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The Business Analyst Skillset in the New World

The Business Analyst Skillset in the New World

 

The Business Analyst (BA)is a key role bridging the domains of business and technical world. In midst of Outsourcing/Offshoring, this pivotal role is still preferred to reside onsite. Having been in the staffing industry for over 20 years, I am often asked this question –  what skills should I acquire and develop to be a successful Business Analyst?  Let me try to answer this from the recruiting perspective:

 

Traditional BA skills

Traditional BA skills are very much in play – communication skills being the most important trait. One needs to be a great communicator. As Andrea Morra, Director, Prudential Retirement, who heads a team who performs business analysis puts it, “Someone who can see the big picture, and then is able to break it down into the smaller components.  Someone who can inspire people around them by painting the big picture in a relatable way”.

 

As for technical skills-Data Modeling skills and SQL are a MUST have.  A rudimentary understanding of programming helps to grasp the fundamentals.  Being able to draw up Use Cases and Wire-frames are the standard skills you must have. But as the Business Analyst role is evolving and they are playing a major role in a company’s transformation, we have seen the following hottest skills for Business Analysts.

 

Agile

As more and more organizations are going towards Agile methodology, time for Business Analyst to adapt to the change and imbibe the spirit of the agile methodology. They need to understand their strengths and play accordingly.  For example, if they are playing the role of a Project Manager BA, they need to learn “ manage” or a BA on a core development team has to be technically savvy to act as a bridge between business and developers.

 

Data related technologies

Every company on this planet is talking about data and how they seek meaningful information out of it. If you like data and can play the role in data representation, you may see some good job opportunities. But you still need to learn tools such as Microstrategy, Tableau etc. and be more technical savvy from the data perspective (Sourcing, Cleansing etc.)

 

Cloud Computing

With the deployment of cloud computing, organizations are undergoing a lot of changes which include business process re-engineering and dependence on Cloud provider. Here the Business Analyst needs to make use of their soft skills and interact with vendors from time to time. Negotiation skills, vendor management, Business Process reengineering skills are a must for these kinds of scenarios.

 

Besides these skills, one of the most important skills is “continuous improvement and innovative skills”, as Andrea Morra puts it.  “Business Analysts must build creativity and have problem-solving skills”.  These are just a few examples of skills needed for Business Analyst jobs.

 

APN Consulting Inc. is proud to announce the company’s further expansion in to the healthcare industry, launching a new subsidiary called APN Healthcare Solutions which will offer healthcare staffing services such as nursing and allied health professionals.

With APN’s history of success and sustained growth over the past 10 years, Founder and CEO Vedant Pathak decided that the timing was right to expand the staffing side of the business and join the $13B healthcare staffing industry.  The new subsidiary is a compliment to existing services currently offered to healthcare clients including staffing services for IT and other office related categories and the company’s cloud based activity tracking application called Patient Care Cloud.

“In the ever changing and fast-paced business world, any organization must be open to changes and responsive to industry demands in order to survive” said Vedant Pathak.   “Hence, creating a new subsidiary focusing on healthcare staffing will be mutually beneficial to APN Consulting and our existing clients, the staffing and recruitment industry and the healthcare sector in general.  We will be able to address a current need in the marketplace while providing solutions to the healthcare staffing industry which has enjoyed a 20% growth in 2015 and is projected to continue strong growth this year at an admirable 14%.”

APN Healthcare Solutions will address the industry’s current shortage of nurses, therapists and other healthcare professionals in organizations such as hospitals and long term care facilities.  The subsidiary will align itself with APN Consulting’s proven and effective formula of success in the staffing and recruitment world through its unique recruitment process.  With the company’s high regard for integrity and its full commitment to excellence, APN Healthcare Solutions will be in full compliance with the standards set forth by the State Dept. of Health, American Nurses Association (ANA), HIPAA, OSHA and JCAHO as well as the rigid standards practiced by hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Staffing the new subsidiary are veterans of the healthcare staffing industry from the some of the most popular agencies in the area.  Sarah Bunales heads the practice and brings with her a team of professionals well known in the industry.

