Business System Analyst

Perry Underdown
A free video tutorial from Perry Underdown
Instructor, Director, Digital Transformation
4.4 instructor rating • 1 course • 11,431 students

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Six Figure Career Plan - Land Your Dream Job in Technology

Achieve a high paying & rewarding profession in Information Technology and start your path towards a six figure career!

06:49:33 of on-demand video • Updated April 2015

  • Understand the immense six-figure career opportunities available in Information Technology
  • Possess a strong foundation in the fundamentals of Information Technology and how IT integrates into our daily lives.
  • Understand the core IT components and how they fit together. This foundation will lay the groundwork and help you choose your new career in Information Technology.
  • Learn about the most profitable careers in Information Technology and how you can achieve them.
  • Execute a well defined plan to achieve a lucrative new IT career in as little as six months.
English [Auto] Welcome back my friends Perry once more and I am really excited about this next course it is the business systems analyst or BSA. I'm just going say BSA because BSA is a whole lot shorter. And we're going to be saying it a lot now. I love this job. I actually have been in BSA before and I have to tell you given the Elise my personality it is an awesome position becoming a business systems analyst gives you opportunities that aren't available in a lot of other jobs. You get to work across many different departments in an organization you get to learn a ton of new things new technology to get to work with a lot of different teams and it's just such a huge it's a great career if it's what you want to do which a lot of people are professional essays and spend their career doing it. And let me tell you a powerful seasoned BSA is worth their weight in gold. Someone who has really a lot of diverse experience and has worked a lot of projects. It's someone you want on your team to be sure. Also however a lot of people use the BSA role to jump into other opportunities to find different jobs in management. So it's it's a great platform either is a long term career or is the starting point for other sort of growth in terms of technology leadership downstream. Now a Business Systems Analyst say they're really a combination of things they're like part detective part diplomat part engineer part project manager. They have to wear a lot of hats and they really are the conduit between information technology and the business. Now we talk a lot about the business and if you hear me talk about the client and business I tend to use those interchangeably. The business is basically the non technology group that has a requirement and needs something built or delivered or implement implemented and has the budget to pay for it. They're the ones that say hey I'm human resources and I need a new H.R. system that does X or I'm in finance and I need a new financial system that does Y. So generally the business the client will work with information technology to provide a set of requirements that will then drive the implementation or creation of a new solution to meet their specific requirements. And the key person to help drive that and be the bridge between the business and between technology is the BSA the BSA is the one that can speak both languages they can sit down and have a great conversation with the business and really try to hash out what they're trying to accomplish and they can also meet with and spend time and guide and lead the technology group to deliver that solution that the business needs. So really they're the primary liaison between the two groups between the business and between technology and the majority of projects that fail kind of fail early. I don't want to say that again they fail early. And the reason they fail is all products fell for a lot of reasons. One of the big reasons at least the one that I've experienced is poor communication and poor requirements gathering getting There's that word requirements and requirements are really just that they are a requirement from the business that gets translated to the technology group when they come up with a feature or function that will meet that requirement. In this new solution whatever that solution might be. So if requirements aren't clearly defined and understood by both the business and technology the project will fail. This happens all the time. Poor requirements gathering and poor communication requirements and poor communication between the business and technology is definitely one of the predominant factors. So the BSA has to be that conduit between the two organizations to really translate what the business is asking for and translate that to technology so they have a clear understanding and they say yes we can create a solution that will meet those requirements will meet their budget and we can deliver at a certain time frame that my friend is as much art as science to be that BSA. But let me tell you it it definitely is a lot of work and it can be a little stressful but it's also really amazing especially if you're like me and you get bored easily and you can just work on one thing for you know a year at a time. All these different projects are always changing and evolving and the BSA is really out there in front making it happen. So traits of a great BSA. They're easy to engage. These are approachable people these are likable people these are people that you like to hang out with. The BSA has a good personality. They're not prickly. They're really someone that you can go to and say hey I'm having a problem or could you help me with this. And they're there for you. Absolutely. They have excellent written and verbal communication skills. OK. I cannot stress this enough. Written skills and writing down and thoroughly documenting and making sure that that documentation is disseminated and organized and searchable and track and that you know you can create you know plans around all that written information is is really one of the core responsibilities of a business analyst. So when I first started my career I had horrible written communication skills. I was always a pretty good verbal communicator but