Would you like to know what a Business Analyst does?
According to the International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA) “the Business Analyst is an agent of change. Business Analysis is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organisations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or non-profits”.
Great you say… so what does a Business Analyst actually do then?
Well, as Business Analysts we are essentially here to help resolve problems and to help the business decide where we should put our focus. We are often given a problem or a need, or sometimes even a “solution”, and it’s our job to understand that problem, how big it is and suggest ways we could go about resolving it. It is quite easy for businesses to automatically jump to a solution, so it is our job to find out what the problem actually is and what we are trying to achieve out of it. It could be that the “solution” will not solve everything that we wanted and expected or in some cases the problem we thought we had wasn’t the one we actually face.
One important thing to note is that Business Analyst roles and responsibilities can vary from company to company. You’ll often hear us being referred to under other names such as: (Business) Process Analyst, Problem Analyst or Business Architect. We’re sometimes even incorrectly categorised as Systems Analysts or Product Owners or Data/BI Analysts. The truth is this happens quite regularly as BAs are often hybridised, wearing ‘multiple hats’ at the same time. This is partly as companies may not need a person for each individual role but often as a BA we enjoy ‘tinkering’ and learning new things so it tends to come naturally.
So how does this work in the Rightmove world?
Here at Rightmove, the role does fit within the standard role description above but is also very varied too. This is very much dependent on the project you are working on and which team or teams you are working with. Examples of pieces of analysis you could be doing are:
- Introducing a new piece of functionality on site to help our consumers – homehunters looking on our website – to “find their happy” more easily;
- Implementing something in our customer platforms that would facilitate our customers – resale/lettings estate agents for residential/commercial, new homes developers and overseas agents – to upload property information or;
- Putting a new process in place that will help make daily tasks easier for our internal support teams.
We spend a lot of our time talking to people and asking questions. Probably the most important question for us to ask is “Why?”. Just because something works in a certain way now doesn’t mean it is the right way or the most efficient way, so it’s our job to analyse it and see how we can deliver something with the most value.
What does a typical day look like?
Well, a good day always starts with a healthy dose of caffeine and a podcast on the way to work to get you in a good mood. After all, those processes aren’t going to map themselves!
In reality, a typical day usually includes, but is not limited to:
- Catching up with the product teams and stakeholders on current projects.
- Extracting data from our databases using SQL and analysing it in Excel or PowerBI.
- Creating process flows (As Is & To Be).
- Documenting analysis in a clear manner ready to present to stakeholders.
- Looking at consumer trends in Google Analytics.
- Working on multiple projects at the same time.
While not everyday things, you could also find yourself:
- Running a workshop to gather requirements for a project.
- Building a Proof of Concept to help present your findings back to the business.
- Doing competitor analysis and comparing how other industry-leading tech companies deliver their content and services.
So what qualifications and skills do you need?
Actually, you don’t necessarily need to have any qualifications or a degree to be a Business Analyst – although certifications are out there that you can work towards. What’s important is your experience, your skills, your mindset and your approach to problem-solving. It helps to be:
- Social and willing to engage stakeholders – we live at the intersection of engineering and business so it helps to speak both languages.
There are a lot of transferable skills from other roles such as communication, time and project management, knowledge of Excel etc. that are invaluable to a BA. Whilst SQL and Data Analytics skills are not essential, you will most likely learn them on the job since they are very useful to obtain data insights which are key for understanding the benefits (or otherwise) of change.
What are some of the pieces of analysis that we are proud of?
Ben Smith, Business Analyst – Internal Systems
Providing the analysis and recommendation behind revamping our “new customer joiners” web page to provide a more streamlined and effective journey for our customers. The previous page had not been updated for a while, was very text heavy and not in line with our latest branding. This revamp also introduced a structured contact form so that we were able to get the new customer enquiry to the right team, first time and with all the information needed.
Lucy Fairs, Business Analyst – Consumer
Completing the analysis and leading the project surrounding cookies and marketing consent to ensure we were both compliant and achieving our commercial business objectives. This involved tasks such as running an audit of the cookies we drop on our site, updating our marketing modal to be more transparent, as well as involvement in the re-design and testing of a new cookie modal that users see when accessing Rightmove for the first time.
Kenneth Frempong, Business Analyst – Lead 2 Keys
We had the opportunity to upgrade old tech and switch to a new telephone provider behind our lead reporting. We knew that we needed to deliver an MVP which matches the functionality of our existing provider and at the same time add some new features that will benefit the product teams i.e. VOIP, Smarter Whispers. The analysis was to identify the gap in customer experience, allocating new customer numbers and more. Key success points; same data format and validation was available in our databases, minimal impact to downstream systems and huge cost saving to Rightmove.
Sascha Hand, Business Analyst – Internal Systems
While working on a project within the Contracts team, I identified an obstacle that was causing unnecessary manual processes. I conducted a thorough analysis on this and was able to offer valuable insights alongside a solution that has since played a valuable role in our continuous improvement to streamline operations.
Venkat Kumar, Business Analyst – Mortgages
Validating the need to extend the Mortgage in Principle journey by adding new features i.e Applicant type of Joint Applicants and Buyer type of Home Movers . Drafted the requirements and laid the scrum process/path to go live. Both the extensions have proved to be vital in improving the consumer base and generating additional revenue – this has now helped us to achieve our target number of average applications per day with a high accept rate.
Matt Birt, Business Analyst – Customer
Analysing our overseas experience both for our consumers and for our customers to identify any opportunities and potential solutions. This involved looking at:
- How our customers upload listing information to us.
- How we save the data and display the listings on site.
- How our consumers search for overseas properties on our website.
- How Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on our website affects where we appear in search engines
This highlighted areas that we could improve and enhance which lead us to introduce the first global typeahead on the UK property portals, SEO and data improvements to make our search experience easier.
Why do we enjoy being Business Analysts?
The big goal for us really is solving problems and helping to make peoples’ lives easier! No one piece of analysis is the same and we get to speak to different people all across the business, learning something new each time. Seeing our analysis being developed into something cool that our consumers and customers can use is really fulfilling.