Many companies maintain business development and research and development teams. These departments are likely to work independently of each other to initiate new projects, either for internal or external use. The business development analyst is likely to strategize with such departments, conducting market-based research to identify areas for improvement or new business sectors. This professional often develops project proposals that reflect his or her findings and also match stakeholders’ visions. The analyst is then likely to guide projects from initiation to completion, ensuring those goals originally envisioned are met.
Business development analysts often conduct market-based research and create analytical models based on their findings. Such research is likely to involve a large number of people who interact with the business, including clients, competitors and staff members. The analytical models, in turn, are often used to identify areas of improvement and to develop project proposals. In particular, the business development analyst often aligns the needs of business units with the resources — capital and labor — that are available.
New market opportunities are often identified by the analytical models created by the development specialist. In a pharmaceutical company, for example, business development and research and development departments may each initiate projects. The business analyst may provide analytical support to both teams while developing market and commercial forecasts. In turn, those calculations may support deal negotiations, lead to the launch of a new product or establish closer relationships with customers. The analyst may also facilitate communication between those teams to ensure project goals remain consistent.
Traditional activities of a business development analyst may include project management and translation of business needs. In the role of project manager, the analyst may work with key supervisors to formulate the business vision. The analyst is then likely to shape projects around that vision, ensuring the goals are realistic and possibly re-engineering the underlying business process. A business development specialist within health care, for example, may meet with doctors and nurses to determine a streamlined way for documenting patient information. From the analyst’s viewpoint, this project is likely to consider new technology, the practice’s goals and present configuration of staff duties.
In translating business needs, analysts often take the individual messages of stakeholders and develop them into a single, consistent vision. This task often requires significant negotiation and political maneuvering for each project undertaken. As such, the business development analyst is likely to act as a company liaison, sharing stakeholders’ messages with other staff members and vice versa. The project may then be developed after accounting for multiple employees’ opinions. A business development analyst often communicates with stakeholders to obtain information and verify decisions before proceeding with different stages of a project.
As a result of their analyses, business development specialists are often involved with project stages from initiation to completion. During the initial phase of an internal software project, for example, the analyst often identifies a problem or opportunity for the business and maps out what a solution or path would look like. The map is then used as a proposal to determine how much the software will cost and what benefits the business can expect at completion. This stage is often followed by analysis, during which the project is clearly defined and other staff members included for collaboration. Changes to the project may occur during this phase to eliminate unnecessary expenditures and reduce the likelihood of error.
Project development is often that stage when plans are cemented. The business development analyst may also look for deviations in course that could otherwise go undetected and harm the project’s bottom line. The testing phase often comes next, during which time the business development analyst can identify software errors and establish defect-fix priorities.
Implementation is likely to be the final project step, and the business development analyst may use this time to ensure that users see the benefits envisaged in the proposal. He or she may review training materials, gauge employees’ responses to the software and sponsor a company-wide informational meeting. Throughout the project life cycle is a common theme of discovery, validation and verification for the business analyst. He or she, ultimately, is likely to be responsible for knowing the goal of a project, how to reach the goal, managing implementation changes and ensuring all deliverables are aligned with the goal.