A Look at the Role of a Business Analyst and Project Leaders

A Business Analyst is a person who assists clients and stockholders by analyzing business practices, identifying potential problems and providing solutions to these problems. They may go by other titles including budget analysts, financial analysts, or management analysts if they specialize in a particular field. Analysts sometimes referred to as a “BA” are also responsible for analyzing the business needs of their clients to help identify business problems and propose solutions. Within the systems development life cycle domain, a business analyst typically performs a liaison function between the business side of an enterprise and the providers of services to the enterprise.

They are responsible for analyzing the business needs of their clients to help identify business problems and propose solutions. A business rules analyst, however, can be thought of as a business analyst with a focus on business rules. Professional business analysts understand business systems and the overall business processes in the enterprise. They have the qualities to savvy users of the major business systems within a company and are deeply aware of trends and significant changes in business data needs across the company.

To be a good business analyst, you should be skilled at working with end-users to determine what their needs are. So, good analysts should have technical experience which is useful in determining if a user’s requests are feasible and should be essentially objective observers of a particular business or a specific department. Their job is to review the processes, personnel, and investments made within a company and determine the exact functioning, and possibly potential functioning, for the area under analysis.

You should know that when you are an analyst you are accountable for solutions that meet defined needs. You must also have the ability to assess projects after implementation. Business analysts are given the tools and trained in the skills necessary to accomplish this task. However, successful business analysts have attributes that cannot be taught.

Business analysts are expected to analyze and understand business problems and present solution recommendations to the business stakeholders. Business process modeling adds value to projects by ensuring the technology solution will meet the business needs. They are usually educated to degree level and many have relevant work experience and vocational skills, perhaps as part of a sandwich course.

Project Leaders in Business Analysts

Project leaders are usually interested in the costs of the various options that may be available, and call upon business analysts to provide cost estimates. From these estimates, they can choose the “best” solution. Project teams must be reconfigured to make the best use of this new role. Business analysts are much more valuable to the team when they have learned how to gather, analyze, organize, and document data requirements.

Finally, professional business analysts play a critical role throughout the business solution development life cycle. BA’s are the static link between the business and IT departments and they must be able to speak both languages. Business analysts pursue nonlinear, heuristic, and sometimes wholly intuitive avenues of analysis and discovery, using tools designed to support these interrogations. So make sure to try and have all the qualities and requirements to be a successful analyst.

Business Analyst Jobs and Careers

In a tough economic environment like the one we are currently mired in, there is nothing more important to businesses than cutting out the waste and becoming more efficient. That is why many companies have taken it upon themselves to hire a business analyst. As you might have already guessed, the jobs of an analyst to examine the business needs of his clients in order to locate any present or potential problems and then pose practical solutions. A business analyst is also often known as a systems analyst or a functional analyst and there are some promising careers available.

The simple truth is that no matter how well any one company is run, there is always room for improvement. With the rapidly changing technological environment and nearly daily computer upgrades, greater efficiency can be achieved if you know where to look. And that is where a business analyst comes in. It is their job to keep abreast of all the new techniques and products that can help companies improve their efficiency.

How does one become an analyst?

There is no set path that one can take to get involved in business analyst careers. Many times they have technical experience, either as a programmer or in engineer jobs. Analysts who specialize in computers often have a Computer Science degree or experience with IT solutions. While others come from a business background and have firsthand experience with many of the problems that they encounter.

The unique experiences and responsibilities of business analyst careers also make them qualified to perform some of the tasks of project managers and consultants. In fact, when many analysts retire, they often offer their services as high paid, part time consultants.

But an analyst does not only work on computer-related project, their skills are also utilized on marketing and financial projects. Though it is true that many analysts will stick to their own particular area of expertise, some analysts are truly jacks-of-all-trades and they customarily work on projects in different industries. The most popular job industries for analysts include: finance, insurance, banking, utilities, telecoms, computer and software services.

Just as the path to becoming a business analyst is not set in stone, neither are the roles or responsibilities of the analyst. Yes, of course, ultimately they are hired to improve efficiency. But they may also be asked to focus on only one department or division in the business. For example, an analyst may be asked to help improve sales planning, scaling, or even business strategies.

Why would someone want to become a business analyst?

For one thing, experience. As we mentioned, because of the various demands of the business, it is not uncommon that an analyst will work on different types of projects and encounter different problems and challenges every time out. This means that the analyst will quickly acquire a wealth of experience that he can call on in all future endeavors. If, for example, he wants to become a consultant or start his own consulting firm, he will have the background to handle nearly any problem that comes down the pike.

Another great reason to get involved in business analyst careers is market demand. The truth is that business analysis is a relatively new field and it is growing by leaps and bounds. There are still not enough of them to go around, which means that a good analyst can always find work. He can also become a project manager or consultant if he ever has problems finding a job.

The likelihood is that a good business analyst will never want for work. And even as the field expands and more managers graduate from colleges, the fact is that businesses will always need experienced individuals to help them cut costs, take advantage of available resources and improve overall business functions. Unlike many other businesses that are content to enroll new employees in training programs to help them learn the ropes, business analysts have on the job training. Their fees are almost entirely dependent on their experience and their reputation in the field. They are also only as good as their last project.

