What is an analyst? Definition and examples

The term analyst has many meanings, depending on the situation. However, in all cases, it is a person who analyzes and specializes in analysis.

In business, an analyst is a person who analyzes an organization or business domain and documents its processes, systems, or business. The analyst may also be somebody who assesses a business’ integration with technology or how it generates revenue.

Business analyst

Business analysts and doctors follow similar routes when going about their work. Imagine the business analyst is the doctor, who examines the company (patient). Like a doctor, they go through a list of possible problems (illnesses). And similarly, they propose a solution (treatment).

A business analyst may cover one or more of these areas:

  • Strategic Planning, which involves identifying the company’s business requirements.
  • Business Model Analysis, when the analyst defines the commercial enterprise’s policies and marketing approaches.
  • Process Design refers to standardizing the company’s workflows.
  • Systems Analysis takes place within the IT (information technology) department. The analyst performs an interpretation of business rules and requirements for technical systems.

Business analysts may also take part in the creation of training development material. In fact, some analysts participate in the training itself, as well as its implementation.

Investment analyst

An investment analyst provides reports and information to help investors make decisions regarding investments. Examples of investors include fund managers, stockbrokers, and stock market traders.

In this role, investment analyst’s research highlights new investment opportunities. Additionally, their research might show when certain funds are beginning to lose some of their value.

Investment analysts need good math, communication, and IT skills. They must enjoy research and analysis and have an interest in financial markets.

To become an investment analyst, you will need to obtain a degree in business or economics first. Most people start off as graduate trainees in a stockbroking firm or investment bank. From graduate trainees they work their way up.

According to The Free Dictionary, investment analysts are: “Persons who conduct research into data relating to the stability and profitability of businesses, especially to guide one’s investing practices. At their most basic, investment analysts look at financial statements to determine if a company is healthy.”

Systems analyst

Systems analysts use computers and related systems to design novel IT solutions and integrate new features or improvements.

They also modify, enhance, or adapt existing systems. Above all, the systems analyst’s aim is to improve **productivity and business efficiency.

**Productivity focuses on quantity while efficiency is more about eliminating wastefulness and maximizing quality.

Systems analysts must:

  • examine the organization’s current IT systems and business models
  • analyze systems requirements
  • embark on product development
  • configure, test and implement feasible solutions

Analysts must liaise between and report to internal and external clients and stakeholders. They must interact with colleagues and other developers throughout the whole development process.

Systems analysts conduct a cost analysis and agree on the timeframe to implement the proposed solution. They also specify and shape the system requirements and operations. And finally, they have to present the proposal to the client.

Research analyst

Research analysts appear in all sectors. What they do depends on where they work. In all cases, they gather market intelligence and present it in a way that all interested parties understand.

Market intelligence is a combination of consultancy and research. Market intelligence helps companies make decisions and set priorities.

Research analysts are experts in their specific sectors. If they work for the Coca-Cola Company, for example, they will be researching the beverage market.

Experts say the best training to become a top research analyst is to work for a market intelligence company. These firms specialize in gathering information and then selling it to clients.

Market intelligence covers a wide range

Some of the major market intelligence firms, such as Datamonitor, cover a vast range of topics. They report on everything from office stationery to car fleets and aircraft. Wood Mackenzie, on the other hand, covers metals and energy, while Gartner & Forrester covers technology.

In each market intelligence firm, individual research analysts have their own patch. Clients come to them for advice and solutions regarding issues in the marketplace.

Top research analysts need to be good at math and know how to make some software programs such as Excel dance and sing. Additionally, they must have good writing skills. However, accuracy and attention to detail matter more than knowing how to write well.

In an article in the Guardian, Stephen Roberts and Harriet Minter make the following comments regarding research analysts:

“If you’re detail-orientated and enjoy being an expert on your sector, then a research analyst job might just suit you.”

“It doesn’t come with a fancy title, and most people won’t know what you do, but for those that do, you’ll be an invaluable part of their business. And for those that don’t know, well, maybe they need to do a little research of their own.”

An analyst could also be a licensed practitioner of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a set of psychotherapeutic and psychological theories and associated techniques.