A business data analyst is an individual who collects and assesses data for a business or corporation. There are many different types of businesses, and as such, many different types of data that must be collected and analyzed. As such, the tasks of a person in this position can vary widely from one company to another.
Commonly, companies will collect data on their target market. This means they will learn things about their customers and potential customers. This information must be collected, organized and used to develop advertising campaigns, determine what products are profitable or otherwise focus a company's business efforts on its target market. As such, a business data analyst may compile and analyze data from customer surveys, customer sales records, loyalty programs, focus groups and other such sources of customer information.
It is also common to collect various types of data on the success of a given product or on the cost of a given product. For example, companies may track how much income different products make for them. They may track how much it costs them to purchase a certain type of supply or all their supplies, or how much it costs them to produce a given product.
This data then must be analyzed and put into a useful form. For example, the company may need an overall picture of its cost breakdowns to determine where it is spending money or where its most profitable lines are. A business data analyst would be responsible for producing those numbers and for organizing and determining the value and meaning of the information.
Business data analysts come from a number of different academic backgrounds. Some have degrees in economics, statistics or accounting. Others have degrees in computer science or database administration. Still others have marketing degrees or master's degrees in business (MBAs). Generally, however, the background should be one that provides the analyst with the ability to collect, organize, assess and understand the implications of large amounts of information.
A business data analyst can compile data and prepare reports in a number of different ways. It is common for companies to keep databases of material using programs such as Microsoft Access or Oracle. When material is kept in these databases, the business data analysts will need an understanding of database management principles and will need to be able to run appropriate queries to identify relevant data. The analysts may report their findings on charts, graphs, or in presentation format, and may use Microsoft Excel or other programs that allow for numerical and statistical representations of data.