Career as a Business Systems Analyst

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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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Everyone knows who the business analysts are in their organization, but not everyone knows what they actually do and what they are responsible for during software implementation projects. Anyone who has ever worked on a complex and lengthy software development project knows that the involvement of a business analyst can mean the difference between...
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Not long ago Shane "Locutus" Shields wrote an interesting blog entitled, "What is the use of standards?" whereby he expressed his disillusionment with standards in the Information Technology (I.T.) field. His discontent is not without precedence. Most of us have at one time or another yearned for standards in our work effort, only to be thwarted by the grim realities of an industry that doesn't like to embrace standards. We all admit standards are a good idea and we should all be heading in that direction, someday... but that day never seems to come because there are forces at play deliberately resisting such efforts.

Author: Tim Bryce

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Did you know that you could make a positive impact in people’s lives by working as a Business Analyst (BA)? By describing data flows, writing use cases, creating diagrams, re-engineering current processes or mapping the system’s data outputs and inputs, you could make a change in somebody’s life. As impossible as it sounds, it is happening on a daily basis. Throughout the US the Business Analysts in the Healthcare industry work hand in hand with the Healthcare professionals in the hospitals, the insurance companies, the government, as well as regulatory and non-profit agencies and organizations to make the US Healthcare better.

According to the MS Encarta Dictionary, healthcare is defined as the “activities to maintain health; the provision of medical and related services, aimed at maintaining good health, especially through the prevention and treatment of disease.” The healthcare industry also includes the people performing these activities, their skills, and the tools and systems they use daily. The modern health care depends on an ever growing interdisciplinary team of professionals; and this includes the Business Analysts.

The Business Analysts in the Healthcare Industry are exploring many business processes, multiple use cases and alternative flows at every point of contact where the patient interfaces with the healthcare professionals. At the same time there are various software and hardware systems interacting with each other and a multitude of standards regulating every aspect of the data exchange. When you add the different vendors, the variety may become overwhelming.

Author: Vessela Neytcheva, PMP is a business analyst in the clinical information management group of Cardinal Health (www.cardinal.com).

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Over the last four decades I have met a lot of Systems Analysts in a lot of different industries. Some impressed me greatly by their knowledge of their business and the systems they designed, but I have also met a lot of duds along the way. When I think about the better ones, I consider the attributes they share which I can narrow down to three areas

Author: Tim Bryce

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So you want to be a Business Analyst?  “Analyst – analyse thyself….”

This is what Business Analysts do in the real world when embarking on a new project: they analyse… 

So – as any good BA should do when undertaking a new project – analyse what are your objectives in wanting to move to a new career as a Business Analyst.
Put another way, how will you know (once you have done it) that it was a good move to make?

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Good question! What do you think?

This is an important question which is ultimately at the heart of a lot of the problems in systems and software development. There is one camp that believes development to be an art form requiring free-spirited creative types of people, and another camp believing it to be a science requiring people that are more disciplined and organized.

The difference between an art and a science is subtle but significant. An art form is based on the intuitiveness of the person performing the work, something that is difficult, if not impossible, to pass on to another human being. For example, apprentices serving under an artist may try for years to emulate the master, but may never attain his level of skill and creativity. In contrast, a science is based on a governing body of concepts and principles and, as such, can be easily taught to others.

Author: Tim Bryce

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First, I'm a project focused software developer, team lead, designer, architect, jack of all trades, who has been on projects that have used various methodologies over the years, including of late some agile projects. I'm not a big blog reader, or a big blogger, but like most people I have an opinion on things, and for some reason that opinio...
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A project manager's first task after being appointed to an IT development is to seek out a business analyst to gather requirements. After that, it's on to the development and then the implementation. It's the way it's done. It's the way it's always been done. But business analysts are not used optimally if they are only used to "gather" require...
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Recently I wrote a paper on the general state of craftsmanship which was geared more for public consumption as opposed to any specific industry. To my way of thinking, craftsmanship is a universal concept that touches all industries, regardless if they are product or service related.  This resulted in a flurry of e-mails to me questioning how it pertains to specific types of work, including Business Systems Analysis (BSA) which, of course, is applicable but I question whether we have truly realized craftsmanship in this field.

From the outset, let me say unequivocally that business systems analysis is not a new concept and has been with us for a long time, actually predating the modern computer era of the 20th century.  Prior to this, companies had formal "Systems & Procedures" departments with analysts focusing on streamlining business processes and primarily using paper and manual procedures.  As tabulating and other office equipment emerged, they were responsible for their integration into the business.  But as computers were introduced, a new function was devised that greatly impacted the future of analysts, namely programmers. 

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Before we go further, let's examine what exactly we mean by the term "craftsmanship":

"The practice and pursuit of excellence in building/delivering superior work products by workers."

This implies craftsmanship is a universally applicable concept for any field of endeavor, be it producing a product or delivering a service. Basically, it is a commitment to excellence which is most definitely not the same as quality. Quality simply relates to the absence of errors or defects in the finished product or service. In other words, finished goods operate according to their specifications (customers get precisely what they ordered). Although quality is certainly an element of craftsmanship, the emphasis on "superior work products" means the worker wants to go beyond the status quo and is constantly looking for new and imaginative ways to produce superior results. This suggests the craftsman is personally involved with the work products and treats them as an extension of his/her life.

Craftsmanship can be found in either the overall work process or a section of it.

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Business analysts often end up in this role by accident, as their careers evolve. They are perhaps called on to work jointly with the business or computer department, and end up linking the two. Two major sources of BA professionals can therefore be considered: the computer world (e.g. architects, developers) and the business world.

What is the best background for becoming a business analyst? The debate is still ongoing in the community. Both have their qualities and their faults—computer people have a tendency to anticipate the solution while mangers sometimes lack the knowledge to interact with IT.

I believe that good business analysts are above all specialists in business analysis. They have backgrounds in both disciplines and act as a bridge between the two worlds.

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Mentoring ensures newly trained business analysts are immediately productive. What can project leaders and managers offer employees hoping to carve out careers as business analysts? What path do business analysts follow? Do they simply attend training courses, shuffling through the process from one end to the other, emerging on the far side as qua...
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Not all business analysts are born equal, but they can reach a common baseline of excellence through diligence. The recent emergence of a career path due to formalisation of the industry has highlighted the fact that some people are predisposed to be good business analysts, while others need to work a little harder at it. Not only should prospect...
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job opportunities for systems analysts will increase at an above-average pace through 2014, as organizations continue to build and implement increasingly complex technologies. If you've been wondering whether you'd be happy in the role of systems analyst, take a look at the following list. If you see...
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