intelligence and analytics, director of risk analytics and policy or chief analytics officer.
Good salaries and job security
The salary potential and job outlook for professionals trained in business intelligence are quite favorable compared to other professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the annual mean wage for all Americans in 2021 was $58,260. They predict an average growth rate of five percent for all occupations between 2020 and 2030.
When it comes to business intelligence roles, the BLS lists the following 2021 median salaries and 2020–2030 job growth predictions:
- Market research analysts: $63,920 and 19 percent
- Operations research analysts: $82,360 and 23 percent
- Management analysts: $93,000 and 11 percent
Ongoing professional development and problem solving
The potential for business intelligence to further enhance every area of industry is great. Since new BI tools and techniques are regularly introduced to the marketplace, business intelligence consultants never face a shortage of things to discover, explore or try. This makes business intelligence a great profession for individuals who love to learn, have a lot of curiosity and enjoy finding new ways to solve old problems.
For these reasons and more, U.S. News & World Report ranks several business intelligence roles highly on their lists of the best jobs:
- Market research analyst: #4 in Best Business Jobs, #14 in 100 Best Jobs
- Operations research analyst: #5 in Best Business Jobs, #15 in 100 Best Jobs
- Management analyst: #6 in Best Business Jobs, #17 in 100 Best Jobs
Become a Business Analyst with an online Doctorate of Business Administration in Business Intelligence from Marymount University
Do you want to collect, mine and analyze data to create meaningful insights that help your organization meet and even surpass its KPIs? Are you passionate about presenting data in clear, actionable and visually appealing ways?
If so, the online Doctorate of Business Administration in Business Intelligence from Marymount University may be the ideal next step for your career. As a 100 percent online program, the DBA in BI is designed for working professionals who want to enhance their careers without pausing them. The curriculum includes coursework in high-demand skills like data visualization, data strategy and artificial intelligence.
The DBA in Business Intelligence offers intakes in both fall and spring. This cost-effective program can be completed in just under three years.
Graduates of the DBA in BI are prepared to work as agile leaders in various professional settings. The expert faculty members who lead the program teach using applied research so that students learn to effect practical change in real-world marketplace scenarios. With coursework and the dissertation writing process integrated from the beginning of the program, students are set up to succeed and graduate.
Receive an interdisciplinary education in business, innovation, leadership and technology and become a business intelligence expert with an online DBA in BI from Marymount University.