Career as a Business Systems Analyst

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What comes first, the business analyst or the business analyst experience? If you’ve looked at BA job postings lately, you’d probably say the experience, as most BA jobs require experience. From one perspective, you’d be correct. But from another perspective, you’d be wrong.  For if every BA role requires experience, how is it that there are hundreds of thousands of practicing business analysts across the world?

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The once lowly business analyst is suddenly in high demand. Here's how to work well with the ones you've got.   The hottest job in IT right now might be the least "T" of them all: business analyst.
 

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As businesses acknowledge the value of business analysis – the result of the absolute necessity to drive innovation through projects – they are struggling to figure out three things: (1) What are the characteristics of their current BA workforce, and how capable does their BA team need to be?  (2) What is needed to build a mature BA Practice?  (3) How are we going to get there?

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Many run into the problem of differentiating between a systems analyst and a business analyst. The differences in some organizations do not exist. In other companies, the comparison is almost an insult. Depending on the business or corporation, there are many differences. The job title is not the only thing with which to compare these two separate roles. The problem occurs when the title is not so conclusive. The business systems analyst or the systems business analyst can actually be one or the other or both. Job description is the only way to tell when this happens. There are differences, though.

Author: Tony de Bree

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You walk into your local IIBA meeting and introduce yourself to a new attendee. They ask you what seems to be one of the toughest questions in the world: “How do I become a business analyst?” Hmm…  How do you become a business analyst?
 

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“…The Analyst will [...] facilitate the identification, design and implementation of business and systems solutions in a rapidly growing and evolving business…”   What strategic initiatives might a business analyst as described above discover, and how will they deliver the “business and systems solutions” in today’s 21st Century competitive environment?
 

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Leadership is like genius, it is one of those concepts that is recognizable when you observe it in action, but is otherwise somewhat difficult to define. And creative leadership is even harder to define because we haven’t been focusing on it in the context of business, unless we are talking about new product development. But creativity and innovation in the business world is not just about product innovation. 

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... it became clear to me that it was time to revisit the core role a business analyst fulfills in an organization. In my experience thus far, well over 75% of the business analysts I know report through the IT side of their organization. Of the 25% that report through the business side, most have a primary responsibility that is outside of the typical business analysis role.

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Employers are looking for critical thinking and an ability to adapt, invent, and reinvent; collaborate, create, and innovate; and an ability to leverage complexity to compete. Standout companies are using projects as the hotbed of creativity – so that means BAs and PMs have to step up their game. According to the 2011 CHAOS Report from The Standish Group, only 37% of projects delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions.

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Your meeting is underway and while you’re attentively listening to the business SME explain the detailed process for transferring a policy from one agency to another, you find yourself feverishly jotting down notes as the nuggets of information being thrown out are too juicy not to capture. Then it hits you: you have no idea what the business SME is talking about!
 

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In many organizations, culture and conventional wisdom make it difficult for the BA to break out of mostly tactical roles within projects. However, in many ways, the future competitiveness of your organization (and consequently of your future employment) depends on it! So don’t blink or you will miss out on the best BA opportunity of your career.

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Welcome to the new series of articles on the BA as the 21st Century Creative Leader. It was a perfect storm. As we entered the second decade of the 21st century, we found ourselves struggling to adapt. ... It is no coincidence that the business analysis profession is taking hold to address many of the 21st century business challenges.
 

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I’m pleased to continue to uphold: the unveiling of this year’s top 10 business analysis trends. This year business analysts (BAs) will need not only the balanced portfolio of technical and business skills they have been perfecting, but also a more comprehensive perspective in order to meet the challenging business environment of 2012.

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We have always been fascinated by the exceptional business analysts who can create order out of total chaos. The ones who can ask those great questions, who can figure out what’s important and what’s less so, who can synthesize lots of information, put it all into their magic hat and come out with requirements that make sense to all the stakeholders.

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Worldwide, there are between five hundred thousand and one million people working as Business Analysts...  So why are all types of businesses, from charities to investment banks, hiring so many of them?...  What do they actually do?...

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