Career as a Business Systems Analyst

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As technology stocks waned in the last few months of the 20th century, some analysts worried that technology degrees wouldn't be as valuable as they had been during the "dot-com bubble." They couldn't have been more wrong.

It's not just industry heavyweights like Google and Apple who are acquiring new real estate to house all their new hires. Employers from nearly every market sector imaginable are luring professionals with computer training with competitive salaries, perks, and bonuses. With large companies taking their IT in-house and small businesses relying on outsourced providers, it seems that everyone in the world wants to hire technology professionals.

According to government statistics, these 10 jobs show the most promise over the next decade.

Author: Joe Taylor Jr.

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If you have been following my column over the past few months you should have a pretty good idea of where and when security comes into play for a typical organization.

Something that needs to be said however, is, that not all organizations have a dedicated roll responsible for security. Even if there is a dedicated roll, that person can’t be in twenty places at once.

In organizations that have dedicated teams of security personnel, like a financial institution, the challenge of having a security representative for each facet of the business becomes very challenging as there are dozens of project teams, offices, and operational issues that need to be tended to.

So what do we do?

If a formal representative can’t be present in a meeting or planning session, do we just forget about security?

The answer, I hope is "No, we don’t!"

Author: Stewart Allen

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Business analysis involves analyzing a business: what its goals are, how those goals connect to specific objectives, and determining the courses of action that a business has to undertake to achieve those goals and objectives.

The formal definition of business analysis found in version 2 of the Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge is:

Business analysis is the set of tasks and techniques used to work as a liaison among stakeholders in order to understand the structure, policies, and operations of an organization, and recommend solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals. 

Author: Kevin Brennan, IIBA

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Every year, organizations around the world face startlingly high project failure rates. Some research has shown that less than 30 percent of software projects are completed on time and on budget—and barely 50 percent end up meeting their proposed functionality. If you’re a big league baseball player, failing five to seven times out of ten will get you an endorsement deal and a spot in the Hall of Fame. But, for the rest of us, these types of failure rates represent billions in cost overruns and project waste.

In 2005, ESI International surveyed 2,000 business professionals to try to find out why projects fail. The answers were numerous and varied and included such common thorns in the side as inadequate communication, risk management and scope control. But of all the answers, one showed up more than any other. Fifty percent of those surveyed marked “poor requirements definition” as their leading project challenge.

Failing to properly and accurately define requirements at the very beginning of the project lifecycle points to a distinct lack of business analysis competency. The role of the business analyst is an important one, and, sadly, one that is underutilized by many organizations around the world. In essence, a business analyst acts as a translator or liaison between the customer or user and the person or group attempting to meet user needs. But, that’s just speaking generally. What about the specifics?

Below, I’ve put together a list of eight key competencies that every business analyst—or every professional performing the duties of a business analyst—should possess. I’ve included specific emphasis on tasks associated with junior, intermediate and senior business analysts. If performed effectively, the items on this list could save organizations millions.

Author: Glenn R. Brûlé

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Not many people-including business analysts themselves-are able to agree upon a standard job description, typical skill sets, proper training methods or a well-defined career path for the business analyst position. Yet almost everyone who's ever toiled away on an 18-month software development project can agree on the importance of the business analyst role to project success.

So while everyone agrees that good business analysts are extremely valuable, and that cultivating business analyst talent is essential for effective IT operations, a new Forrester Research report says that businesses need to do more. To really take advantage of everything that business analysts have to offer, there needs to be an answer to a career conundrum that many business analysts face: What's next?

In the June 2008 report, "The Business-Oriented Business Analyst," Forrester's Andy Salunga offers several potential paths to future business leadership for business-oriented business analysts.

First it needs to be noted that Forrester categorizes business analysts (BAs) into three roles: business-oriented BAs, who focus on a particular function, such as HR, finance or supply chain; IT-oriented BAs, who report into IT; and business technology BAs, who possess a blend of broad business experience and operational know-how as well as a high degree of tech know-how. However, the analysis and discussion of business analyst career path seems just as applicable to all other BAs and those who are interested in becoming one.

