Have you heard about business intelligence analytics? In articles, you’ll read that business analysts help companies double their revenue and make crucial data-driven decisions. But what do BI Analysts actually do every day at work? Let’s find out.
First of all, what is BI analysis?
In a nutshell, BI analysisBusiness Intelligence Analytics Guide focuses on collecting and processing data, drawing meaningful conclusions, and presenting findings clearly and convincingly. Their goal is to support business decision-makers with evidence-based insights to help companies understand the efficacy of their operations and what they can do to reach new heights.
The three core BI responsibilities
Collecting and cleaning data
Nowadays, even small online businesses have tons of in-house and incoming information to deal with. There are so many facts and figures behind clients, products, services, and sales that it’s easy to drown in this sea of data. The lifeline is a BI analyst who can navigate through databases, sort through the information, and eliminate anything unnecessary.
For example, a company selling soft drinks across the US needs to know how it fared in the first six months of 2023. Their BI team analyzes trends and the company’s performance in various states to help managers decide what and where they should sell more.
BI analysts need to extract data from all available sources such as point-of-sale systems and online platforms. This may include transactions, product details, store locations, customer demographics, and shipping addresses.
Then, the BI analysts clean, transform, and even enrich the data. At this stage, they correct all the errors, drop irrelevant info, change formats, and, if necessary, add extra information like weather, population, or competition.
When handled properly, data is a great source of insights that can help companies overcome obstacles, avoid pitfalls, and work more efficiently. But raw data will do none of that. This is again where BI analysts come in. Knowing the needs and goals of the businesses they work for, they decipher the data stored in spreadsheets to evaluate performance and offer actionable solutions.
Going back to our example, the next step for the BI analyst would be to analyze the data behind the soft drinks. Here, they look into the figures in the cleaned spreadsheets to draw meaningful conclusions about the sales, regions, groups of customers, etc.
Visualizing and presenting results
When you work with numbers, it can be easy to forget that many of your colleagues and managers do not. Rows and columns of data that make perfect sense to you may mean next to nothing to them. And this is what BI analysts are hired to do in the first place — to transform “boring” data into eye-catching and compelling reports and presentations. These normally feature dashboards and charts made using software products such as Tableau and Power BI.
So, returning to our example of soft drinks, BI analysts need to do two things during the final stage.
First, they build an interactive dashboard with maps, graphs, and bar charts summarizing their findings. It’s a clickable illustration where you can toggle between views and choose the parameters you need.
Once they have that, they share the insights with their colleagues. They present market opportunities and methods of improving sales.
What you can expect as a BI analyst: daily tasks
Like any other job, the workday of a BI analyst may vary depending on the type of business they work for, the tasks at hand, and many other factors. But some things tend to be more or less the same. A BI analyst’s day is usually made up of a good deal of communication, data preparation, analysis, and visualizationThe Skills You Need to Work in Business Intelligence Analytics. But let’s get more specific.
Communication (10–40% of the working day)
The job of a BI analyst is to help businesses grow. To do that, they need to have their finger on the pulse of their company’s operations. Hence, they often run weekly and daily meetings with the analytics team as well as colleagues from other departments.
Most of the communication is done during the initial project phases as they gather and prepare data. Besides briefings and brainstorms, they also have calls with managers and stakeholders for status updates.
The eventual presentation of findings is another (and probably the most crucial) stage of the entire project. And naturally, in a modern-day workplace, exchanging emails is a key part of the job.
Preparing data (25–50% of the working day)
After all the talking and messaging, the practical work begins. BI analysts collect data pertinent to their task from all available sources and communication channels.
The next step is to arrange and manipulate the data in spreadsheets. Luckily, most of the time, they don’t have to do this manually. SQL, a simple programming language, helps them manage even the largest of databases.
This data then needs cleaning. In simple terms, this process can be described as editing out the info that may be incorrect or irrelevant. Having done that, they now have workable datasets. Now, they need to be examined.
Analyzing data (25–50% of the working day)
Upon completing the more technical phases, BI analysts need to analyze what they have. Basically, they are detectives looking for clues to solve a mystery. They must piece together the evidence and find an answer.
Once they’ve explored the data and found the answers they were looking for, it’s time to make their findings shine.
Visualizing data (10 - 30% of the working day)
Finally, they tell a story of what they found and support their insights with data-based illustrations. To do that, they visualize their conclusions and unite the visuals in a report.
This presentation can go a long way in boosting the decision-making at a company. Once the right decision has been made, it’s time to bask in praise before getting down to another assignment.
How to become a BI analyst
And best of all, none of this is out of your reach. To start working in BI analytics, you don’t necessarily need a college degree. Learning BI analysis is one of the fastest and easiest ways to break into tech, not least because there’s hardly any coding involved.
TripleTen’s four-month Business Intelligence Analytics bootcamp is a great way to launch a new career in tech. It’s online and part-time, meaning you don’t have to put your life on hold while studying. Guided by our career mentors, you will build a spectacular portfolio of projects, meaning you will be prepared to land your first job in tech.
If you're ready to delve into a fulfilling career in BI analytics, book a call with one of our advisors to find out more and sign up for the course.