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A business intelligence analyst works with data assets and data mining processes on the key concept of business intelligence or insights.
Over time, as technology world evolves, there's the growing mentality that data is one of a company's biggest assets, and that by utilizing certain systems and processes, companies can glean valuable business intelligence to guide decision-making and improve business process results.
A business intelligence analyst is a front-line worker in this exciting field.
Part of understanding how a business intelligence analyst works involves knowing the context of how business intelligence evolved over the last two decades.
First, we had the big data revolution – the unprecedented idea that with smaller storage media and more capable systems, we could warehouse enormous amounts of information, and sift through it to get actionable business insights. The sheer volume of data available led to many big advances in business analysis.
The cloud era took this even further, with web-delivered services that make it easier to work with data to find these insights.
Now, in the new age of artificial intelligence, we have automation engines that can find these insights on their own, with business intelligence analysts playing more of a managerial role. Think of BI tools as “decision support technologies” is a useful way to look at this trend.
Business intelligence analysts need to know how to use traditional tools to work with the systems that will give them the business intelligence insights that they need. That's why you'll see companies asking for BI analysts who understand the use of SQL as a query language, or vendor systems like Cognos, or data handling technologies based on Hadoop clusters, not to mention evolved tools that may run in virtual environments.
In many ways, the business intelligence analyst can be considered a “quant” specializing in business intelligence. They'll know the systems, the use cases and the context for these developing technologies and processes.