Steven Gara

As a practicing Business Analyst for over 13 years with a CBAP certification from the IIBA and a Master's Degree from Cornell, Steve has been working most recently for a large company in the healthcare field. In whatever small spare time he has, he usually plays musical instruments or hangs out at the local gym, keeping himself in shape for whatever challenges come his way.

Human Resources and Data Analytics

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Much as it’s changed the landscape for marketing and finance, Big Data can transform any business unit into a strategic powerhouse. Many experts say that Human Resource Analytics and Systems — basically the workforce-related metrics that can offer companies valuable information about their talent pool — is the next to undergo such a transformation. But HR professionals aren’t known as the most tech-savvy bunch — so are they ready to assume a more data-oriented, technical role? What can analytics do… continue…

5 Steps to Becoming a Business Analyst

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Laura Brandenburg, owner of the website www.bridging-the-gap.com, is known for offering highly valuable information on becoming a business analyst. I asked her to provide this article on five steps to becoming a BA, which she describes as a journey in getting to know yourself and what your interests are. At the end, I add some of the big potential rewards that can come from your working in the field. Note that these steps apply to any experience level and at… continue…

BABOK 2.0: The Business Analysis Bible

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The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK 2.0) is literally the guide to the profession of business analysis. Every business analyst finds it useful, and none should be without it. The guide literally sets the standard for the practice of BA, and its value lies in the fact that it’s written exclusively for practitioners. BABOK 2.0 (work is underway on version 3.0) offers six broad areas of business analysis. Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring: This area explains how to effectively plan… continue…

Key Transferable Skills for Business Analysts

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There’s always debate about which skills in business analysis are the most important and most transferable. The answers always seem to come back to these: Communications Skills Interpersonal Skills Technical Skills Research and Analytical Skills Organizational Skills If you join the International Institute of Business Analysis, you’ll have access to A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (the BABOK  Guide) and the underlying business analysis competencies it lists. Here’s more detail on the transferable skills, which should help if… continue…

How to Build a Project’s Business Case

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One of the many tasks business analysts are inevitably called on to do is create a business case. As defined by the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, a business case justifies the investment required to deliver a proposed solution. A business case is part of the due diligence process. By measuring the benefits, costs and risks associated with the investment being made in a particular project or product, it assesses and evaluates the options available to solve the business issue.… continue…

Opening Day? Analytics Tools to Predict the World Series Now

Baseball Loser
Billy Bean and Theo Epstein are right: Baseball isn’t all about skills, tactics and chewing tobacco bubble gum, it’s about numbers, and maybe even numbers first. It’s Big Data in the big leagues, baby. Which means if you’re trying to figure out how optimistic — or nervous — you should be about your team’s performance this season, analytics can help. For those of you who don’t want to crunch your numbers via nostalgic pencil and paper or Microsoft Excel, there… continue…

Use These Tools to Discover Your Strengths as a BA

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In chapter 8.1.4 of the International Institute of Business Analysis Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (otherwise known as the BABOK Guide), you’ll find this: Business analysts must be effective at defining and solving problems in order to ensure that the real, underlying problem is understood and that solutions actually address that problem. So, how good are your problem-solving skills? I highlight some tools that can help you discover your strengths as a BA. For starters, take this… continue…

Every BA Should Know About These Requirements Tools

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If you’re a business analyst, you already know the five key skills you need to be successful. But do you have any ideas about what software can make you more effective at work? This is a question commonly asked by both novice and experienced BAs. In my experience, it really boils down to two kinds of programs: Software that allows you to create diagrams of all kinds and mockups/wireframes. Microsoft’s Visio is a prime example but there are many others, including… continue…

IT Salary Trends: What’s Hot

According to InformationWeek‘s 2012 U.S. IT Salary Survey, information technology remains a well-paying field, with median total compensation of $90,000 for staffers and $116,000 for managers. Staffers reported a median rise in total compensation of 1 percent, while managers reported a 1.8 percent rise. Pay is on the increase across job functions. People who perform 11 of 23 staff job functions report median total compensation above $100,000. Last year, just three staff functions broke the six-figure barrier: ERP, enterprise app integration,… continue…