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.

9 Points to Weigh Ahead of Your Next BA Role

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There’s a strong demand for business analysts out there, which means you could find yourself in the sweet spot of having a number of opportunities to pick from. If you do, don’t jump too fast. Take the time to consider these points as you evaluate your offers. Remember, it’s as important for you to be comfortable with your employer as they are with you. So when you’re searching for your next job, take a look at: The company’s recruiting process,… continue…

Why Retail Analytics Specialists Need New Skills

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Following the consumer fallout of the massive security breach that engulfed Target, retail analytics specialists may find it tougher to glean valuable shopping data from consumers. Consumers’ privacy concerns have already been heightened by the National Security Agency phone spying debacle, and may be exacerbated by the Target incident, making them more reluctant to willingly share information with retailers. Consulting firm Frost & Sullivan predicts that 2014 will be the year of privacy, says InformationWeek. In the wake of all… continue…

Why Business Analysts Should Value Business Models

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As a business analyst, have you ever come across a project where you had to collect requirements and help design a solution for a business group, but every time you talked to someone, you seemed to get different, often conflicting, explanations of how the business works? Most experienced Business Analysts have faced this at one time or another. Many end users only know a narrow slice or view of the business in their areas. Rarely do they understand the whole,… continue…

The Basics of the Business Analyst Career Road Map

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People interested in a career in business analysis should check the International Institute of Business Analysis’ Business Analyst Career Road Map. It outlines the opportunities available and is designed to help you identify your best options based on your experience. For instance, those seeking to break into business analysis that have backgrounds in business, sales, finance or programming can choose between jobs such as Functional Analyst, Service Request Analyst, Agile Analyst, Systems Analyst, Business Systems Analyst and Business Requirements Analyst/Requirements… continue…

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…