APN has had its finger on the pulse of the healthcare sector for many years.  As a focused industry for staffing services, APN has worked with some of the world’s largest healthcare enterprises and has even ventured in to the field of telehealth/telemedicine, a new segment on the radar of healthcare executives as a potential growth area.  APN has also worked on the IT side of healthcare, having developed a cloud based application on the force.com platform called Patient Care Cloud which is an innovative tool that helps assisted living facilities manage their residents’ activities and staff efficiency.

APN Healthcare Solutions is headquartered in APN’s main offices in Monmouth Junction NJ.  For more information about APN Healthcare Solutions, please visit www.apnhealthcare.solutions and follow APN on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Last week I attended the Vistage Executive Summit in New York. I have been a Vistage member for almost 3 years now and am a big advocate for the organization. (If anyone wants to know more about Vistage, please feel free to call me). They have a great variety of speakers who give you different perspectives. This summit was no different and had great speakers. Two of the speakers who stood out the most were Alan Mulally, former Ford CEO and Gary Vaynercheck, f***ing marketing guy.

Alan has a remarkable history of turning around the Ford Company when it dropped to the bottom. He comes across as a very humble and down to earth person. He had no airs or qualms about himself. He shared very basic principles of managing any organization; no matter the size, they must all use “working together principles and practices.” This involves “putting people first” and creating transparency across all levels. You give the same message to everyone at all levels and take interest in each other’s development. Create a healthy environment that is contagious for everyone and do not forget to have fun during the journey. A simple, clear and precise message for all to follow. Thank you for sharing Alan. Respect to you.bb

Then came Gary. He dropped more “f-bombs” than stand-up comedians do in any weeknight show. He has an interesting background and has done very well for himself. His take away was only one line; “Do your marketing in the present time.” Do not do marketing as per 2002, 2005 or 2010, just f***ing grow-up. If you think that social media is useless and you cannot make money out of it, then you are living on a different planet. Read and learn social media and use it yourself. Cultivate the culture in your organization and encourage this to be used by everyone. Be visible on social media and find your own comfort zone. Interesting and aggressive but definitely a thought provoking speaker. Loved his energy and all his f-bombs made sure that you were attentive or else you could be one of his targets.

Last but not least, the venue was 1 block away from the Brooklyn Bridge and I snuck out to walk on the bridge. Built in 1883, this is one of the oldest suspension bridges that connects Brooklyn to Manhattan. Featured in more than 15 movies, including Bollywood classic “Kal Ho Naa Ho” starring ShahRukh Khan, this bridge has some stunning views of NYC skyline.

This was the perfect ending to a perfect day. Thank you Vistage.

Don’t Miss: Our Top Blog Posts from 2013

It’s been a productive year for both APN Consulting and the IT industry as a whole. As we enjoy the spirit of the holiday season, let us take a look back at the top performing APN blog posts from 2013.

Interview Experience: Make it Memorable

March saw an article by APN Consulting Founder and CEO, Vedant Pathak, describing how clients need to give their candidates a memorable interview experience. The IT job marketplace is competitive for both people looking for a job, as well as the companies battling it out for the top technical talent. Sometimes the little steps, like a friendly receptionist, offering the interviewee some refreshment, or taking the time to fully introduce everyone on the interview panel, are what really stand out to a candidate deciding between companies.

Vistage 2013 Experience: Think BIG

Early in 2013, Vedant Pathak attended the Vistage 2013 International Member & Chair Conference in Dallas, TX. In an article chronicling the experiences gained from that conference, Pathak called the event a “very profound experience with intriguing perspectives from industry professionals.” He also noted the importance of taking the steps to actually execute the concepts and ideas learned at industry conferences such as Vistage 2013.

Employment History Gaps? Here’s How to Talk About Them

A May article looked at the best strategies for dealing with employment history gaps, both on a résumé or during an interview. Ideas like leaving the month off of work history listings on a résumé were discussed. The importance of being up front and forthright about employment gaps during the interview was stressed no matter the reason for the work sabbatical.

Calling All Mobile Developers

Mobile development is still a hot job skill for those looking for IT employment, as companies of all sizes continue to leverage smartphones and tablet computers in their daily business operations. An article from late 2012 on the growth of mobile development job opportunities is still one of the top performing blog posts for APN Consulting. The article stresses the need for software engineers to broaden their skill set to support the iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms.

