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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


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Defining Enterprise Agility
by Transform VA
10 Dec 2017 at 4:55pm
Enterprise Agility means the ability to adapt easily to change. In the business perspective, agility refers to a distinct quality that allows institutions and corporations to respond rapidly to change. It is the ability and capability of a system to respond rapidly to a certain modification by adapting its inceptive and stable configuration.  Agility is also viewed in relation to the results of organizational intelligence. It is the aptness to react successfully to the emergence of new competitors, abrupt shifts in the overall market conditions, and adaptation of industry-changing technologies that are based on the degree of agility in the organization.
5 Common User Story Mistakes
by adrian
3 Dec 2017 at 8:34pm
User stories are a simple, yet effective way to communicate how a user or customer employs a product. But writing user stories that help a team build great software can be challenging. The article shares five common user story mistakes and how to overcome them.
BDD ? An introduction to feature files
by Transform VA
26 Nov 2017 at 6:48am
The purpose of this article is to explore feature files. Feature files are documents that contain those Gherkin scenarios & requirements – they can be very useful to teams working on BDD projects. Feature files may be a key deliverable for BAs.  Feature files are where BAs store requirements & can create the bridge between requirements and automated tests (more on that later).
The damaging consequences of organizational amnesia, and how BAs can help pre...
by Transform VA
18 Nov 2017 at 11:41pm
Imagine that a business analyst has been assigned to write the requirements for a new system replacing the company’s legacy CRM (customer relationship management application). After mapping out the as-is process at a high-level, the BA’s stress level starts to go up. “There are three complex modules in this system, and so many details about the as-is state that I still don’t understand! The legacy system barely has the original requirements documented, with plenty of change requests implemented later without proper documentation. How am I supposed to finish my deliverables on schedule and without mistakes given my limited knowledge of how the system being replaced works?”
The Elevator Speech... for the BA
by Transform VA
12 Nov 2017 at 6:16pm
A BA walks into an elevator, is joined by an executive, and suddenly the executive asks the BA, “So, what are you working on these days?” (Sounds like the start of a joke ...)  Most business analysts, due to their project success focus, think of requirements management when questioned about their work. So the BA responds by describing the features of a business solution that the BA is currently working. The BA seldom mentions the associated business benefits with the work (i.e. why the work is vital to the business). Unfortunately, the BA ignores the first rule of conversation: know your audience. The executive asking the question is more likely to understand and be interested in the business value provided by the work, rather than the solution features.
Agile Manifesto Principles
by Transform VA
5 Nov 2017 at 7:23pm
Agile Manifesto is a means to achieve the end objective through ‘best practices’ that crystallize into an approach that efficiently resolves the competitive stand-off. Thus the Manifesto is a subset of principles that provide a working framework to attain Agility. The following are high-impact Manifesto principles...
BOM Project Estimating
by timbryce
29 Oct 2017 at 8:40am
Estimating is one of the most controversial subjects in project management. There are some people who have turned the subject into a cryptic science involving esoteric techniques. Estimating is simply the process used to determine the amount of effort and cost required to implement a project, in part or in full. It is important to acknowledge that estimating is fundamentally an effort at projecting the future. Like all projections, the more facts and information available, the better the estimate. There is a natural human tendency to avoid making estimates because estimates represent commitments, and people tend to shy away from commitments, particularly when they are not sure of the facts. Nevertheless, little progress would be made if we never attempted to plan for the future. Most estimating errors are errors of omission, not commission. It is what we forget to estimate that often leads to problems. Methodologies, with their defined structure, materially assists with eliminating some of the unknowns when estimating. They provide frameworks and structures acting as checklists for estimating. Methodologies isolate the activities to be performed into small enough increments, thereby minimizing the margin of error. An estimate improves in accuracy in direct relation to the level of detail considered. A methodology defines the sequence of events by which parts are assembled. For example, a construction methodology identifies all of the resources of a product, such as lumber, steel, glass, etc. and how they are assembled. An Information Systems related methodology, such as “PRIDE”-ISEM, specifies the sequence by which data elements, records, files, inputs, outputs, processes, etc. are assembled.  This provides the ability to use a “bill of materials” (BOM) technique to count all of the resources in the product and develop an estimate for the project, in part or in full, based on the standards developed for completing and/or installing a resource. This is why “PRIDE” methodologies put an emphasis on “rough designs” in the early phases of work. To better understand the BOM concept, consider all products are composed of a variety of parts, be it electronics, automobiles, airplanes, ships, bridges, skyscrapers, homes, etc. Using BOM, the various components are identified and related to the other parts they will be attached. To illustrate, here is a lawn mower showing all of the parts, identified by number and name, along with their relationships: Such illustrations can typically be found in most product warranty guides. Obviously, BOM is an old concept used by engineers and architects for many years, but they can also be applied to information systems involving sub-systems (business processes), procedures (both administrative and computer), programs, files, inputs, outputs, records, and data elements. It can also be used in programming components, such as modules. To think of systems in this manner is somewhat of a revolutionary concept. From such designs, the Project Manager is asked to consider: * The number and types of NEW components to be created. * The number and type of existing components requiring MODIFICATION. * The number and type of existing components that can be RE-USED as is (no