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The role of a business analyst can be viewed at both the macro and micro levels. In this unique and vibrant position one can perform the functions of a business analyst at the direct employee level or on a consultant basis. There are many different areas in an organization that can easily be reviewed for efficiency, cost structure, return on investment, productivity levels, quality, customer satisfaction, the list just goes on and on. In a relatively new arena, people that have become specialist in performing these types of reviews are now often referred to as “”Lean”" facilitators and they perform their functions to an establish set of criteria for analyzing business processes.

Thinking of a business as an onion with multiple layers from the outside (macro) to the different layers on the inside (micro) one can get a better idea of how a business can be evaluated at different levels by a business analyst. On the outside one is looking at how all of the different functional areas of the business are working together to meet the mission and overall vision of the company. As one begins to look at each additional layer inside the onion, these layers can represent different divisions of the company, different departments within a division, and so on until one gets to the review at a totally micro level; the functions of individuals as part of the whole.

At a macro level, a business analyst will review the concepts of economies of scale and the economies of scope. Are the assets being leveraged properly to produce the necessary levels of efficiency, quality, and overall productivity? Could functional areas from different divisions, or companies within a division, be combined to improve the overall scope of the operations? Looking at a business from a macro standpoint requires a different set of glasses than when one looks at micro levels of the organization. A different way to look at this is a person needs to wear 3D glasses when reviewing an organization at a macro level changing glasses to near-sighted, to reading, down to a microscope for intense micro evaluations.

At a micro level, a business analyst will need to deep dive, or peel the onion back layer by layer until they arrive at the micro level that needs to be focused on. Again, this can be as far as reviewing very specific tactical issues or detailed steps of performing individual operations or processes. Perhaps another way of looking at this would be to examine the difference in requirements that a heart surgeon would have to make from first diagnosing the heart problem (macro) to actually repairing the heart valve in the operating room (micro).

Generally speaking, a business analyst needs to have the unique skill sets, education, and experience to be able to operate at both a macro and a micro level. They need to be able to see the big picture as well as having the ability to dissect things. Typically a business analyst position requires years of experience as well as significant education in business administration functions. Knowledge of Accounting and Finance, Operations, Marketing, and a host of other disciplines are critical to success in this type of position. It takes broad experience in conjunction with the ability to be a stickler for detail to be successful in a business analyst capacity.

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