2014 looks to be another great year for the tech industry and APN Consulting. They remain one of the top IT staffing companies in the New York metropolitan area. If you are interested in any of their job opportunities or if your company needs some top rank technical talent, be sure to give them a call!

Don’t Overlook These Simple Yet Important Resume Tips

Written by Vedant Pathak

One of the most common frustrations at the corporate level is having to deal with a poorly written resume. Reading a bad resume makes the reader question your intellectual capacity in the business world and writing in general.

First and foremost it is essential to understand the importance of a resume. At the beginning of your career it is more academic. If you are from a good school, have good grades, and some experience in relevant projects then the resume should be sufficient to meet the general guidelines. At this time, the employer is looking for fresh and talented candidates. An intelligent multitasking candidate helps make the search easier.

As you move up the ladder, content becomes very important. A few points must be mentioned here:

Length of the resume: The resume should be about two to three pages. Anything more and the employer loses interest. One typical problem I have seen occurs when people update their resume. They do not edit their previous projects and the resume reads more like an autobiography. Please note, no employer wants to see what you did ten years ago. Technology has changed so much that the older the project the less important it is to mention. This doesn’t mean that you remove your last experience but it is important to make it relevant with your current skills.

Summary: This should define who you are. It should express your goals and objectives, but should not be more than four to five lines.

Technologies: Many people mention the technologies that they have used throughout their life. Please understand that any technology mentioned on your profile should be capable of withstanding questioning during an interview. I would suggest to only write what you can defend or eliminate that section entirely.

Projects:  This is the most important section. It should include a company name, project name, description, responsibilities and technical environment.

Company Name: Please don’t include anything more than the name. The fortune 500 companies don’t need an introduction and for others, please use a web address. If the employer is intrigued, he or she can go to the website and explore more.

Project name / description: The name and descriptions of the project has no relevance. The key thing is to mention what you have done for those projects. For example, you may have worked on a web based project, but if you were involved in database development, it is not relevant. Be clear and specific.

Responsibilities: Be sure to include key words related to your field. If you mention that you were part of an architecture team, please be clear in mentioning your role. I have seen developers’ profiles without even a single mention of development responsibility. Again, be specific in mentioning the proper skills. Please note that coordinating with an offshore team or leading a team may be part of a developer’s responsibility but it cannot be the core of the responsibilities. Managers are always looking for key words. Use them wisely.

Multiple Resumes: Never keep multiple resumes. This is suicidal. Whenever an agency or employer sees two different resumes of the same person the game is over there and then. In cases where you feel the need to write further details regarding a particular job, please write a cover note to discuss the specific technology and what have you done there.

Needless to say please use spell check and correct grammar.

Understand that you may be the new Einstein but if your resume is not at that level, you may miss out on opportunity. So Keep your resume simple, clean and crisp.

Interview Experience: Make it Memorable.

Written by Vedant Pathak : Founder and CEO : APN Consulting, Inc.

I have seen many big corporations performing salary surveys to see whether the company is in synch with the market. Is it possible to attract top talent by giving top dollars? The answer is YES! You can, but there will always be someone else who is willing to pay more.  In this scenario –how do you attract talent?

My answer is:

Interview experience: When someone comes to your organization to interview, make it a memorable experience. How many interviews do you actually recall? If you do remember-what is the reason behind that? For example: I can still count on one hand those interviews where I had a memorable experience. I remember the receptionist making me comfortable, asking if I wanted a beverage or if I needed to use the restroom. These were very basic courtesies but they made me feel welcomed in that organization. Similarly, if any candidate comes to your organiziation for an interview, make it a memorable experience!  So that even if they are being interviewed by other companies who are willing to paying 10% more, that candidate still would want to work for you. I say it is like first date- you want to make the best impression the very first time so that things can move forward.

Big corporations should not think that they are so big and their BRAND is enough to get people in the door. But in a way, they are right. They can do the first step of getting them in the door but why would a candidate choose them over some small company who may be paying more bucks?

Make interview experience as smooth as silk. It should be flowing and spontaneous. The candidate should come out and say,  “WOW that was something.” If an organization conducts an interview in this fashion –it would leave the candidate thinking it would be so much more fun to work there. In the worst-case scenario, if a candidate was not up to the mark as per the employer he or she would still enjoy the experience and tell friends or colleagues about it. As they say “your reputation travels much faster than you do.” One cannot even imagine how this can build a great reputation for a professional employer.