That is one of the reasons why business analysis is not for everyone. It is a highly stressful job that requires an individual to take charge and communicate with people from many different disciplines. And at the end of the day, if the client is unhappy with the results, the blame falls on the head of the analyst. This can not only hurt his reputation but also his paycheck for all upcoming projects.

However, if you are a take charge individual who does well in high pressure situations and can complete projects under hard deadlines, then business analysis jobs may be right for you.

Business Analyst Training For IT Job Seekers in a Competitive Market

How To Give Your Business Analyst Job Search A Boost

Looking for a new business analyst job or a new business analyst career is not particularly exciting. It’s even less exciting when you are transitioning from a university or a different career into a field like Business Analysis. However, the flip side of this is that when you do land that new business analyst job, you’ll be on your way to an exciting new career, more personal growth and fulfillment and hopefully a lot more income too. Whether you are a seasoned business analyst looking for a new and exciting position, or you have a newly minted business analyst education, you will need a lot of focus and preparation to get yourself the job and salary you want. The key is to give the right impression, shine the spotlight on your business analyst skills and convince the recruiters and that you’re the right person for the job.

Your Cover Letter Is Key To Landing The Next Business Analyst Job

The cover letter you include with your resume is the first thing about you that will be read, noticed and analyzed by potential recruiters, employers and hiring managers.
Some job seekers assume that their job search starts with their resume or the business analyst job interview. Boy, are they so wrong! The process of actively soliciting a business analyst job actually starts with the cover letter and here is why:

Before you are scheduled for an interview or have your resume read by a hiring manager, the cover letter attached to your resume has to be read first. Whether you send in your resume by email, fax or snail mail, you have to include a cover letter with your job solicitation or application.
Now human resource departments receive a good number of resumes for any business analyst job position that they post and because of it, they will review your cover letter and only proceed to read the rest of your resume if your cover letter draws them in. This is exactly the reason why you must prepare a really good cover letter for your next business analyst job search.
The way hiring managers or staffing firms handle business analyst job seekers is similar to the way you search for information on the internet.

Typically when you search for information on the internet, you end your information search as soon as you find a high quality site that provides all the answers you are looking for. You will probably quickly narrow your focus to a few websites out of the several websites listed on the search results page. Now, picture a potential employer sifting through a pile of resumes in their inbox or mail folder. They will quickly also select few resumes out of the pile of resumes available based on the cover letter attached to the resume.

So, do not make the mistake of neglecting your cover letter or focusing all of your attention on your resume, give it the attention it deserves!

Use a Cover Letter to Overcome Hiring Objections

Using a cover letter presents you with an opportunity to set yourself apart from the other candidates who may have similar business analyst training and education. If you have no previous experience, your cover letter is your chance to give the manager the rationale to consider you for the job anyway. In your cover letter you can focus on your most attractive qualities that would otherwise have gotten lost in the many points on your resume. Your cover letter is your chance to maximize that favorable first impression. Now that you know just how important your cover letter is to landing your next business analyst job, you also know that the days of writing one cover letter and reusing it for every business you apply are gone.

Get Started Writing Your Winning Cover Letter

When writing your cover letter closely examine the job description for the business analyst position that you are applying for. Note the business analyst skills that are required for the job and the role and responsibilities. Compare your training and past business analysis experience with the skills that the job requires. You’ll need to note every area that you are a fit for the job in the body of your letter.Next, start your letter by introducing yourself to the company. Your introduction should only include items of interest to the company.

If the job does not call for Joint Application Development skills, do not waste space by mentioning the fact that you have spent the last three years facilitating JAD sessions. Irrelevant facts will only distract the manager or recruiter from the reasons why you are great for the job. Finally in your introduction mention the name of the person who referred you to the company or any connections you have to the company.

Get the Attention of the Hiring Manager

How do you get noticed from a cover letter? The answer is getting the hiring managers attention right from the beginning of your cover letter The introduction of your cover letter should be concentrated on grabbing attention in order to interest the reader into reading the letter through to completion.

In the introduction you can tell of how you became interested in the business analysis industry, any formal experiences you may have in gathering business requirements, your successes, and your passion for being a business analyst. Then get into some of your previous business analyst projects and the results of the projects. Continue on by filling in the details about the business analyst skills you have mastered and the experience that makes you the better choice for the position. Accentuate how those learned skills will help the company to accomplish its objective of requirements gathering.

Finish Off with Great Grammar, Spelling and Style

When writing your cover letter stay close to the straight and narrow path in formatting the letter. Use normal business conventions in the opening paragraph, when addressing the position, and in the closing paragraph of your letter. This will apply to cover letters that you send using email or job boards as well. Be courteous and business-like. Formality will not take away from you if you have something interesting to say. Keep the letter short by being focused and getting straight to the point. The entire letter should not be more than four paragraphs. Avoid starting out with “to whom it may concern.” If possible, you should try to get the name of the person to address your letter to. Do not use slang, cute phrases, emoticons or graphics. Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. Use a spell-checker and if possible, get a friend or mentor to proof-read the letter before you send it out. Finally, remember that your cover letter can be an excellent tool to help you get the right business analyst job. It is an opportunity to connect with and capture the recruiter’s attention, tell your professional story and stand out from the crowd. It will take hard work to create the right letter, but it will all be worth it in the end.