Author: Thomas Wailgum , CIO

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Of all the roles associated with developing software, perhaps none needs a makeover as badly as the business analyst. Intended as a pivotal position that translates business needs to software requirements, the role varies widely across organizations. Often saddled with negative stereotypes, the job doesn’t command the respect it deserves. “It’s...
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You may be the new kid on the job block, but that doesn't mean your salary has to start low on the totem pole. The PayScale.com Salary Survey identified an array of exciting jobs that pay a total compensation close to or above an impressive $50,000 per year right from the start. Here are some of the 10 hot professions that show you th...
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A colleague of mine asked me recently what makes a good Business Analyst, and this stumped me for a while. I had a rare opportunity to go trout fly-fishing recently and as the fishing was slow I was able to contemplate this question. You will gather from this that the question had worried me as I seldom think about work stuff when I am fly-fishing. 

So what does make a good Business Analyst? 

I decided to go back to basics; if I want to know what makes a good Analyst then I need to ask what do we, as Business Analysts, do? If I could understand that, then I can start to understand what makes one Analyst better than another.  

I asked around in business analysis circles for an on line description of what we do. Although I got a few different answers, I found I got the most consensuses with “a Business Analyst elicits, documents, and communicates business requirements”. But what does that mean?

Author: Robin Grace

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I’m sure there must be a thesis somewhere on this question: How do you know whether a specific decision or action definitely influences the actual event? I like soccer analogies — in a pre-World Cup game against Argentina, Sven-Goran Eriksson was praised for his tactical decision to bring on Peter Crouch and the 3-2 victory that resulted. Yet, Erik...
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Is there a place for business analysts in IT today? Not if their primary function is just to analyze business needs. As the pace of change accelerates, business people want more than analysis; they want workable solutions to their problems. Analysis is only part of the job that needs to be done. It can clarify situations and trends, identify pr...
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Most line-of-business execs, project managers and software developers who have worked on application development teams can attest to the importance of good business analysts. In many instances, in fact, today's business analyst can affect the outcome (good or bad) of a software project. "When business analysts aren't able to carry their weight, it...
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Systems and processes are integral to business today but are still difficult to implement successfully. Successful processes and systems are those that meet the business requirements. Businesses utilise these technological and intellectual assets to create value for themselves. Performing analysis upfront ensures the business requirements are m...
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How do the professions of project management and business analysis create their work synergies? It’s all about process. The process of successful project execution is reliant upon the business analyst providing the correct inputs to the project that the project manager uses to manage the entire delivery of the project. In short, the business analys...
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The short answer: "Because it requires work."

The long answer: People tend to resist gazing into the crystal ball and prefer to react to life as it passes them by. Some people believe planning in today's ever changing world is a waste of time, that you must be more "agile" and accommodate changes as they occur. As anyone who has designed and built anything of substance knows, this is utterly ridiculous. We would not have the many great skyscrapers, bridges, dams, highways, ships, planes, and other sophisticated equipment without the efforts of architects and engineers. Without such planning, our country would look essentially no different than how the pioneers first discovered the continent. Although we must certainly be flexible in our plans, and we will inevitably make some mistakes along the way, little progress would be made if we did not try to plan a course of action and control our destiny.

People often take planning for granted, that someone else will be making plans for us, such as government officials, our corporate management, or even the elders of our families. Consequently we become rather lax about looking into the future. Nor is there any encouragement by anyone to plan our affairs, such as a tax break. Whereas other countries offer incentives to save money for the future, such as Japan, America does not. Therefore, planning is a rather personal activity; we either see the virtue in doing so or we do not.

Author: Tim Bryce

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A new Forrester report sheds light on this little known, often misunderstood but critical liaison role that can unite the business and IT on enterprise projects, systems development and business strategy. For two decades, the CIO has been viewed as the ultimate broker between the business and technology functions. But while that may be an accurate...
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