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Business Analysts

"Business Analysts fix broken businesses"

Careers for business analysts are not only lucrative but they are also very satisfying. Business analysts are responsible for analyzing the workings of an organization along with the design of business methods being used and creating a bridge between management, front line employees and customer needs. It is the analyst's jobs to understand client and market requirements and devise solutions. So, they have a major say in changing the way in which business is done in an organization. If you are interested in a job as a business analyst, here is a look at the responsibilities of the position, the educational qualifications, remuneration, working conditions and more.

An Overview Of Jobs For Business Analysts

Business Analysts

The role of business analysts is not restricted to technical aspects; they often play vital roles in marketing and finance as well. There are two ways in which you can work as business analysts, you could either be employed with an organization or you could choose to be an independent contractor. The sector can be divided into four distinct tiers that include:

  1. Strategic planning: Analyzing and providing for the organization's strategic business requirements
  2. Operational Analysis: Defining and analyzing the operational policies and market strategies and approach of an organization.
  3. Process analysis: Modeling of the business process through process design
  4. IT/ Business Systems analysis: Defining the functional requirements of an application and proposing changes to client business processes

What Do Business Analysts Do?

An analyst in a business is expected to analyze and critique the various business functions including finance, marketing, IT etc to improve the productivity and efficiency of an establishment. A professional in this position also helps the company to optimize its day to day operations and evaluate the structure of its business.

Business analysts are generally hired by companies to solve business problems, to streamline their business practices and to gain an edge over their competitors. It is the analyst's job to scrutinize the various operational procedures of the company and find solutions, which will help the company to function efficiently.

In some companies analysts are also expected to focus on the issues concerning the major stakeholders of an organization; they have to routinely write reports with specific recommendations.

Educational Qualifications
and Other Skills Required

You will need a bachelor's degree to get business analysts jobs with a major in industrial engineering, business management, finance or computer science. You should also consider becoming certified. One such certification is the Certification of Competency in Business Analysis from IIBA. Other organizations offer certification, however just make sure that you go to a respected and accredited establishment to earn your credential.

Apart from this, you will also need to have an in depth understanding of organizational skills and superlative interpersonal skills. It would also help to study UML (Unified Modeling Language) which is commonly used in IT.

A Business Analyst's Workday

The workday of business analysts includes the following tasks:

Scheduling clients: Whether you hold a job in an organization or work as an independent contractor, you will need to spend a lot of time talking to the business and IT operations teams. Also, you will need to frequently schedule projects for different clients.

Observation: An analyst spends the majority of his time observing the day to day operations of the various departments. He will spend a lot of time each day observing the requirements of the organization, business process flow, the various systems available to the staff and how these are being used to optimize the workings of a department. Additionally, you may also have to spend a significant amount of time studying the client procedures and policies.

Review and Analysis: The data procured through observation, meetings and discussions is then compiled and analyzed. Also, the analyst will have to review previous reports that help to understand the issues afflicting the day to day operations of the company.

The analysis phase will finally lead to the solution phase wherein the analyst will be expected to provide solutions to streamline the business process.

Preparing Reports: Once the problems have been analyzed and solutions have been devised, an analyst has to put it all down in black and white, in the form of a report. Business analysts will have to provide detailed reports on the various solutions proposed by him and how each of these help to solve a specific problem. Financial estimates will also be part of such reports

Client meetings: Business analysts will also need to spend a considerable amount of time interacting with the internal or external clients.

Salary Expectations

The average salary of business analysts is $81,000 per annum. A junior business analysts will likely start at about $48,000.

Working Conditions

Business analysts work out of convenient and comfortable office environment with little or no fieldwork involved depending on the nature of the organization. The position entails constant communication with the clients and the development team.

Promotion Opportunities

While you may start at the entry level position of junior business analysts, you can quickly progress to senior levels if you apply yourself. After garnering 3 to 5 years of experience, you will have the option of working as an independent contractor.

Why You Should Join
The Ranks Of Business Analysts

Business analysts are an asset to the organization who helps to streamline processes and increase the efficiency of an organization and its profits. People in this position share a good rapport with almost all the departments of the company.

Because of the immense competition, several sectors offer rewarding prospects for well qualified and experienced analysts including pharmaceutical, finance, insurance, banking, IT/ITES, healthcare, budgeting and others.

