Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Changing Perspective of a Busines Analyst

My very first interaction with a Business Analyst was in my first IT company. I was working on a small reporting project where night long efforts were usual to just make reports look better in all aspects - even with its thick/thin line formatting. Permutation and Combination of excel and word expertise were used to its extremes for such beautifications. It was a tedious task - not that it was tough, but because it was repetitive enough to make us mad :)

Since that time, I always had it in mind that Business Analysts get tough time pleasing clients on even minor details. Without knowing their exact qualifcation and job responsibilities, I abhorred the very idea of becoming one of them. While pursuing higher studies, the idea remained same - a Business Analyst, working for an IT company will have no say on his personal interest on technology or domain, but to abide by all adhoc orders coming from top management. He may be good in transport domain, but since business demands him to be in Insurance, he will have to be there, sacrificing his own interest.

With this whole idea of thoughts, I entered corporate world again - but to my dismay and curiosity - as a Business Analyst. I was just afraid of losing hold on my choice of domain amongst many industry verticals. But by holy grace, I entered enterprise services - which was a Horizontal - spanning across all verticals - even Telecom!! :) I tried making it clear even during my recruitment interview that where my interest lies, with fingers crossed, as people hardly get to pick on any industry.

Once our training started, many of us who were from Markteing, opted for CRM - Siebel, SAP and SalesForce. Fortunately or Unfortunately - I got Siebel. Did some quick search and found that it was the best in Market. As expected - it made siebel guys very happy - as we were really worried about getting into some technical financial domain. While undergoing training we also looked upon seniors who alreaqdy had some domain. Luckily we came to know about a Telecom project in our company that was on Siebel. Wow!! :)

Since location was not a constraint, my first option was always domain - which some of us, including me, communicated well in advance to our interviewing manager who wanted to know our desired domain. Few minutes later, we had a smiling face - and guess what I got..  tring tring!! (No Knock Knock). :)

We packed our bags and took a flight (with some extra luggage) to Delhi. All time what we heard about this client was its weird working environment - which seriously that aroused our curiosity as well.  We were about to work at onsite (indian) with bare minimum facilities - though we were given home pick up and drop free of cost. But hey, many people dont even get to see such implementation projects even in their career of decades. First opportunity for me to work on my desired domain and that too in a market which is still beaming with ample opportunities and innovations. What else would I require?

First few months just passed by learning about client and what has already been executed for them - bad, good, best, worst.. almost all. Acclimatizing ourselves to such evironment in the beginning was little difficult as this was not what we thought when we joined. Anyway - learning comes in many ways and this was one!

As a business analyst, what is expected out of us is not only gather requirement and comunicate to technical people. It encompasses a whole lot of other stuffs which includes - in minor details -

- Analyzing finer details of requirements and maintain its integrity in documents (said and unsaid),
- Making use cases for other resources to under (pictorically) and
- Discussing functional and slightly technical scenarios - negative as well as positive,
- Understanding overall solutions design with architects team,
- Reviewing high level desigs,
- Understanding test case scenarios for user and system testing,
- Perfomance Scenario Analysis,
- Keeping ourseles updated with latest information about market and competitor (helps in consulting),
- Communicating client about each milestone while development,
- Building rapport with all stake holders,
- Being innovative by sharing knowledge in one form or other,
- Updating ourselves with technicals of products we work on and also alternate new solutions in market,
- Tracking issues and reporting,
- Helping in pre sales activities,
- More than any thing else - bringing SIMPLICITY in everything - already IT is so complicated ;)

and there we stop... may be not!!

If everything gets over and you still have time, try somenew new - for example - we started building our own micro website for our location projects and loaded it with our learnings, award and fun trip pictures, visit details by senior management, case studies, white papers, team structure, tips, blogs, section with latest news on Telecom, etc... in other development centers, there was white paper contest.. wherein best paper would be given award and recognition...  this, indeed, gives our projects and people a good visibility among our top management.

We could take out some time to contribute to the center of excellence (CoEs) by initializing some ideas to create tools, create component based frameworks on existing projects to help similar new project gain momentum during start - to save time, can provide feedback on processes to help improve some, and many more....

Life of a business analyst is half technical and more than half is functional, a perfect BA will not think twice about venturing into technical areas. 3-4 years of experience in this role surely gives us a landscape to look out for consulting profiles in product/domain and as we say even that is not enough to be said "knowledgeable"... !

For me, perspective of BA has changed a bit from just being a "data formater" to much more than I actually imagined.. and finally I am enjoying my work! :)

1 comment:

  1. This was something missing after your long back written post.The most important thing at anypoint of your career,no matter what post/profession : is to have "interest" in what you are doing .You would start enjoying it once your are rapt in it.