A few ideas:

Welcome by the receptionist: Make sure the name is in the system so that if the candidate arrives and says, ”I am here for an interview,”  the candidate should be greeted as if he or she was being expected.

Water, Tea, or Coffee: Self Explanatory (I hope!)

Guided tour of the Facility: If a person just gets in and out of the conference room, the person has no idea about the size, kind of people, culture of the organization. A guided tour can really add value to the process.

Success Stories: These stories help boost interest and add enthusiasm. Tell stories about some of the employees who joined at the same level and how they have risen in the organization. Make sure to give actual names and titles.

Interview Panel details: I have seen many times that there are multiple interviewers but the candidate has no clue who is interviewing him and for what qualities or skills.  Provide these details.

Career Growth: How will this position grow and what could be the next option?

Punctuality: All interviewers should be punctual and on the dot. Just how employers do not like candidates who are late for the interview, interviewees do not like interviewers who are late.

Personal follow-up: There should be a thank you email for attending the interview and timelines for the next line of action. There is nothing worse than not knowing the outcome.

I am not undermining the salary survey, but what besides these surveys can one do to get top-notch employee?

Be creative here and the list is endless. Rewards are fruitful too. This may help you in gaining an employee who would be self-motivated to join the organization and excel.

Interview Experience: Make it Memorable.

Written by Vedant Pathak : Founder and CEO : APN Consulting, Inc.

I have seen many big corporates performing salary surveys to see whether the company is in synch with the market. Is it possible to attract the top talent by giving top dollars? The answer is YES! You can, but there will always be another company who would be willing to pay more money than your company. In this scenario –how do you attract talent?

My answer is:

Interview experience: Whoever comes in your organization-make sure to make it a memorable experience? How many companies do you recall going to? If you do remember-what is the reason behind that? For example: I still can count on one hand where I had gone and had a memorable experience.  I remember the receptionist asking me to be comfortable, have a beverage and possibly use restroom. These were very basic courtesies but they made me feel welcomed into that organization. Similarly, if any candidate comes for an interview, make it a memorable experience!  So that even if they are being interview by other companies who are willing to paying 10% more, that candidate still would want to work for you. I say it is like first date- you want to make the best impression the very first time so that things can move forward.

Big corporates should not think that they are so big and their BRAND is enough to get people in the door. But in a way, they are right. They can do the first step of getting them in the door but why would candidate choose the big corporate over some small company who may be paying more bucks?

Make interview experience as smooth as water. It should be flowing and spontaneous. The candidate should come out and say,  “WOW that was something”. If an organization conducts interview in this fashion –it would be so much more fun to work here. In the worst-case scenario if a candidate was not up to the mark as per the employer he or she would still enjoy the experience and tell friends or colleagues about it. As they say ”your reputation travel much faster than you”. One cannot even imagine how this can build a great reputation of a professional employer.

Few ideas:

Welcome by the receptionist: Make sure the name is in the system so that if the candidate arrives and says, ”I am here for interview” , the candidate should be greeted as if he or she was being expected.

Water, Tea, or Coffee: Self Explanatory (I hope!)

Guided tour of the Facility: If a person just gets in and out of the conference room, the person has no idea about the size, kind of people, culture of the organization. A guided tour can really add value to the process.

Success Stories: These stores help boost interest and add enthusiasm. Tell stories about some of the employees who joined at the same level and how they have risen in the organization. Make sure to give actual names and titles.

Interview Panel details: I have seen many times that there are multiple interviewers but the candidate has no clue who is interviewing him and for what qualities or skills?

Career Growth: How will this position grow and what could be the next options?

Punctuality: All interviewers should be punctual and on the dot. Just how employers do not like candidates who are late for the interview, interviewees do not like interviewers who are late.

Personal follow-up: There should be thank you email for attending the interview and timelines for the next line of action. There is nothing worse than not knowing the outcome.

I am not undermining the salary survey, but what besides these surveys can one do to get top-notch employee?

Be creative here and the list is endless. Rewards are fruitful too. This may help you in gaining an employee who would be self-motivated to join the organization and excel.

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