Business Analysis

Everything related to Business Analysis from beginner “101″ advice based on real experiences, to training, coverage of events and seasoned advice how you can be a more effective BA.

How to Use Office Politics to Your Advantage

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Interaction skills (sometimes referred to as “office politics”) are one of the many soft skills employers consider to be important qualities of a Business Analyst. The Business Analyst Body of Knowledge (BABOK) divides interaction skills into three broad areas: facilitation and negotiation, leadership and influencing, and teamwork. It’s critical that BAs possess these skills so they can navigate politics in order to build consensus on a project, and to mitigate conflicts. The point of these skills isn’t so much to… continue…

Take Advantage of Those Consulting Gaps – Part 2

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I’ve been writing about what we can constructively do with the scary gaps in our consulting assignments, otherwise known as “bench time.” In part one, I looked at two of my five suggestions: Attend a Conference: You’ll learn about new technology and may be able to network and gain new clients in the process. Publish Expert Content Articles: Write about your areas of expertise. It’ll expand your horizons, get your name out to more potential customers and generally raise your… continue…

Why Is SIPOC Important for Business Analysis?

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When performing any process discovery or improvement activity, one first needs to know about the big picture and understand how it fits into the business. In this regard, SIPOC provides a simple framework. It provides structure for my notes from requirement gathering sessions. In the Six Sigma world, this is also known as Value Stream Mapping. What is SIPOC anyway? SIPOC is a high-level view of the “as is” state of a process under investigation. Typically, a simple data collection… continue…

Gainsight: How to Get Hired at This Big Data Startup

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Big Data startup Gainsight describes itself as the first and only complete customer success management platform to leverage Big Data predictive analytics. The company offers a SaaS suite that, when integrated into Salesforce, automates a company’s workflow around customer retention and upsell opportunities. In April, the four-year-old company’s growth was boosted by a $9 million injection of Series A funding from Battery Ventures. The majority of Gainsight’s 47 employees are based in its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. The company also… continue…

Take Advantage of Those Consulting Gaps – Part 1

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“Downtime” and “non-billable hours” are two terms that can strike fear into the most confident consultant – especially in a questionable economy. And for good reason: Too many of either can make the difference between succeeding and calling it quits. But downtime happens and it’s the reason we often charge what we do for our services. There’s rarely “100 percent utilization,” right? In reality, it usually ends up being 200 percent or 10 percent. Sometimes we work non-stop for 48… continue…

Success Tips for Business Analysis Contractors

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In a webinar from the International Institute of Business Analysis, Laurie Ryan gave some great advice on being a contractor Business Analyst, and shared some effective ways of succeeding from job to job. If you’re a contractor now, or are thinking of becoming one, here are some of Laurie’s nice, handy pieces of advice to keep in mind. Ask hiring managers as many questions as you want. They should be able to give you any information you need. If you… continue…

Webinar: Breaking into Business Analytics

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The surge in Big Data is raising demand for Business Analysts and encouraging a growing number of tech professionals to consider opportunities in the field. If you’re one of them, where do you start? Working with Arizona State University, we’ve produced a free webinar: Breaking Into and Advancing in Business Analytics. It’s hosted by two of the nation’s foremost experts on information management: Leverforce.com Senior Business Analyst (and Dice Talent Community Guide) Steve Gara and Michael Goul, Information Systems Department… continue…

Solutions to Six Common Hurdles BAs Face

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Usually in a System Development LifeCycle the requirements elicitation phase is right at the beginning — or at least should be, no matter what the methodology: Agile, Waterfall and everything in between. All Business Analysts know that it’s a crucial phase. However, since these are very focused sessions, it’s still not without its problem areas. This article will highlight six of the most common hurdles that are encountered by Business Analysts, and show how they can be solved, or at… continue…

BAs Can Use This Tool to Help Guide Their Careers

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According to the International Institute of Business Analysis, 2013 is the “Year of Your Career.” That means the association is focusing on providing its members with tools and resources that will help them succeed. To support this goal, the IIBA introduced the Business Analysis Competency Assessment in April. It’s designed to evaluate abilities in business analysis based on a standard set of relevant skills. It does this by analyzing answers to a series of questions that are aligned to A… continue…

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…