my writing skills were just as good to be honest about it. Just they were not very good. And I really had to bust my butt to get great at being a good written communicator. And even now I'd get myself maybe a B-plus. I'm not an A-plus. There are some folks are really great at it but there's a core fundamental level of documentation that has to happen all the time in the business systems analyst is the person really making that happen. Again they're capturing requirements they're capturing meeting notes they're logging risks and issues. They're tracking bugs. All of that has to be written clearly and concisely and everyone has to be able to consume that information to be able and have it be actionable. And if you're not a great writer and Liesl if you're not a concise writer you're going to have issues so definitely if you get you're great written and verbal communication skills this is a great job for you if you're a little weak on one you're going to have to buff buff up on those a little bit. Effective listener now there's this quote from Dale Carnegie I love in a probably way over use it but it says that most people don't listen they just wait for their turn to talk. And oh my goodness is that true. For like half the people I've ever done business with. Most people don't listen this way for their turn of the talk. The BSA has to listen and not just listen. They have to translate because they're dealing with the business the business is the business of whatever their business is is finance H.R. advertising design. They don't speak tech and they don't know what they don't know and they may have built assumptions along the way they may have seen a vendor came in and gave him a really sexy presentation on something and jumped to a conclusion that that's what they need but you need to listen really listen about what they are trying to accomplish what their pain points are what their hopes and dreams are. And then you need to translate that. So the technology group can really discern it and come up with viable alternatives. And if you're listening with prejudice if you're going in there with your own concepts and ideas and meet like oh this is what they need and you're not really listening. Then you get around to problems because when you have two people with two sets of assumptions right out the gate and they're not sinking and there's not really it's not distilled down to the absolute bare bones basics of requirements you're going to run into problems so you have to be a good listener but even more so you have to capture what you're listening and translate that for the rest of the tech team so they can really understand what the business is trying to get to calm under pressure. So these projects are big. And when I say big like I my lovely wife right now is doing a project for a large retail organization and she is heading up test for that. And it's a $26 billion project. And what's hilarious is it's not the companies because projects like the seventh biggest project these numbers are so high and these large companies the type of tech projects they do that it is not uncommon for people to lose their jobs because decisions were made poorly over the course of a project whole careers are destroyed because of decisions made during high dollar projects. So you as a business analyst you have got to be that calming force the Zen Buddhist brain the calm and the loved the project and trying to get out in front of any potential issue before it becomes a real major problem a nightmare to all parties involved you have to be calm under pressure. Multi-discipline I think this is great. This one of things I love about BSA. You can come from a lot of different backgrounds and be an amazing BSA. So what it really happens is people will start off in one career track get bored or get stifled or hit a point where they can't make any more money and they start looking around for other options. Good example of this. I know a few individuals who went to school for nursing. They were very talented awesome nurses but they got all they got. They really weren't the people that got tired taking care of people like us. They'd get mad me if they heard me say that they just wanted a change. And so they went and did all school and got certified as business analyst. And now they help implement HIIT projects or healthcare information technology type projects type systems. So they're amazing background in working in the hospital is so powerful in implementing the systems that support the hospital. That's just one example you can look at manufacturing marketing advertising all those technology drives our entire world now. And there's all these different specialty systems being able to have that background that multi-discipline background where you can say hey I'm actually really familiar because I've been the business user before on this and I know what the pain points are. That's really powerful stuff. Curious inquisitive by nature you gotta be curious because here's the thing you're going to throw in on projects as a BSA that you know absolutely nothing about. You're just start working on let's see hypothetically you have more of a finance background but you're in a large company like up. You've got to go with a jar project and you don't know anything about H.R. systems. Well you've got to learn you've got to go out there and you get to find out information about the systems you're implementing. You've got to find out what the common challenges are that H.R. departments experience. You've got to figure out who all the players are. You've got lots of homework to do. Being a good BSA is really happens as much in the research as it does in the action actually knowing what's going to like what the different variables are who the different players are. You've got to have that curiosity and you've definitely got to be inquisitive and do your homework and ask questions. You just can't sit there in a vacuum. Otherwise you're not to be particularly effective strategic thinker. We talked about how stressful sometimes these projects get especially their big dollar high profile high visibility projects some companies and let me put it in perspective for you. There are companies who have had to I.T. projects like maybe enterprise resource planning