BCS-ISEB Business Analysis Training

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1 BCS-ISEB Business Analysis Training Qualifications and Training Explained

2 BCS-ISEB Business Analysis Training Business Analysis is where business management skills and IT systems skills meet. It s an important area for most organisations as their reliance on efficient processes and systems increases. Individuals with the right blend of skills can make a major contribution to effective use of resources and the delivery of high quality services. The most widely recognised Business Analysis training and qualifications are accredited by BCS (the British Computer Society). Until recently they fell under the ISEB banner which was the examination board of the BCS. This guide explains the BCS-ISEB courses which are available and how the Business Analysis Diploma operates. Prepared by: Rex Gibson Development Director About: specialises in provision of Best Practice training within the fields of IT and Project Management. A comprehensive range of ITIL, BCS-ISEB, Microsoft, PRINCE2, and other training courses from leading accredited training organisations can be booked at its website: The BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, is a leading institute for IT professionals around the world offering qualifications which recognise the skills of IT professionals. Exams and associated training are widely available and providers are accredited to ensure high and consistent standards. Rex Gibson leads the IT team at Focus. He has successfully executed major business change and IT projects, and has managed international engineering companies with significant IT dependency. Version 2.01 May

3 Contents 1. Why Business Analysis? 2. Becoming a Business Analyst 3. Why BCS-ISEB? 4. Training, Exams and Resources 5. FAQs 6. Core Modules What will I Learn? 6.1. Business Analysis Practice 6.2. Requirements Engineering 7. Specialist Practitioner Modules What will I Learn? 7.1. Modelling Business Processes 7.2. Systems Modelling Techniques 7.3. Benefits Management & Business Acceptance 7.4. Systems Development Essentials 8. Specialist Foundation Modules What will I Learn? 8.1. Commercial Awareness 8.2. Foundation in Business Analysis 8.3. Foundation in IT Enabled Business Change 8.4. Foundation in IS Project Management

4 1. Why Business Analysis? Successful organisations today understand how to integrate their IT systems and broader business processes to deliver differentiated products and services to their customers. At one level it may simply be about incremental quality improvement and cost savings; it may also involve more profound business re-engineering to support a step change in business model. The skills to achieve this are complex and multidisciplinary. Twenty years ago the systems analyst documented existing paper based processes and then automated these through computerised systems. Today s business analysts can be vital agents for change. They help identify change needs; capture and communicate requirements; evaluate and optimise business processes in line with organisational objectives; ensure defined requirements are delivered by IT; and they support the implementation process across different functional departments through to final business acceptance. 2. Becoming a Business Analyst The Business Analyst needs to build practical experience and formal training which spans the above areas: - Business objectives and processes including sales, operations and finance - Information Systems analysis, design and deployment - Communications

5 Whilst most Business Analysts will have an IT background this is not strictly necessary. Change managers, project managers and those with more general business skills may well be positioned to enhance their understanding of the more technical systems development and modelling skills. Moreover, it is increasingly common for Business Analysts to be positioned outside of the IT department reflecting the pervasive and integral role of IT within today s organisations. There is also a strong and growing use of Business Analysts in consultancy and interim management roles. Few Business Analysts have started their career in this role. Most will have a foundation in areas such as systems development, technical analysis, operational research, project management, quality improvement, or financial analysis. The usual requirement is for individuals to extend best practice skills into a range of areas where they are less proficient. This calls for practical and modular training rather than highly academic input. The range of courses developed by the BCS meets this need and the associated exams provide independent validation of your capabilities. 3. Why BCS-ISEB? The Professional Certification arm of the BCS (British Computer Society) specialises in training and exams for IT professionals. It was formerly known as the ISEB. The exams cover 8 major IS areas and over 250,000 exams have been delivered globally. Business Analysis and IS Consultancy is one of the most popular BCS certification categories. There are a series of short courses with exams which can be selected according to training requirement. Courses involve 2 to 4 days of training and an exam can be taken either as part of the course or at a separate session later. The benefit of this modular approach is: - Flexibility to concentrate on the topics you require - Training inputs run alongside your work based experience - Each module provides a well regarded certification Those pursuing a career as a Business Analyst are likely to seek the BCS Business Analysis Diploma. This requires completion of 2 core modules and 2 specialist options. The core compulsory courses are Business Analysis Practice (previously known as Business Analysis Essentials) and Requirements Engineering. The specialist modules are divided into two groups and candidates choose one from each. Candidates will then sit an oral exam with the BCS which tests their ability to communicate effectively and to apply knowledge to their own work environment

6 Delegates who already hold the CBAP qualification from the International Institute of Business Analysis need only take Business Analysis Practice and one Practitioner Specialism. 4. Training, Exams and Resources Training is delivered by specialist providers who have been accredited by the BCS. The courses are delivered in a conventional instructor led classroom environment. Both public scheduled and company specific in-house training is available. Focus offers ISEB Business Analysis training from most of the UK s accredited trainers, enabling you to find and book the course most convenient for you. BCS Accreditation for Business Analysis allows training providers flexibility in the style of course materials and course formats. Call Focus if you are looking for advice on which course is likely to be most suitable. Sections 6 and 7 of this paper provide an overview of each of the Business Analysis modular courses. There is a one hour open book exam associated with the Core Modules and the Specialist courses. The exams are based on a business scenario and 15 minutes reading time is allowed. The pass mark for these written exams is 50%. The knowledge based Foundation courses involve a one hour closed book multiple choice exam with pass mark of 65%

