Meet the best business analyst

Meet the best business analyst

Information Technology plays a key role in business operations in the current era of the Internet and e-business but the choice of software is a crucial decision to make for businesses. It requires specialised personnel to advise companies regarding this choice and to help upgrade information systems once they’re established.

Meet Tarun — a confused person these days. Armed with a II PUC (Sc.) certificate, a Business Management degree and a diploma in Computer Hardware, he secured an IT job — acquainting client companies’ staff with the information systems his employer establishes there. Recently, his boss has hinted that he could be in the running for the Business Analyst’s post with a couple of years’ experience. But, Tarun doesn’t realise that his familiarity with both computers and the business world — a valuable asset for any biz analyst — gives him  a competitive edge! So, let’s clear the haze. The elementary question: What exactly does a business analyst’s job involve?

It is one of the most coveted IT jobs today because it’s well-paid, challenging and far-from-humdrum. The business analyst is essentially a link between the people involved in systems’ development and the end-users. Basically, he steps in when a company decides to improve its business operations through an overhauling of its information systems. In the present-day scenario of Internet dominance and e-business operations’ proliferation, IT plays an important role in hiking profits. The BA analyses the company’s needs and recommends the computer systems relevant to these. He also co-ordinates with the technical group for installing these computer systems, besides monitoring them constantly for appropriateness and obsolescence.

So, do only guys like Tarun with qualifications in dual worlds stand some chance in the race for the business analyst’s post? Not really. Rather than an assortment of degrees, hands-on-experience and special skills required for the job are important. So, a Commerce graduate degree coupled with acquaintance of IT (formal/informal) or vice-versa could still qualify you for the race.

The job requirements vary from company to company. Some companies focus on finance while others on marketing as their prime area of business operations. Their business analyst needs knowledge of that particular focal area. Some companies expect their business analysts to write out the required software too, which envisages software programming knowledge. Flexibility, a broad perspective and the ability to constantly update one’s knowledge about the business and IT worlds are indispensable prerequisites for business analyst job aspirants.

Yet, despite possessing both business and IT qualifications, Siddharth has failed to secure a business analyst’s job simply because he’s ignored soft skills development. A business analyst needs excellent communication skills and corporate etiquette, being the link between the businessmen and the technical team. While he should demonstrate to the business group the intricacies about the concerned technology in layman’s language, he should lucidly elucidate the business operations’ demands to the technical team. So, interpersonal skills are crucial. Clarity and persuasiveness in speech and manner are indispensable.

Sheela possesses all these qualities  but lacks presentation skills. In her role as mediator between her company and the client, she is required to make several presentations. But, lacking the ability to design arresting and concise slides and eloquence besides poor stage presence, she finds her career aspirations nipped in the bud. Besides, the mediocrity of her written English tells on her documentation. And, extensively documenting business needs and functional requirements and specifications is a vital responsibility.

Sahana’s excellent MBA degree hasn’t landed her a business analyst’s job owing to her one-sided expertise. She’s deficient in basic software skills — office productivity software tools (MS Office Suite), MS Outlook and elementary Internet navigation abilities. Fortifying these with Relational Database and SQL skills will boost her prospects.

Commerce/Business Management degrees must be complemented by major studies in information systems/ technology/management and electronic commerce. But, if the business analyst’s post is in the engineering sector, a formal degree in that field coupled with IT knowledge and business acumen is essential.

Niranjan has cleverly equipped himself with all the above, but finds his applications aren’t being rewarded with interview call-letters. One look at his resume reveals he’s mentioned merely his tailor-made qualifications, versatility, special skills, analytical adeptness and his aptitude. Yet, what the prospective employer looks for is hands-on experience.

Offering honorary service to non-profit organisations and supplementing existing work with extra effort on evenings/weekends to advise companies about establishment, maintenance or upgradation of information systems to enhance profits can earn for him, valuable references and testimonials.

Returning to Tarun who is hardworking, constantly refreshing his knowledge about business and technical worlds’ developments and perennially learning fresh skills, he’s obviously best-suited for the job. With a few years’ experience, he can even branch off towards the more lucrative independent consultancy.

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