data analyst vs business analyst

What are the differences between a Data Analyst and a Business Analyst?

April 29, 2021
April 29, 2021
29 April 2021

So similar yet, so different! The roles of a Data Analyst and a Business Analyst are very often unclear, even though their missions are very different. Their functions being more complementary than not, let’s have a look at these two highly sought-after profiles. 

Data is now at the heart of all decision-making processes. According to a study conducted by IDC on behalf of Seagate, the volume of data generated by companies worldwide is expected to reach 175 Zetabytes by 2025…

In this context, collecting information is no longer enough. What’s important is the ability to draw conclusions from this data to make informed decisions. 

However, the interpretation methods used and the way to exploit data can be very different. The ever-changing nature of data has created new domains of expertise with titles and functions that are often misleading or confusing.

What separates the missions of the Data Analyst to those of the Business Analyst may seem tenuous. And yet, their functions, roles, and responsibilities are very different… and complementary! 


Business Analyst & Data Analyst: a common ground 

If the role of a Business Analyst and of a Data Analyst are sometimes unclear, it is because their missions are inherently linked to creating value with enterprise information. 

What distinguishes them is the nature of this information.

While a Data Analyst works on numerical data, coming from the company’s information systems, the Business Analyst can exploit both numerical and non-numerical data. 

A data analyst must ensure the processing of data within the company to extract valuable analytic trends that enable teams to adapt to the organization’s strategy. The business analyst then provides answers to concrete business issues based on a sample of data that may exceed the data portfolio generated by the company. 


A wide range of skills

Data Analysts must have advanced skills in mathematics and statistics. A true expert in databases and computer language, this data craftsman often holds a degree in computer engineering or statistical studies.

The Business Analyst, on the other hand, has a less data-oriented profile (in the digital sense of the term). If they use information to fulfill their missions, they will always be in direct contact with management and all of the company’s business departments. Although the Business Analyst may have skills in algorithms, SQL databases or even master XML language, they are not necessarily an essential prerequisite. 

A Business Analyst must therefore be able to demonstrate a real know-how to communicate, listen, hear and understand the company’s challenges. For a Data Analyst on the other hand, technical skills are essential. SQL language, Python, Data modeling and Power BI, IT and analytics expertise will allow them to exploit the data in an operational dynamic.


The differences in responsibilities and objectives

The Data Analyst’s day-to-day work consists above all of enhancing the company’s data assets. To this end, he or she will be responsible for data quality, data cleansing and data optimization.

Their objective? To provide internal teams with usable databases in the best conditions and to identify all the improvement levers likely to impact the data project. 

The Business Analyst will benefit from the work of the Data Analyst and will contribute to making the most of it by putting the company’s native data into perspective with peripheral data and information. By reconciling and enhancing different sources of information, the Business Analyst will contribute to the emergence of new market, organizational or structural opportunities to accelerate the company’s development.

In short, the Data Analyst is the day-to-day architect of the company’s data project. The Business Analyst is the one who intervenes, in the long run, on the business strategy. To meet this challenge, he or she bases his or her action on the quality of the data analyst’s work. 


Two complementary missions, two converging profiles that will allow organizations to make the most of their data culture! 


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At Zeenea, we work hard to create a data fluent world by providing our customers with the tools and services that allow enterprises to be data driven.

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Chez Zeenea, notre objectif est de créer un monde “data fluent” en proposant à nos clients une plateforme et des services permettant aux entreprises de devenir data-driven.

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Das Ziel von Zeenea ist es, unsere Kunden "data-fluent" zu machen, indem wir ihnen eine Plattform und Dienstleistungen bieten, die ihnen datengetriebenes Arbeiten ermöglichen.

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