What is the Role of Analytical Thinking in a Business Analyst’s Career?

What we think we become and our thinking reflects in our decisions and personality. A business analyst’s key job role is thinking. In many situations, we see that our thinking couldn’t get us the right outcomes. Do you know why all this happened? The only reason is that we don’t think critically about every aspect of the situation or problem.

Hence, business analysts need to have exceptional analytical thinking skills so that they can assess problems critically and provide appropriate suggestions.

Two Types of Thinking Systems

Daniel Kahneman has mentioned that human brains have two types of thinking systems – Automatic Thinking System and Effortful Thinking System

  • Automatic Thinking System – it works quickly, and automatically with zero effort and has no control over itself. It helps in face reading, identifying objects and the most obvious things or situations
  • Effortful Thinking System – it is allocated to those mental activities that are complex and demand typical computations. It is a controlled and disciplined approach to thinking to provide resolution for tough tasks. It includes deep attention, logical thinking, critical calculations, and many more factors

Relationship between Analytical Thinking & Effortful Thinking System

Let’s first understand what analytical thinking is!

Analytical Thinking

Analytical or creative thinking is an approach of using the intellect in a disciplined manner to analyze, conceptualize, evaluate, and relate the information produced by observation, communication, reading, experience, past reports or results, etc. This approach helps generate accurate, relevant, consistent, and sound results based on in-depth analysis and logical reasons.

Analytical Thinking

Importance of Analytical Thinking for a Business Analyst

Many bloggers and experts have talked about the key skills of a business analyst and among all of them, most have marked analytical thinking as an essential skill of every analyst. Many people refer to analytical thinking as just dividing a big problem into various small pieces and working on each of them to identify a relationship with each other. However, analytical thinking is the most important skill of a business analyst and involves a disciplinary thinking approach.

How Analytical Thinking is connected to the Effortful Thinking System?

As mentioned earlier, an effective thinking system is when the brain works in a controlled and concentrated manner and thus produces the best results. This is what a business analyst has to do in their day to day job by using analytical thinking. They have to generate solutions or provide recommendations that best suit the actual needs of a customer and use all the resources optimally.

How a business analyst can use an Effortful Thinking System in Analytical Thinking?

It is true that whenever a situation comes, the first prompt reaction is always based on our experience and it comes from the Automatic Thinking System. Sometimes, the given response fits right with the scenario but in some cases, it doesn’t work.

A business analyst should always think critically in every situation. Let’s take an example, during an interview when a BA is asked – ‘’how many cars cross an XYZ pathway daily?’’

How Automatic Thinking System work for this question?

The analyst will ask himself – ‘’Am I giving a correct interview?’’ or ‘’Only Google can answer this question!’’. This thought comes from the Automatic Thinking System that reflects a response based on all the previous experiences.

How Effortful Thinking System work for this question?

By using your analytical brain, you can solve this question easily. The first step should be identifying the area. Then an approximate count of people who live in that area. Out of the total count, you can guess the numbers who have cars. Among, all of those having a car, an approximate number of people who are using their cars daily. Count the people who use the path for any purpose like office, shopping, or anything to pass their cars.

In the whole solution, you can use numerous mathematical formulae to determine the approximate number. None of us can provide an exact number but it’s not tough to figure out the approx. value.

Being a business analyst, you should always try to involve every factor that may impact the situation, only then you will be able to reach the correct solution.

How Analytical Thinking is so useful for a business analyst in a daily job?

The daily job role of a business analyst is to collect the requirements of clients. During the elicitation session, an analyst should be sharp enough to understand every point of the customer to collect all the needs clearly and carefully. An analyst should listen to every statement of a stakeholder but not all of them should be kept on the same priority.

In simple words, a client may ask for something that eases his job but is not directly connected to the business. In such cases, a business analyst should use his analytical brain and give a lower priority to tasks that are not directly related to the business.

How to increase Analytical Thinking?

Like any other skill, analytical thinking can also be increased.  But, to improve it, you should be aware of how to consider all the aspects of a situation; this approach makes you resolve a problem more appropriately. As a business analyst, you should always ask as many questions as possible. These questions should necessarily not be typical but a combination of basic and tough.

Logical Thinking

  • Keep the goal clear
  • Don’t think emotionally
  • Always keep valid proofs


  • Purpose/motivation
  • Bias/vested interest
  • Facts
  • Opinions
  • Assumptions
  • Incorrect/irrelevant information
  • Missing information
  • Inconsistency
  • Arguments


So, why does analytical thinking matter a lot for a business analyst? It would be wrong to say that analytical thinking gives always a correct and accurate result every time. But, most of the time it brings us close to the right result. With analytical thinking, a business analyst reaches close to the expected result and this helps in winning the trust of stakeholders.

The only way to work creatively is to always investigate new approaches that may help you find something new and different. You can join an online platform too to learn more about analytical thinking!

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