or large scale CRM customer relationship support that have gone sideways and it's tanked the stock price of the company. That's how big a deal some of these I.T. projects are. Now. That's not going to be the bulk of what you work on but you definitely could work on those projects and people get weird and up tight and they feel like their jobs in danger they get really all kinds of strange. You've got to be strategic. You've got to realize that maybe some people have different agendas or some people are trying to cause problems that maybe are inappropriate. You'd never know. It's a weird world out there and people do weird things. You have got to pay attention to all the different elements and be strategic. At the end of the day your only goal in life is to make sure that projects delivered on time and on budget and meets the requirements that are agreed upon with the business and anything else is just a burden and noise and you have to be strategic about how you get around that how you're going to navigate all those different challenges to ensure the project is successful. And that's one of the big goals for both the business systems analyst as well as the project manager team player. This is completely a team sport. Being a business analyst you were working with the team you are not an individual contributor. Everything you do impacts both the business the customer as well as your tech team that you're working with directly so you got to be a team player if you're not so good on the team. This may not be the job for you. You've got to work well with others. Otherwise it's going to be it's going to be a challenge. Approachable with a relaxed disposition. I was thinking about this because I've worked with a lot of different folks across business and I.T. and the business analysts that I always love the most are the ones that generally have a smile on their face and don't look super stressed out. Some people can be a little drama. I think you might know one or two of those those folks you don't like really rely on and those folks you don't want to put a ton of responsibility on. You want to really deal with the folks that are relaxed approachable and don't lose their nerve every time some little challenge emerges. So that's really it's really important you know kind of going back to that calm under pressure under pressure. You just want to give that or being approachable with a relaxed disposition. And I'm not sure if you're noticing yet but these really all of these traits are the traits that generally senior management wants to see in their leaders. So this is why being a BSA is such a great jumping off role to move into leadership in an organization because again they want their leaders to be calm under pressure team players approachable with relaxed disposition. So these are just great skills to have. In general if you want to grow in your career detail oriented. Well I got to tell you it is critical that a business analyst is detail oriented. I learned this lesson the hard way because I have a lot of great attributes when I first got started. I was not what you'd call a super detail oriented person. In fact if I can be very transparent in my personal life I'm probably not as detail aren't as they should be. But I'll tell you after having a few things blow up in my face because I didn't I wasn't as organized and detailed as I should have been. I got detail oriented pretty quickly so there are so many things that could potentially be burdens or cause problems or be bottlenecks in a project and you're always going to kind of keep your eye on those and communicate them. And at some point it almost becomes instinctual. But you've really got to make sure that you are detail oriented that all your information is being collected documented disseminated managed appropriately that you're communicating with all the right parties that you're communicating risks and issues. It's the details that make a project. And you know it's an overused saying but the devil is in the details and that's one of percent true cause. Let me tell you a project can go to hell quickly if you don't take care of the details. So working closely with the client to say examines all this stuff existing business models and Flo's their data their different needs they dig into it. So having like a little a good sense of business and human and being comfortable with data is not a bad thing. I'm just going to warn you right now you're probably going to be going through miles of Excel files and actually one of your goals is to probably consolidate those Excel files into a more manageable format like a internet share plane or you know a you know be-I reporting or dashboard scene you know that's one of the real core aspects is getting all this crazy extraneous data into a manageable source. But you've got to have the patience to be able to go through all those Excel files and capture all that information. So nothing gets missed or in the project and because you know the BSA is interfacing with the technical project team to design an I.T. solution that satisfies the client's requirements. But I'm going to give you. It's not really a secret. Just my personal experience. The client will not know all their requirements. They will not figure out some of their requirements until you're two thirds through the project. So that's why it's so important to do your homework. Go through the data. Look at all the different variables so you can figure out some of their client's requirements for the business and get out in front of it. And I know that sounds counterintuitive but it's really a reality that you as the BSA have got to do that homework and do the heavy lifting from a research perspective because often the business won't do it. However if things are mis and somebody is perceived as being undone or a feature is not there and the business is unhappy. There'll be this perception and by the way I hate that word perception but let me tell you it wields a lot of weight. There will be a perception that the project was a failure. So you got to be comfortable doing that homework so you can get that technical scope together. So nothing's missed so that you can deliver a project that the client will be happy with that the business will be happy with.