Getting Started as a Business Systems Analyst

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In its simplest form, a Feasibility Study represents a definition of a problem or opportunity to be studied, an analysis of the current mode of operation, a definition of requirements, an evaluation of alternatives, and an agreed upon course of action. As such, the activities for preparing a Feasibility Study are generic in nature and can be applied to any type of project, be it for systems and software development making an acquisition, or any other project.

Author: Tim Bryce

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So you want to be a Business Analyst?

“Analyst – analyse thyself….”

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

  • Why? Why are we doing this project - what is the business problem/need and so what measures and targets for those measures will define what success is. These are known as objectives.
  • What? What needs to be done (from business/logical perspective) in order to affect the measures to the point where the project can be declared successful (i.e. it has got the targets) – these are known as requirements.
  • How? How will the requirements be realized? What are the rules that will deliver the requirements? These take the form of process models, process definitions, data models, data definitions and various non-functional requirement rules.

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?

When you know your objectives, deduce the requirements necessary to affect things such that you achieve your target measures for your objectives.
Put another way, what do you need to do to be able to move in to Business Analysis?

When you know what your requirements are, define the process you will need to follow to deliver your requirements.
Put another way, what is the process you will follow to become a Business Analyst? How will each step of each process execute? What data will you need to provide/will you get at each stage of the process?

Throughout this analysis and your progress towards your goal, define as they arise and refine as you progress: 

  1. costs to achieve your objectives (e.g. initially you thought around $10k to train as a Business Analyst – actual quotes refine this to $7,040) 
  2. constraints that will curtail what you are able to do (e.g. budget and timescales) 
  3. dependencies that affect the order and timing in which things can be done (e.g. can’t get the ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis until you have 4 ISEB Certificates in Business Analysis, you can’t get the IIBA CBAP until you have 5 years’ experience) 
  4. issues that are outside of your control but are affecting your progress (e.g. availability of training courses) 
  5. risks to your career move that may (or may not) arise from the issues (you may not pass the ISEB Certificates or fail the Diploma) 
  6. assumptions you are making in the absence of the facts that allows you to make progress (analyzing the RISK that your assumption may be wrong!) (e.g. It is assumed that the ISEB Diploma in Business Analysis is the most relevant professional qualification to get. If wrong, then a number of jobs requiring another qualification could be ruled out).

Author: Guy Beauchamp
Guy started out in IT in 1985 and transitioned to Business Analysis in 1990 - he now works as a trainer for Business Analyst Solutions (
www.BusinessAnalystSolutions.com) - a niche supplier of all services for and related to Business Analysis."

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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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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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Defining specifications for the design and development of systems and software is a lot like this classic Gershwin song and what I personally regard as the biggest cause of confusion in the Information Technology field for as long as I can remember, which is over 30 years in the industry.  Some people say specifications should be based on the inherent properties of information, others believe it is based on a screen/report or file layout, yet others adamantly believe it should be based on process and data specifications.  Interestingly, all are absolutely correct.  The difference lies in the perspective of the person and the work to be performed.  For example, how we define specifications for the design of an automobile is certainly different than how we specify a skyscraper.  The same is true in the I.T. field where we have different things to be produced by different people.

Author: Tim Bryce

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I always find it amusing when I tell a young person in this industry that I worked with punch cards and plastic templates years ago. Its kind of the same dumbfounded look I get from my kids when I tell them we used to watch black and white television with three channels, no remote control, and station signoffs at midnight. It has been my observation that our younger workers do not have a sense of history; this is particularly apparent in the systems world. If they do not have an appreciation of whence we came, I doubt they will have an appreciation of where we should be going. Consequently, I have assembled the following chronology of events in the hopes this will provide some insight as to how the systems industry has evolved to its current state.

I'm sure I could turn this into a lengthy dissertation but, instead, I will try to be brief and to the point. Further, the following will have little concern for academic developments but rather how systems have been implemented in practice in the corporate world.

Author: Tim Bryce

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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. 

Read full article...

Author: Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant with M. Bryce & Associates of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He is available for lecturing, training and consulting on an international basis. He can be reached either at timb001@phmainstreet.com

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In Toronto, Canada - January 3, 2005: The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) made available components of the world's first Body of Knowledge for Business Analysis. Since then a simple Google search for "business analyst" reveals that these professionals are in high demand. There are openings at banks, telecoms, retailers, insurance and many more industries for business analysts. Education providers namely; B2T Training has emerged worldwide in order to cater for this high demand of professionals who wish to pursue a career in Business Analysis.

Author: Thirusha Chetty, consultant, IndigoCube South Africa

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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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 The US News and World Report published their list of best careers for 2008 and Systems Analyst was one of the professions in the list. "The Ace Widget Co. has an ancient computer system. It'd like to upgrade to an Oracle-based operation with wireless capabilities, so employees can access the system with their BlackBerrys. The systems ...
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Business analysts go by many titles one of them being Management Consultant.  In this article, Tony Jacowski talks about the management consulting career.

Author: Tony Jacowski

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The qualified business analyst wears many hats. He or she is a negotiator, a skilled listener, a motivational speaker, and a team leader. His or her title may include that of systems analyst, requirements analyst, or project manager. The business analyst may or may not have a degree in business analysis. He or she may not be able to write code. However, the business analyst is educated in the process necessary to produce the code. He or she may even come from an IT department. But what is it they do?

Author: Tony de Bree

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There are several key points one needs to understand before deciding whether or not to become a business analyst. You may be qualified to do the job you were hired to do. Yet is it the job you wanted to do? Some analysts find themselves locked in a cubical writing reports all day, only to find the report was not used or even read. They realize they are in a dead end job going no-where fast. This is not the usual dream one has when becoming a business analyst.

Author: Tony de Bree

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