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Difference Between Functional Consultant & Business Analyst

Functional consultants and business analysts both work to improve efficiency in companies, but the focus of their efforts are often quite different. Compare the duties and salaries of these professionals.

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Comparing Functional Consultants to Business Analysts

Functional consultants and business analysts both attempt to improve a company's procedures. The focus of functional consultants, however, is on technology, while business analysts often explore many other aspects of an organization. Readers will learn about the degree requirements, salaries, job growth figures, and daily responsibilities of these professionals.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Functional Consultants Bachelor's Degree $94,177 (SAP Functional Consultant) 9% (Computer Systems Analysts)
Business Analysts Bachelor's Degree $59,271 (Business Analyst - Unspecified Type) 12%(Management Analysts)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Functional Consultants vs. Business Analysts

Functional consultants focus on improving the technical departments and structures within a company. Business analysts, however, strive to improve a business's productivity and establish new programs. Both of these professionals should understand the technological requirements of the company in order to improve these. It should also be noted that they both move from client to client and project to project, which always brings fresh challenges.

Functional Consultants

Functional consultants typically work in information technology. Among other technical elements, they design systems for businesses that allow for sharing data, including payroll and customer information, across departments. They might also develop NetSuite, ERP, and SAP platforms. It is vital that functional consultants interview the end users of products to better customize based on workflow and common business procedures. To visualize any gaps in workflow that can be improved by new technology, these consultants map the client's unique requirements and create technical design documents for the technical development team.

Job responsibilities of a functional consultant include:

  • Testing projects for bugs throughout the development phase
  • Training end users to use the new system
  • Presenting proposals to clients that may include prototypes
  • Creating programs and applications using a continuous pipeline architecture, allowing automated updates to software

Business Analysts

Business analysts attempt to make companies more profitable. They look for areas in which to cut costs and make workflow more efficient. Billing, manufacturing, and customer relationship management are all areas that can be influenced by these professionals. To find policies and procedures that need improvement, they analyze financial data and employee feedback. After their initial observations, these professionals find redundant positions to cut, as well as new projects that could be undertaken by the company. Both of these actions are meant to increase revenue, which is the ultimate goal of business analysts.

Job responsibilities of a business analyst include:

  • Determining what resources will be needed to improve efficiency, including equipment and workforce
  • Developing reports based on their analysis of workplace needs
  • Researching hardware and software that can be implemented into the business plan
  • Gathering reviews from employees after changes are made

Related Careers

If you're passionate about a future as a functional consultant, you could consider a career as an IT manager, since both structure a company's technological environment. Additionally, if you think a career as a business analyst sounds interesting, you may want to explore a position as an operation research analyst, as they both develop solutions to business setbacks.

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