What’s the Difference Between Business Analysis and Business Development?

A reader asks:

What is the difference between business analysis and business development?

Michelle’s answer:

Business development is just that; the growth of new or existing business.  It is usually associated with the sales team within an organization.  Sales and marketing are responsible for growing existing business – so finding areas of customers that have not purchased a product.  They are also responsible for meeting their targets in growing new business by introducing new products or services.  Wikipedia’s definition is:

New business development concerns all the activities involved in realizing new business opportunities, including product or service design, business model design, and marketing.”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_business_development)

Business analysis is defined by the International Institute of Business Analysis as:

“…the set of tasks and techniques used to work as a liaison among stakeholders in order to understand the structure, policies, and operations of an organization, and to recommend solutions to enable the organization to achieve its goals.”

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The business analyst works with the defined set of tasks in the BABOK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, IIBA) and utilizes tools such as:

Development of new products will often include the business analyst due to the impact on the business stakeholders and the business process.  While Sales is looking after the external analysis for a new product, the BA is looking after the internal analysis of the impact of the new product on the business.

On a personal note, I have been involved in new product introductions as a BA and it is quite exciting.  I wish they would involve us earlier in the process so I could do the business intelligence research. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “What’s the Difference Between Business Analysis and Business Development?”

  1. Michelle Swoboda

    Hello Karthik,
    Good for you, sounds like your path has been interesting and challenging. I would suggest that you start with Laura’s courses from this site. They will guide you in the transition to a business analyst.

  2. Hi Michelle!!

    Am an engineering graduate pursuing my last semester of MBA (Marketing & IT). I worked as an Marketing- intern a stock broking company for 6 months and then i have to break for starting up with my MBA. during my course of study in MBA my college did provide me an option to work and to study as well. so, i joined as a BDE in a corporate gifting company for the past 9 months. My major roles and responsibilities includes (Sales, Marketing, report making and Analysis). I was able to feel the passion within me towards analysis rather than Sales. so, i wanna shift my career to Business Analysis. please do help me in the transition of the same.


  3. Michelle Swoboda

    Hello Navaneethan,
    You state in your comments that you wish to become a business analyst. Look for roles that include both the BA and the business development side. So, look at the manufacturing, telecom, cable industries where you are going to introduce new products. Then you can be both the business analyst bringing the products to market and the business development side having influence on the products coming to market.

  4. Hi I am recent graduate in M.sc Industrial economics and management. Specialized in Innovation, entrepreneurship and business development. I would like to start my career as Business analyst. During my graduation I had many courses relating both the role [Business analyst and Business development]. As you see my specialization in on innovation, entrepreneurship and business development which involves both analytic as well as development role. So I am in a confused state to decide my career path.
    As you discussed above on both BA and BD position where every think sinks my profile. So can I have a best suggestion to decide my path.

  5. Hello Rahul,
    Since a lot of what business analyst does is write, this is good. I would encourage you to attend Laura’s classes and learn about requirements gathering. As a technical writer, you must be used to negotiating skills as you talk to the business. Look into courses and you will get there.

  6. Hi,

    I am a passionate information developer and worked as a fresher level to manager level technical writer, but I am very much excited with the BA jobs and want to move into it.
    How should i make a smooth transition from tech writer to BA.

  7. Michelle Swoboda

    Kapil, thank you very much for your comments and insight.
    For showcasing your skills, I would take examples from your work in business development and work on how they translate into the business analyst role. Laura helped me with that when I engaged her as my mentor. It just takes a different view to help with that. I would recommend finding someone to assist you with that, it would not take very long but would be so beneficial to you.

  8. Hello Michelle,

    I really appreciate your valuable information and thankful to you for clarifying the ambiguity over Business Analysis and Business Development.

    As I have been in the Business Development and Consulting activities since last 3 years, which encompasses Marketing and Sales either.

    But have been very passionate about my transition to BA, and seeking my first career opportunity in the area of Business Analysis.

    I would like to know your thoughts on the transition of a Business Development Professional to Business Analyst professional.

    Where both the professionals share no. of similar business activities and processes through their work like Client Interaction, Business Research, Customer Handling, Delivery Management, Client Maintenance, Requirements gathering through direct interaction, project management etc. Just to name a few, In some or other way.

    According to you how a Business Development person should show his/her skills and which skills he/she needs to showcase to land into BA profile.
    How a Business Development profile helps individual to get his first BA job.
    What are the areas of Business Development he needs to leverage to his transition, and how he should represent his career experience in his profile while in BA JOB Search hunt.?
    What should be his approach while seeking a BA opportunities.

    Kindly enlighten me on the same, as I am genuinely seeking my career objective in Business Analysis.

    Your guidelines will be valuable for me to getting my first dream BA Job.

    Look forward you thoughts.

    Kapil P.

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