What does it take to become a Business Analyst? – Part 7

What does it take to become a Business Analyst? – Part 7

By George Bridges

In this blog, which is the final episode of this series, we will explore another topic covered in the Underlying Competencies of the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK). The area we will explore in this blog is The Business Analyst must possess knowledge of the Software Applications.”

The Business Analyst must possess knowledge of the Software Applications.

General Purpose Applications

A business analyst often use office productivity applications to document and track requirements.

These applications generally consist of three components in a suite of tools: word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation components. The documents produced by these applications are the primary ways in which information is stored and distributed in many organizations. The business analyst must be proficient in the use of these tools; even where more specialized tools are available. These general purpose applications have the advantage of being purchased at a low-cost or could also be obtained at no cost.

Specialized Applications

A business analyst will use specialized applications to support the development of a formal or informal model of a particular business process. The tools in these applications are designed to support the rapid development and documentation of many types of business models. Often a set of stencils for a particular modeling notation are available for rapid use and re-use when developing business models.  For instance with the latest version of Visio, a business analyst has access to all the latest business process modeling practices, such as Entity Relationship Diagrams, UML, Data Flow Diagrams and many more including the latest Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN).

More extravagant business analysis software suites can help in building a storehouse of requirements, artifacts, process models, business rules while providing the team with means to report traceability throughout the project. The value of traceability alone is well worth the investment into these specialized software packages. Traceability can provide paybacks in the following areas:

Project Tracking          

Helps to sustain an accurate record of the implementation status of planned functionality.

Re-engineering

Helps to link legacy system’s functions being replaced with where they are in new system’s requirements and software components.

Also can help in reverse engineering.

Re-use

Aids reusing product components by identifying packages of related:

–          Designs

–          Requirements

–          Code

–          Tests

Risk Reduction

If facts or knowledge sources are lost or leave the project; the component interactions are still retained.

Testing

Provide links between tests, requirements, and code points to examine for defects.

Can eliminate redundant tests by knowing which tests verify which requirements.

Here is a preliminary list of the software applications that are evolving in the marketplace for business analysis:

Acclaro DFSS Accompa
Accept 360 AnalystPro
Application Lifecycle Mgmt Blueprint Reqs Cntr 2010
Caliber-RM codeBeamer RM
Case Complete CASE Spec
Concerto Cognition Cockpit
CORE Cradle
DOORS Enterprise Architect
GatherSpace GMARC

 

HP Requirements Management inteGREAT
IRqA Jama Contour
Leap SE Lighthouse RM
Mac A&D and Win A&D MKS Requirements
objectiF OneDesk
Open Source RM PACE
PixRef Pro PolarionReqs
Projectricity Rally
RequirementOne RaQuest
Requirement Tracing System Requisite Pro
RMTrak ScopeTracker
Serena SoftREQ
SpiraTest Teamcenter
TestTrackRM TopTeam Analyst

Online research of the tools listed above will give you additional awareness of the many features and functions used to support business analysis.

Summary

The landscape for business analysis applications is growing and will continue to increase as the business analyst profession matures. It is important to stay up-to-date on the new applications that will make the role of the business analyst a strategically vital link in their organization. I suggest you do your homework to find out what new applications are available to you; try them before you buy them and determine what works or doesn’t work for your team.  Try watching demos and presentations about the new applications that you are considering. Get a free demo of the software and try it out for at least one month before deciding or recommending the purchasing of the application.

As stated in the previous articles, to get into any new field, it takes hard work, dedication and a commitment to this occupation; if you are ready to commit and willing to work hard and devote yourself to business analysis, you can get into the business analysis field. You should also consider getting a professional coach or mentor to help you as you start your career in business analysis. Finally, set some personal and professional objectives that will keep you on a path of constant improvement and success.

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