“Analyst,” sounds like an expensive word. Something accessible only to big companies. Useful, sure. Probably. But inaccessible.
The truth isn’t so simple. Data and the people who analyze it are used by businesses of every level to improve operations and help maximize profits. Some companies have analysts on staff at all times, while others employ their services on a freelance basis.
In this article, we look at how analysts can improve your operations and help improve profits.
What is an Analyst?
At the most basic level, an analyst is someone who analyzes large swaths of information, looking for the story that it tells. They work with data, and often with people, to produce answers to the questions that are most important for businesses.
Sometimes large companies will have a full-time roster of analysts, while many more businesses will hire them on a freelance basis, in response to a specific problem, or question.
Below we look at several different types of analysts that your business may benefit from.
You’re on the brink of making a large business move. Launching a new product. Maybe acquiring a competitor. But before you barrel ahead, you want projections. You want a good idea of how your decision will play out economically if you go ahead.
Sure. Who wouldn’t? But if you’re suggesting I hire out the services of a crystal ball—
Ha! No. An economic analyst will do just as well. They may not be able to peer into the future, but they can use your financial information to make accurate and effective predictions about the financial sensibility of a large business decision.
Using this information, they can advise you on how and when to make your big moves. You still call the shots, of course, but the economic analyst takes a great deal of the guesswork out of the decision-making process.
Your business is in the process of purchasing a competitor. You’re excited. This is the most aggressive move towards expansion that you have ever made. Your economic analyst has already given you a solid breakdown of the numbers. Those are looking solid.
If the numbers hold true, this will be a sound investment that sets you up for big things in the next years to come.
But what about logistically? What is it going to feel like to be an employee at this now much bigger business?
This is a serious question for you. You care deeply about your employees, and you want this transition to be as smooth as possible for them. What do you do?
You might hire a business analyst.
The business analyst will go in and identify potential pain points. Problems that exist now, and issues that might become aggravated when your business expands. They will look at your numbers. Talk to your staff. Identify the story that emerges in the process.
From there, they will recommend specific solutions that will help your business navigate what is to come with grace.
And of course, you don’t need to be in the middle of an enormous transition to require a business analyst’s services. Businesses of every size bring hire them on a freelance basis for help with their problems.
It’s two years later. You acquired that competitor. The transition went well. You are more profitable than ever, and your staff is happy. Two years in, however, you feel that your business doesn’t operate with quite the same grace that it used to.
Communication can be challenging. Information bounces around from department to department. Sometimes it comes out the other end changed. Like a game of telephone. You think things could be—should be— going a little bit smoother. You bring in an operational analyst.
The operational analyst is there to analyze your operational efficiency. For example, maybe in this case, your business could benefit from an improved tech stack. Software that gives each department the tools that they need while still allowing them to interact with one another quickly and with grace.
So, you’re saying I should pay for the software and I should pay for someone to pick it out for me? I’m not really the ‘personal shopper,’ type.
It does sound a little lavish if you put it that way. But there are good reasons to at least consider this route. Tech-driven business solutions can be very complicated. Particularly for someone who doesn’t have a background in tech.
Most tools look the same from the outside. An ERM is an ERM. A billing platform is a billing platform. And so on. They might even do approximately the same things as their competitors. But they won’t all work together gracefully.
Left to your own devices, you might acquire great billing software, and great sales management software that, independently, are awesome. However, it happens that the programs you chose can’t organically sync up. This leads to what software industry folks call “information siloes.” Basically, instead of having one master set of data, you have ten little pockets of it scattered throughout your business.
This makes it difficult to long term strategic work. It also just makes it harder for your departments to interact and communicate with one another. The operational analyst may be able to help you find a solution that checks all of your boxes.
No wasted money. NO wasted time as you realize you’ve had your staff train to learn a tool that’s really not right for them.
Follow TechStrange for more Technology, Business, and Digital Marketing News.