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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.





© 2015 Stellar Force


Business Analyst Community & Resources | Modern Analyst
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Deep Dive Models in Agile Series: Process Flows, Edition 1
by Transform VA
26 Sep 2016 at 3:28am
Process Flows are usually used for user facing projects/systems, although their cousin, the System Flow, can be used in virtually the same manner to document system processes and logic.  When on an agile project, the Product Owner (PO) or Business Analyst (BA) will usually elicit the high level process flow (L1) in a sprint 0 or planning type phase. From there, during that same planning type phase, the L2 processes to be created will be prioritized and the PO or BA will usually work on the 1-2 highest priority process flows at the L2 level. This is to build the initial backlog.
?Alice in Wonderland?: Business Analysis in the Midst of Chaos!
by Transform VA
18 Sep 2016 at 12:47pm
Chaos, by its very nature, is impossible to control completely, and so a business analyst who enters into their own chaotic Wonderland will be presented with difficulties immediately. Throughout Alice’s adventures down the rabbit hole, she is confronted with a complete absence of structure, a lack of clear information, and a cast of frantic characters. In their role, a business analyst must strive to find order in the chaos, just like Alice. As Alice is faced with riddles, the business analyst is faced with information that is either unclear or unavailable. They must solve the riddles and establish structure, all while appeasing the residents of Wonderland.
Domain Knowledge is Overrated
by Transform VA
11 Sep 2016 at 8:44am
Visit any active discussion forum for business analysts and aspiring BAs, and invariably you will find at least one thread asking how to develop domain knowledge, either in a new industry, such as health or insurance, or a new business function, such as marketing or supply chain management. Alice just got a job working for the first time in financial services, and is worried that her lack of experience in this domain will get in the way of her doing a great job. Bob keeps getting his resume ignored for analyst jobs in government agencies because most of his experience is in ecommerce applications. What to do?
The Story of Al?s Spreadsheet and Absent Brains
by Transform VA
6 Sep 2016 at 4:21am
To ensure the continuity of operational business knowledge, no organization should ever depend on absent brains – or even on brains that could (and eventually always will) become absent in the future. To say it differently, your operational business knowledge should be encoded explicitly in a form that workers you have never even met yet can understand.
Building Organizational Business Analysis Excellence: A Practitioner Guide
by Transform VA
28 Aug 2016 at 11:07pm
Business analysis is an indispensable function in all business organizations, performed at myriad forms and scales.  Maintaining high quality of business analysis consistently is a challenge to many organizations. Inconsistent business analysis output quality results in undesirable project outcomes, poor decisions, operational disjoints and missed opportunities.  This article uses an actual case to discuss how low quality business analysis impacts an organization and what improvement initiatives the organization implemented to address the problems.
Requirements for Devices Around Us: Embedded Systems
by Transform VA
22 Aug 2016 at 5:23am
Most discussions about software requirements deal with business information systems and similar projects. The world is also full of products that use software to control hardware devices, broadly called embedded systems. Among countless examples are cell phones, television remote controls, kiosks of all sorts, Internet routers, and robot cars.  This is the first article of two that will discuss some of the requirements issues that are especially important to embedded and other real-time systems.
When Good BAs do Bad Things
by Transform VA
14 Aug 2016 at 9:14pm
Given the right circumstances, even good people can go astray as our psychology push us down the slippery slope of questionable behavior.   A little bit of knowledge about the forces that drive us to cheat can go a long way helping avoid bad behavior. Here are some common landmines to become aware of so you can make sure to defuse them as you embark in a new BA project
End-to-End UML Case Study for a Stock Broker
by speeditonline
7 Aug 2016 at 6:27pm
The problem with many Unified Modeling Language (UML) educational texts is that they present the various concepts each in isolation; so you see a use case diagram for one problem domain, a class diagram for an entirely different problem domain, and you never get to see the important traceability between the diagrams. In this case study we aim to put it right by working through a single problem from use cases and activity diagrams, through sequence diagrams and state diagrams, to class diagrams and component diagrams. We have arranged the case study as three distinct perspectives or aspects as follows.
Defining Scope with Feature Levels and Events (Scope Part 2)
by Transform VA
31 Jul 2016 at 8:20pm
The context diagram and the use case diagram are two useful techniques for representing scope. This article describes two other methods for documenting scope: feature levels and system events.
Five Steps To Prototyping A Metrics Capability For Your Business Organization
by jbarrios
27 Jul 2016 at 1:00pm
Opportunities abound for new and experienced analysts to advance their careers if they are willing to increase their knowledge of analytics, metrics, and Business Intelligence. In the meantime, following these five steps will help get you and your organization on your way to being a well-measured one.
KPIs for Business Analysts
by Transform VA
24 Jul 2016 at 7:16pm
Business analysts’ performance and how we could measure it appeared to be a hot topic of interest for the Business Analysis community.   “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” (Peter Drucker) – this statement hides lots of questions for the Business Analysis managers, like what to measure, how to assess, quantifiable or qualifiable metrics to use? 
Requirements - Prerequisites
by ManiRamasarma
21 Jul 2016 at 8:05am
Often I come across situations where a BA is unprepared or under-prepared in approaching the requirements elicitation process. This leads to irritated business users, incomplete requirements, significant delays, reworks, and poor opinion about BA's in general. I decided to put together a list of prerequisites that a BA must complete before commencing requirements elicitation process.
Changeover strategy: Better have one!
by aylinsen
13 Jul 2016 at 5:50am
Once requirements analysis is completed, Business Analyst has all the information needed for a well-running function. Further actions for design, development, test and eventually roll-out are conduct accordingly. Usually and unfortunately, because of the rush of ongoing project execution no one thinks about the roll out activities until the end of the project plan and when the PM starts to drill down the roll out plan in details, project team face with the big nasty surprise of new requirements necessary for the selected software changeover (a.k.a. software adoption) strategy. Cost increase, delays, unmet deadlines create the nightmare one by one.  
Five reasons why you need a business analyst as you move to the cloud
by Transform VA
10 Jul 2016 at 6:26pm
Many organizations in the last year moved to Agile and eliminated the business analyst role. With the migration to the cloud the role of the business analyst is still being questioned. If you want to know what a business analyst can offer in this fast changing IT world as you migrate to the cloud; here are the answers
Agile Requirements: What?s the Big Deal?
by adrian
4 Jul 2016 at 1:23pm
With the rise in popularity of agile methods, business analysts and product owners often use the term “agile requirements” to label their work.  We do not care for the term “agile requirements” because it implies that the requirements for an agile project are somehow qualitatively different from those for projects following other life cycles. A developer needs to know the same information to be able to correctly implement the right functionality regardless of the life cycle being used.

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