modification required). To illustrate, in a “PRIDE”-ISEM Project (Phase 1), a complete “rough design” of the envisioned system is produced in Activity F. In Activity G, the Project Manager takes the rough design and makes the following type of assessment: COMPONENTS NEW MODIFY RE-USE SYSTEM 1 SUB-SYSTEMS 14 ADMIN PROC 23 COMP PROC 13 PROGRAMS 28 MODULES 33 10 112 INPUTS 17 5 OUTPUTS 37 13 FILES 56 5 43 RECORDS 250 50 306 DATA ELEMENTS 60 257   This analysis is essentially no different than other products consisting of different components, such as circuit boards, chips, nails, screws, lumber, girders, glass, gaskets, pistons, etc. In systems, the rough design is used as the road map for the project (in the above example, there will have to be 14 Phases 3-7 because there are 14 sub-systems and 13 Phase 4-II & 6 for the 13 computer procedures, and at least 28 Phase 5’s for the programs). It is also the basis for the project estimate. Such estimating is greatly facilitated through the use of an IRM Repository which controls the components and, as such, acts like a Bill of Materials Processor (BOMP). The BOM concept permits the establishment and application of estimating guidelines. To illustrate; how much direct time does it take to weld a six inch pipe? Define a data element? Design a sub-system? Such standards should be based on whole work (Direct Time) as opposed to including interferences (Indirect Time). Indirect time is a part of the work environment and can vary from company to company, group to group, even person to person. Estimating, therefore, must be accomplished using Direct hours only. Having standards in place, we can then consider variations based on the skills of the worker. For example, how long it takes a novice worker to weld a product will certainly be longer than an expert. The same is true in systems analysis and programming. This is where a Skills Inventorycomes in handy to select the appropriate worker for a project assignment. By making system designers build a rough design of the product early in a project, the bill of materials can be populated accordingly and greatly improve estimating accuracy. As the project progresses, and changes are identified in the product structure, revisions in estimates can be easily made. This is all made possible by using an engineering/manufacturing approach in the design and development of products, including systems. Keep the Faith! Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies. Author: Tim Bryce, Managing Directory, M&JB Investment Company Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached attimb001@phmainstreet.com Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Requirements for Devices Around Us: Embedded Systems, Part 2
by Transform VA
22 Oct 2017 at 7:43pm
 In this article we look at some quality attributes that are particularly vital to explore when specifying requirements for embedded systems projects. Quality attributes for embedded systems can be much more complex and intertwined than those for other applications. Business software is generally used in an office where there’s not much variance in the environment. In contrast, the operating environment for embedded systems could involve temperature extremes, vibration, shock, and other factors that dictate specific quality considerations.
The Goal Is to Solve the Problem
by adrian
14 Oct 2017 at 11:30pm
A requirement is “a condition or capability needed by a user to solve a problem or to achieve an objective” (AKA a goal). Thinking in terms of problems and goals thus is a core competence for the requirements engineer. But what in fact is a problem or a goal? This may seem to be a rather philosophical question. As requirements engineers we should be quite specific on this point as the problems and goals of our clients are the raison d’être for our work.
The Business Analyst in the Experience Age
by Transform VA
9 Oct 2017 at 2:31pm
The experience age will force the business analyst, more so than ever, to be closer to business. The focus will have to move from how the IT landscape looks at the architectural level, to how it can be best utilised to provide the most compelling and efficient customer experience.  The success of business will now be determined by how well the customer journey and user experience has been translated to offer real and/or even perceived value for money through ‘virtual experience’.  It will be difficult for the business analyst to be a credible advisor to business without understanding the customer’s needs.
Validating a Strategic Project at the Enterprise Level
by Transform VA
1 Oct 2017 at 5:08pm
Prior to proceeding with a strategic project, project leadership needs to ensure that the project still: aligns with the direction of the business entity, and fits the needs of the targeted customer segment, as it did when the project was an initiative. This brief article starts at the inception of an initiative during Enterprise Analysis to the validation of a strategic project prior to kickoff. Note in this article, I include both the private and public sectors when I use the terms such as “business entity” and “customer segments.”
Agile User Interface Design
by adrian
23 Sep 2017 at 11:01pm
The role of design still puzzles many agile teams I work with. When should the design activities take place? Who should carry them out? How are design decisions best captured? This blog tries to answer the questions by discussing a user-centric, iterative, and collaborative design process for Scrum and Kanban teams.
7 Tactics to Solve Common Product Roadmap Problems
by Transform VA
17 Sep 2017 at 7:17pm
An effective product roadmap is a must-have for any successful software development project. A roadmap helps the product manager define the trajectory of a product, communicate progress to stakeholders, visualize goals and justify changes to budget. Product roadmaps are where both strategy and tactics combine to help teams build better products.
Do you want to implement agile? or just run from waterfall?
by Transform VA
10 Sep 2017 at 7:21pm
So I came to a conclusion that I found interesting and want to share with the public: when doing this transition, the companies do not want to implement agile, they just want to run away from waterfall. And running away from waterfall can come in many shapes and forms, so the overall popular idea of comparing “waterfall” vs “agile” as two competing extremes is not conceptually correct.
Changing Organizations: Business Analysts and Change Management
by Transform VA
4 Sep 2017 at 9:05pm
There are some practices that can practically make our life much easier if we adopt them early in the project.  This fourth article of the series “ Business Analysts and Change Management - What we need to know” addresses the minimum that we - as Business Analysts - might need to know about change management, but this time at organizational level

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