As a matter of fact, it can be safely said that all companies; regardless of the sector that they operate in, need business analysts. Although it can be difficult to find an entry level position in the business analyst field, once you secure a job and get the perquisite experience, you should have no dearth of job opportunities.

Business analysts enjoy greater job security because of the versatility of their positions. Research also indicates that the sector has been sparred the ill effects of recession because companies require new ways of thinking even in a glum economic scenario.

Because a business analyst is expected to have in depth knowledge about the various business functions, a person in this position can readily change his expertise in the different facets of business to look for alternative employment. For instance, technical know how can be used to secure employment as a QA. On the other hand, product industry specific product knowledge can be used to work in marketing and sales. Also, the knowledge of the various sectors can help a business analyst move up the corporate ladder to managerial positions.

Since an analyst working in a business is on both sides of the company, the clients as well as the organizations, regardless of how the coin flips, he always has it landing back safely into the business analysts hands.

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Business Analyst Community & Resources | Modern Analyst
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Business Analysis - Leading with Influence
by michael_r_roy01
26 Jun 2017 at 7:25am
What is Leading with Influence?... It is about the ability to affect the actions, decisions, and thinking of others to accomplish key goals or tasks that you consider to be important. Simply put, leading with influence is about getting people to willingly follow the direction that you provide when you lack organizational authority. It is about leading when you are not in charge. As a Business Analyst, I want delivery partners on a project to follow the guidance I provide without having to demand their compliance.
An Overview of the Underlying Competency of Behavioral Characteristics
by Transform VA
19 Jun 2017 at 6:13am
While BABOK and other sources include Behavioral Characteristics as an essential underlying competency for business analysts, many analysts may have only a vague idea of how it applies to their personal work environment, or even exactly what behavioral characteristics are, so let’s define those first.... The term behavioral characteristics simply refers to an analyst’s workplace ethics and character.    Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Armenian Azerbaijani Basque Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Croatian Czech Danish Detect language Dutch English Estonian Filipino Finnish French Galician Georgian German Greek Haitian Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latin Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swahili Swedish Thai Turkish Ukrainian Urdu Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish ? Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Armenian Azerbaijani Basque Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Croatian Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian Filipino Finnish French Galician Georgian German Greek Haitian Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latin Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swahili Swedish Thai Turkish Ukrainian Urdu Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish Detect language » English  
Documenting Requirements for Outsourced Projects
by Transform VA
11 Jun 2017 at 8:30am
The purpose of this brief article is to explain the connection between documenting requirements and contract type. Recently I consulted with a firm eliciting requirements for a new product. In this case, an internal business analyst team was documenting the product requirements by consulting with appropriate stakeholders. The follow-on project intent was to outsource the work to develop the product in the form of a contract.
Crossing the Imaginary Line - Design Thinking in Business Analysis
by michael_r_roy01
4 Jun 2017 at 10:50am
I take the approach that as Business Analysts, the line between requirements and design is an imaginary line. We need to be pragmatic (abandon purist thinking) and not be afraid to wear the design cloak, to adopt design thinking.    So how do we incorporate design thinking in Business Analysis in a value-add way? Take the following thoughts into consideration when working on your next project that involves building or significantly updating a customer-centric application. Author: Michael Roy, Business Analysis Professional / Requirements Leader Michael is a solutions-focused Business Analysis professional with extensive experience leading change initiatives at a tactical and strategic level.  
What Are True Business Rules?
by Transform VA
29 May 2017 at 9:00pm
Don't underestimate how pervasively across your organization business rule is misunderstood. What is a true business rule? A true business rule is simply a criterion used in daily business operations to shape behavior or make decisions. The things that IT implements under today’s software platforms are not true business rules; rather, they are mostly encoded representations of business rules.
?But I Already Know What I Want!?: Helping Our Stakeholders Think Beyond One ...
by Transform VA
21 May 2017 at 4:43pm
I bet everyone has, at least once in their career, heard the expression: “We don’t need any up-front analysis: I already know what I want!” Often these words are followed by a description of a specific type of solution, often an IT system, and often a specific vendor name. Perhaps our executive stakeholder has decided they need to migrate onto the newest platform, the organization needs a new ‘mobile app’, or we need to ‘move all of our data into the cloud’. I can imagine some people will be holding their heads in their hands as they read this paragraph…
