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A business analyst consultant is a specialist either contracted or hired on a more permanent basis to provide managers with advice. There are various types of business analysts. A business analyst consultant might have specialized knowledge of information technology, supply chains, human resources or any other contributing aspect of business. It is a competitive career, and most successful analysts have a strong background in their specialty area in addition to formal business analyst training.
Many large and successful companies, with their own regular staff of specialized area managers, still hire a business analyst consultant to provide a fresh perspective and develop new ideas and frameworks in cooperation with the full-time manager of a department. In this capacity, his or her work may overlap with that of an auditor to some extent, as one of their usual goals is to identify ways to avert waste and enhance efficiency. Once challenges have been identified, the consultant offers alternative approaches and models for consideration rather than a sole remedy.
Smaller or developing companies tend to rely more strongly on the services of a business analyst consultant, as do enterprises that wish to expand in new directions. In this situation, the advice of a business analyst consultant can be vital to the success or failure of the organization's new venture. For example, companies frequently hire a business analyst consultant with information technology experience to help them reach new suppliers and markets on the Web. A business analyst consultant can sometimes be assigned full projects to manage alone, with little to no direct supervision; for this reason, successful consultants typically have a high degree of self-discipline.
A business analyst consultant operates in a financially rewarding, yet highly competitive, field. Job prospects are likely to be best for those with a technological background, as this is an area in which many traditionally-trained business managers lack expertise. Additionally, many technology professionals employed within companies do not have the management training to recommend ways to best apply technology to business planning. A business analyst consultant, whatever his or her specialty, can help by filling in or bridging such gaps in an organization’s know-how.
A consultant's ability to successfully compete in this field relies strongly on his or her repertoire and educational background. There are several types of business analyst training available. In addition to holding a relevant bachelor's degree, which is a basic requirement for most employment in the field, additional business analyst certifications offered by professional associations can be seen as advantageous. A certified business analyst professional (CBA or CBAP) will often also hold membership in the professional association that granted his or her designation and may benefit from its networks and reputation.