Business Analyst Vs Business consultant


I have come across people asking the difference between Business analyst role and Business consultant role. This is tricky and depends on how you look at and whom you ask. It’s the definition people use it for their convenience as needed. However this is my thought on the roles a BA and BC will perform in their job streams.

I would suggest that all business analysts are business consultants; however, all business consultants are not necessarily business analysts. I would take that further to say that understanding the business strategy (or “the business”), which is typically identified as a business consultant function, is also a requirement to be an effective business analyst. While a business consultant may conduct business analysis to identify problems and opportunities, this does not make them a business analyst (assuming we are accepting the IIBA definitions). I think the closest analogy would be that the traditional business consultant role is most closely aligned with the Enterprise Analysis BA function outlined in the BABOK. For example, identifying business needs, conducting a gap analysis, identifying a solution, etc…are tasks conducted by both business consultants and business analysts. From my experience, the primary difference is that the term business consultant has grown to be equivalent to an external consultant, while a business analyst tends to be an internal resource.

I see the “Business Consultant” have much more business operations and financial skills and have the ability to help the business make strategic operations decisions. Business Consultants are not necessarily working on external projects and there could be full time business consultants working on internal projects as well. Business Consultants play more of advisory role where as the Business Analysts are playing a liaising role. The “Business Analyst” would have much more business process modeling and requirements management type skills where as the Business Consultants need to be well versed with the overall business operations irrespective of the industry and type of the organization.Having said that, in reality there is a great similarity between the two roles. Let’s be honest, we are just talking about job titles and we all know that the responsibilities for the same job title vary greatly from organization to organization and project to project.
General norm is that the Business Analysts are reporting to Business Consultant as Business consultants are expected to be more knowledgeable and experienced to advice Business Analysts on any issue.

Any thoughts ?

One thought on “Business Analyst Vs Business consultant

  1. My says:

    I agree with that BAs are generally internal and BCs external. I’d say consultants do pitches and marketing etc whilst a BA tends to have a more focused and specialised skill set. Its my experience a BA is generally more knowledgeable about what happens on the shop floor of a business (i.e. helps more at an Operational and Tactical level) and consultants generally involve themselves at a Tactical and Strategic level.

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