Posted by: Doug Geiger | 2009/05/21

What would you say…you do here?

So, what do you do?

When I tell people what I do I often get blank looks–and for good reason. The term “business analyst” is the combination of two of the most ambiguous words in the English language. In almost all cases a business analyst (BA) will need to understand some sort of process, procedure or objective really well and then create solutions which accomplish specific goals.

Depending on the BA’s field and project, their knowledge may be a mile wide or a mile deep. Most BAs I’ve met are pretty versatile and can pick up new skills and technologies quickly. Other BAs are extremely focused on their particular field. In fact, some BAs focus solely on integrating databases and even then, only for Fortune 500 financial companies. The key quality that all good business analysts have, regardless of their field,  is the ability to truly understand a problem, ask a lot of questions and present measured solutions.

Who needs one of those?

That gets to be a little tricky because a business analyst, like a project manager, can be either a stand-alone full-time job or it can be a skill-set within another job. Whether or not a given organization needs a BA depends on the nature of the work the company does. Because most businesses in America are small and medium sized; there are a lot of us floating around with other titles or with dual (or triple) roles. 

What I love about business analysis is how it blends research, creativity and strategy. These three ingredients are good for almost any company to have on hand. Often times a company will bring on a business analyst for short-term projects or as needed. In this way, business analysis is like marketing; we are both needed, but may be done full-time or part-time, in-house or contracted.

What does this have to do with me?

Allow me to share a little of my philosophy on learning. While it is fun to be a guy that knows a little about a lot (especially when it comes to trivia board games); I prefer to learn from those that know a lot about a little. I pay attention to librarians like Meredith since she is really good at helping others access the information they need. I read the blog of an editor to learn about typesetting and proper diction. I follow marketing types like Chris Brogan, Seth Godin and my buddy Jeremiah Staes at Portage Media. I follow these folks because I like who they are as people and I like their style of communication. I feel like they are smart friends of mine. I follow them because sometimes they drop gems in my laps and I feel like I have a really cool clever board of advisors.

Now, let me swing back around to the question. The reason my site might appeal to you is because I’m sharing tools, methods and ideas that will help you solve business problems. My goal is to be an ambassador to my field and to share some of its tips and tricks. If I make into your cool clever board of advisors, I would be honored.

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