InetSoft Webinar: Essential to Be a Successful Business Analyst

This is the continuation of the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of "Top Trends for Business Analysts." The speaker is Rick Smith, Senior Business Analyst at InetSoft.

And another audience member agrees with us. The next question is, ‘is the BA course like CBAP essential to be a successful business analyst?’ I don’t know how to answer that question. There are a lot of different options. They are all different.

I am not sure that it ties right in with the trend, but in my experience we see business analysts role be the subject matter experts on the business side of the house where they grew up as helping the IT subject-matter experts on the Information Technology side of the house.

Once they graduate from there they have demonstrated a high degree of expertise. Again there are some risks in that. I am starting to see business analysts emerge from colleges, believe it or not. I met a group of individuals not too long ago who said they grew up wanting to be business analysts, and they studied in college for it, and here they are.

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What about the business analyst being offshore? What is the trend there? Business analysts being offshore is a little bit difficult. I have seen it, but I can’t say that I have seen any great successes.I think BAs being offshore is a dangerous thing I think it’s really imperative that outsource vendors who are going to offer this a BA should be on the ground working with customers.

The only other sort of variants that I have seen is a BA hopping back and forth between motherland and customer for you know 2, 3, 4 week engagements at a time and jumping back from one place together. I think organizations are going to find out really quickly given the economy that the viability and cost of that type of hopping back and forth is going to cost them in the long run, so to speak. So on-shoring is probably going to be very, very prevalent. That’s the trend that I see.

Do I think the quality of work would be the same if the BA role is outsourced? I don’t know. I would like to say yes. I would like to say it’s going to be tentative. It’s going to be shaky. I would like to say we are going to probably hear more about disasters than we are going to hear about successes, which is typical of any environment.

I recall many, many years ago when outsourcing was really beginning to grow, we heard all kind of stories that have helped us. It was horrible and hideous, and nobody knew where they were spending money. Now there are a lot of very successful organizations operating in an outsourced model so I think it will be rocky to begin with and then it will probably manifest itself as not a bad option.

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A question from the audience is, should the business analyst role be in the initiation of projects to evaluate, acquire, implement, and operate business systems? What should the BA role be in the initiation of project? I would say that role should be at the enterprise level looking at business rules, business processes, looking at how the business functions and interacts with other business units, understanding the current state, understanding again very simply stated. I know its very complex, that but looking at the organization and how it functions and all of the interactions and relationships that goes on is not a bad starting point. It’s a big question that we could probably talk for hours about. All right I am going to jump to the next slide.

I like this slide because you know everywhere we turn there is a tablet. It’s an iPad. It’s a Blackberry Playbook. It’s a Galaxy tablet. Whatever it is, they are everywhere, and I back to modeling. I go back to business rules and processes. I just had a demo not too long ago. I am going to another demo tomorrow with a potential partner. We are starting to see applications manifest themselves in sort of a Web-based environment.

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We are starting to see requirements management tools show up an awful lot and often in the cloud based world. What a great idea. I challenge anybody out there if you are not already doing so, to come up with an application on an iPad or a Blackberry Playbook that I could sit down with my customer and draw out a model using nothing but my finger. I’d like to plug it into a projector, and say does it look like this?

Is this the process you go out with? Or even get my customer to draw the model for us, and we could tweak it. We could touch it. We could feel it. We can draw it out. Send it to a email box or have it accessed as a Goggle doc, or whatever cloud based type of environments you are working in. You’d be able access the information easily and really create that collaborative environment. How cool would that be?

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