The rise of data-driven decision-making has spurred demand for the business analyst in many organizations, making it a great career choice.

Much like project management before it, the job of business analyst is transforming from a subset of more encompassing resource management positions to a full-time job all on its own. Straddling business development and IT, the business analyst is a linchpin of a new approach to resource planning and management.

Both experienced and budding business analysts can expect increases in starting salary levels and other positive changes to compensation as their roles grow and gain more visibility in the enterprise.

Here's a look at some of the top trends in business analyst salaries:

CRM business analyst salary

Customer relationship management (CRM) plays a vital part in predictive, analysis-driven marketing and service efforts.

CRM analysts must have proven analytical and problem-solving abilities, and extensive experience with specific CRM functions. They also require strong interpersonal skills because they serve as a liaison between IT and business groups. Other requirements include a bachelor's degree in computer- or business-related disciplines and a knowledge of the employer or industry CRM applications.

Check out the latest Robert Half Salary Guide to find starting compensation for business analysts in your area.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) business analyst salary

Centralized management of supply chain and customer-facing efforts are creating more jobs and driving demand for ERP experts.  

ERP analysts need to be able to translate business requirements into ERP solutions. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are also required for this job because ERP analysts work closely with both technical and business groups. Project management experience may be required, as is a strong technical knowledge of the company's ERP solution. An IT-related or business degree is also typically required.

Broader analyst knowledge can help boost compensation

The integration of business and IT creates a potentially lucrative market for professionals whose skill set can blend technical and functional knowledge with analytical and problem-solving skills. It also means that as a business analyst, you can have a more central role in the development and use of the tools on which you rely. Below are examples of some in-demand skills that can help an analyst earn a higher rate of starting compensation:

  • Business objects skills — Many companies are looking for data crunchers who can help turn growing volumes of raw data into actionable intelligence for decision-making. 
  • SharePoint — This widely adopted application platform is also chronically underutilized in many organizations. 
  • Programming languages — With custom software development playing a larger role in many organizations, adding a programming language to your skill set as a business analyst can't hurt. Popular (and potentially lucrative) ones include C#, Java and .NET.

It's a good time to be a business analyst, as new positions and software planning investments mean that you have more options available. Adding some extra skills to your resume can boost your candidacy, as well as your starting business analyst salary, even further.

For more information about a business analyst salary, as well as tips about increasing your earning potential or current compensation, check out the Salary Guide.

This post has been updated to reflect more current information.