May 2, 2024

Business Intelligence Analysts, what are they?


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Business Intelligence Analysts, what are they?

** This blog contains no AI-content! Not because we’re H-AI-TERS, but rather my experience of performing the Business Intelligence Analyst role at world-leading companies tells me that, for now, I am still stronger than the machine. Here we are and enjoy! **

So, you want to know about the Business Intelligence Analyst role, eh? 

Business Intelligence Analyst—I mean, it’s a role that sounds fairly nebulous. One might expect that when you inquire about such a role, someone who holds it might describe their position with a casual “I’m good at stuff.” To be fair, I was probably guilty of using this line half a decade or so ago. 

So let’s dig in and I’ll showcase with a well-constructed example what a Business Intelligence Analyst is and how it impacts your business. 

Let us begin. 

Have you ever made small talk outside of work with a stranger? 

I’ll bet the answer is yes, and whether it’s speed dating, a networking event, or a discussion with a new acquaintance you will inevitably, and in the first five minutes, be asking or answering THE QUESTION

“What do you do for work?” 

To this vocation-based inquiry, the initial answer is *usually* simple, as follows:

THEM- “Hey Dustin, what do you do for work?” 

ME - “I create Data-driven Experiences for small and medium businesses through Business Intelligence, Marketing, and white-glove Content Writing.” 

Cue the followup’s growing complexity, again as follows: 

THEM: “Oh, awesome, so what does a typical day look like doing that?” 

ME: “I run the business. So, uhh… there’s a lot to it… [insert conversational riposte followed by an awkward exit while nodding, smiling, and motioning that I need a refill of the invisible glass and or bottle to which I am pretending to hold]”. 

I’m not winning the “Most Adept Conversationalist” award anytime soon, I get it. 

Now, for most people that’s how it goes. You search your brain for what the job description was when you applied and try to retrace your steps, because you have inevitably become interwoven into the chaos that is business. 


For people with a Business Intelligence-led business however, the follow up answer is actually simpler than the first - my canned response is as follows: 

ME - “As a leader in the business, I review the key metrics of the business and respond with reactive and proactive solutions.” 

And the best part is that the same canned response can and should be used by not only the business leadership, but by everyone in the business. Go ahead and try for yourself - also, you’re welcome for making you the conversational highlight in your next stranger interaction. 

ANYONE - “As a [insert position] in the business, I review the key metrics of [insert department] and respond with reactive and proactive solutions.” 

What does this have to do with Business Intelligence Analysts? 

Let's see! 

The Business Intelligence Analyst Role

Part 1 - Key Metrics
“As a [position] in the business, I review key metrics…”

”Key Business Metrics are the medium through which your business communicates its needs with you.”

Key Metrics are a language that most businesses are either incapable of speaking altogether or that those in the business would be described as ‘less than fluent’. Business Intelligence Analysts, and the team that works with them, have one primary goal: Create a business language worth speaking.

Recall the level of discomfort in the engagement I described at the start of this post.
Now imagine your boss walks up to you, at random, and asks you for some key piece of information that they falsely remember asking you for a week prior. Your response is either to provide a blubbering swath of information that might hit the mark, or to back up slowly while smiling, nodding, and motioning at an invisible water bottle. 

At that moment, what you need is a Business Intelligence Analyst. 

I have personally been involved in countless implementations of our Business Intelligence platform of choice, DOMO. During the implementation phase the absolute largest and most important piece of work is to help the business come to an understanding of their Key Metrics, and to create a language surrounding these metrics that everyone can speak. We then take these metrics and provide them into dashboards, alerts, and reports that are at your fingertips every morning, noon, and night. 

No more awkward boss interactions (who am I kidding… these are just fewer). 

So what are your business’s Key Metrics?

Are they Annual Recurring Revenue, Monthly Recurring Revenue, Revenue-Per-Person, Customer Churn Rate, Process Breakdown Rates, Team Performance, Inventory Turnover, Actual Spend vs. Budget, Year-over-Year profitability, etc.

When looking at Key Business Metrics, a Business Intelligence Analyst will find it vitally important to understand what it is these metrics represent, and then determine a means of representing these metrics back to those who need them… and only those who need them. These folks have an intimate understanding of how the business is arriving at conclusions and they are focused on making these conclusions available for conversation and consideration. 


So what do Business Intelligence Analysts do? 

They help the business discover and communicate Key Business Metrics.

What are Key Business Metrics?

Key Business Metrics are the medium through which your business communicates its need to you. 

Want a demo from one of our Founders on how using DOMO can make your team faster, lighter, better, stronger, and other synonyms that my Marketing Department will approve? 

Click here to learn more about Analytics & DOMO.

Part 2 - Proactive and Reactive Decision Making
“… and respond with reactive and proactive solutions.”

”Some decisions are reactive, some are proactive… what is important is that you simply remain active in making decisions..”

When it comes to decision making, most companies are operating at a knowledge deficit. 

With a Business Intelligence Analyst, your team has the means of communicating at the executive, operational, and administrative levels about what the business needs now and in the future. 

The Negative outlook:

That sentence may be simple to read, but the underlying consequences of NOT having that information leads to an absolute nightmare of outcomes: 

  • Poor decision making 
  • Higher customer churn
  • Reduced customer satisfaction
  • Reduced employee satisfaction, and a consequently higher turnover
  • Low capitalization rate on new opportunities
  • Insert Jeff Foxworthy’s bit on the side effects of modern medications

The Positive outlook:

I’m not a fan of those who scare people into taking their services, so let me put a positive spin on this. Employee retention rates go down when information is low, but when information is high, you provide employees with an opportunity to understand how they, personally, can impact the business in a tractional and meaningful way that can be traced back to their efforts. If you’re a journaler like I am, you’ll likely have one heck of a time finding an entry that is titled: “my business knows that what I do is meaningful”.

Quick plug here since I founded the company: this is why we do what we do. 

We bring DOMO’s Business Intelligence Platform into businesses and help them understand how they can leverage data to understand their Key Business Metrics and to create a culture of making both reactive and proactive solutions. Some decisions are naturally reactive, some are proactive. What is important is that you simply remain active in making decisions. That’s what we help people do. 

Learn more about DOMO.

Having a Business Intelligence Analyst on staff or leveraging our amazing Bear Cloud Studios team will give you a superpower! That superpower is the ability to help your team know exactly what to do at any moment to have that “what I did was meaningful and my company knows it” feeling. 

Having a Business Intelligence culture will also allow you to quickly and easily derive solutions to things that may have been out of your control and that have already happened. That is “reactive decision making”

Having a Business Intelligence culture can also help you automatically identify areas of improvement so that you can be proactive in preventing similar events in the future. That is “proactive decision making”. 

A Closing Sentence

Whether your own hand is on the tiller that steers ‘your business’, or you’re an employee that feels like a cog in a vast machine, having Business Intelligence, and more specifically, a Business Intelligence Analyst, will allow your business to flourish in ways that you could never have foreseen. 

From exiting the “reporting hell” that we see in many businesses, to increasing employee satisfaction and retention, having a culture of Business Intelligence is worth your time and consideration. Trust me! I haven’t walked away awkwardly while simultaneously nodding, smiling, and motioning for almost half a decade. 

And I never will again. 

Dustin Heathers


The Bear Cloud Studios
Honesty  Policy

Some of our articles are written using the assistance of generative AI. At Bear Cloud Studios, we make a commitment to always inform you of the use of AI, and to never allow AI-generated content to be published without being verified and edited by us. We stand by everything we publish, whether or not we use AI to help us write it.

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