iRise: Why Prototyping is Essential In the Post-Information Age
by adrian
13 May 2017 at 11:17am
iRise gives Business Analysts the tools they need to communicate clearly with both the business and its stakeholders.  They use working previews that can be virtually indistinguishable from the final product.  When business analysts uses iRise to elicit and document requirements: the business analyst becomes a powerful weapon to get to the right answer, ...
Deep Dive Models in Agile Series: State Models
by Transform VA
7 May 2017 at 8:00pm
State Models include two RML Data models (State Tables and State Diagrams) that show the transition of an object through various states or statuses, including which transitions are valid and what triggers an object to transition state. A state is a short-form description of a stage in a data object’s life that influences the behavior of the system. These two models are covered together in this paper because they generally show the same information, just in different ways. These models are great for any object which has state about which there might be business rules, like workflow processes!
Using Decisions to Prioritize and Identify Requirements for Business Analytic...
by Transform VA
29 Apr 2017 at 11:48pm
The end products of requirements development for a business analytics project will be similar to those for any other project—a set of business, user, functional, and nonfunctional requirements. Process flows, use cases, and user stories can reveal that someone needs to generate analytics results, and performance requirements describe how quickly they need results, but none of these uncovers the complex knowledge required to implement the system... An effective elicitation strategy for business analysts (BAs) is to drive requirements specification based on the decisions that stakeholders need to make to achieve their business objectives.
Aligning Multiple Definitions: Guidelines for Building World-Class Business G...
by Transform VA
23 Apr 2017 at 8:40am
A good business definition is not only good because it is clear and concise, but because it holds a clear, exclusive position within its full set of peers – i.e., the glossary for your business vocabulary. This discussion outlines five basic guidelines for ensuring the quality of a glossary holistically, focusing on avoiding naming anomalies, subtle redundancies, and avoiding circularities. Find out how you can become world-class at communicating the meaning of your business concepts. Part of the secret is a clear focus on seed concepts.
Beyond Better Requirements - Selling Business Analysis in Business Terms
by michael_r_roy01
16 Apr 2017 at 11:35pm
We hit a challenge however when we attempt to promote the value of Business Analysis to IT Management or the Business...  The reality is that simply promoting “better requirements” does not sell our value-add in terms that management from an IT or Business perspective understands... So how do we do this? Let me share five lessons learned based on my experience as a senior requirements management consultant. 
Fast Track Product Management
by Transform VA
10 Apr 2017 at 4:50am
The paradigm shift towards agile and lean product development has brought collaboration between large cross-functional team in the spotlight. The existing literature is already mature explaining clearly how benefits can be reaped fast by executing a clean transition to agile delivery by enhancing the performance of the new cross-functional teams. However, in parallel, the time spent in endless meetings by product owners, business analysts, engineers, product managers and many others involved in the product creation, has grown exponentially. This leaves key product people with little or no time to do the critical activities they are employed for.
You Have Got to Be Lazy to Be an Effective Business Analyst
by adrian
2 Apr 2017 at 5:27pm
You see, I am a business analyst (BA), and more precisely the lesser-spotted, lazy beta alpha, the evolutionary pinnacle of my profession, at the tip of the BA spear. While the work of throwing or stabbing with the spear requires an effort by the arm that wields it, I prefer the sharp bit to do the work for me. In other words, doing as little as possible apart from…well, being sharp. While the sharp bit does all the work I am able to still the get the glory and recognition of a job well done. While the spear tossers return with painful shoulders, weary and, hopefully sometimes with a degree of success.
5 Tips for Success with Packaged Solution Requirements
by michael_r_roy01
29 Mar 2017 at 1:22pm
A common challenge of enterprise Business Analysts is the discovery, understanding, and description of requirements in the context of implementing packaged solutions. Management assigns us to projects with a predefined solution, and we struggle to figure our role when there seems to be no significant build activity. What are we supposed to do in this situation when there seems to be no need to produce standard requirement deliverables?   Put a typical Business Analyst in this environment and do not be surprised to hear the phrase “I’m not sure of my role.” Why do packaged solution projects cause discomfort?
Capturing the Essence of Concepts: Guidelines for Building World-Class Busin...
by Transform VA
26 Mar 2017 at 8:20pm
There are various schools of thought about how to define terms, some arising from professional terminologists and academia. But those approaches are often relatively arcane and not well-suited to everyday business practice. Definitions with subtle IT or ‘data’ bias are an anathema to effective communication with business partners. Good business definitions are oriented to what words mean when used by real business people talking directly about real business things.

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