7 The oral exam for the Diploma is arranged directly with the BCS. It comprises a 50 minute session, conducted by 2 examiners. The oral exam must be taken no later than 12 months after notification of the final modular exam result. The courses do not use a definitive manual but you will receive copies of course materials. In addition, the BCS has a recommended reading list for each course which is available on their website. The following book provides a useful introductory guide providing workable skills and techniques, underpinned with academic theory. Business Analysis Editors: D. Paul and D. Yeates Publication Date: July 2010 Publisher: BCS ISBN: FAQs Do I need to pass multiple exams to obtain my Certificate? No. Each module provides its own BCS certification. It is only if you want the BCS Diploma in Business Analysis that you need to pass four modules and sit the oral exam. Is the Business Analysis Foundation Course a pre-requisite? No. However it is the best starting point for those with little background in Business Analysis since it provides an overview of all the main topics. Those who already work in Business Analysis may find the Foundation teaches them little. Under the latest qualification structure, it does count towards the Diploma as a specialist option. Which order should I take the modules? It is not essential to take the modules in a given order. Most people prefer to take Business Analysis Practice or Requirements Engineering first since they deliver very practical skills and help provide a framework for broader understanding of Business Analysis. Why can I not find Business Analysis Essentials? This has been renamed BCS Business Analysis Practice. Until recently, many people assumed that the best introductory course was ISEB Business Analysis Essentials. It is in fact a practitioner level course which sets Business Analysis in broad strategic context

8 Are there fast track routes to obtaining the ISEB Diploma? Yes. Focus offers a 10 day residential course which covers all 4 modules and the price includes the exam fees for the four written exams. We also have a 5 day course which covers the requirements and exams for both Business Analysis Practice and Requirements Engineering. And there are regular opportunities to take all four certificates in two successive weeks on non residential courses in London. Is it cheaper to book a package of courses to obtain the Diploma? Yes. You will significantly reduce the cost of your training and exams if you are able to book and pay for a series of modular courses in advance. The package price, course dates and scope will vary by the delivery partner we work with. Contact Focus on or see Can I study On-line instead of with class room courses? Focus offers online learning for the BCS Business Analysis Foundation. The exam can be taken at a Pearson Vue test centre. Why does the course duration differ for the same modular course? The BCS recommends a minimum number of hours training for a given syllabus but it is up to our training partners to set the course length according to the needs of delegates. This means that course durations vary; the course content will be consistent and we recommend that if you have a choice, you select according to your confidence level in the subject matter. When is the exam taken? The exam is usually taken on the final day of the course. There are a few exceptions and for instance it is common for the exam associated with 2 day weekend courses to be scheduled later. Check the course details on the Focus website. Is the exam fee included in the price of a course? Yes. Because we find that nearly all our delegates wish to sit the exam, Focus prices include the exam fee. Take care when looking at non Focus options: trainers will sometimes present the exam as an optional extra. If you do not need the exam then let us know. Are there any pre-requisites? There are no absolute pre-requisites for the Business Analysis courses but the Focus website will indicate the target audience for which the training is most suited. To obtain the Diploma it is necessary to attend the BCS oral exam within 12 months of completing the 4 required modules. Do previous version BCS-ISEB Certificates count towards the Diploma? They may do. The BCS publishes an equivalence chart on its website

9 Core Modules What will I Learn? 5.1. Business Analysis Practice (formerly BA Essentials) Demonstrate understanding of business strategy and strategic analysis techniques Explain techniques to investigate an organisation s business systems Make recommendations for business improvement Understand the contents of a rigorous business case Identify how business requirements may be supported by IT systems 5.2. Requirements Engineering Describe the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in the requirements engineering process Understand requirements elicitation techniques Document and prioritise requirements for an information system Explain the importance of linking requirements to the Business Case Understand the principles of requirements management and validation 6. Specialist Practitioner Modules What will I Learn? 6.1. Modelling Business Processes Identify and model core business processes Analyse the tasks within a business process Identify applicable performance measures Identify managerial issues related to business processes Evaluate and improve business processes

10 6.2. Systems Modelling Techniques Justify the need for IT systems modelling and modelling techniques Develop models of systems functionality Develop models of systems data Develop a dynamic model Evaluate models against business objectives and systems requirements and appreciate their interrelationships Most of the Systems Modelling Techniques courses are based on UML (Unified Modeling Language). A few options align with Structured modelling approaches Benefits Management & Business Acceptance Structure a business case and explain the importance of alignment with business strategy Understand the different categories of benefit, and the benefit owners Develop appropriate test specifications and testing plans Plan for implementation of business change Review benefit achievement and assess potential for further benefits delivery 6.4. Systems Development Essentials Interpret business requirements and produce systems requirements Quality assure systems requirements and design test cases Understand commonly used development lifecycles and be able to describe the detailed structure and activities of at least one Identify different architectures for systems development solutions Explain how CASE tools might be used to support the development methodology

11 7. Specialist Foundation Modules What will I Learn? 7.1. Commercial Awareness (formerly Organisational Context) Identify different types of business organisation The advantages and disadvantages of different management structures and cultures The role of key functions within organisations Key elements of the balance sheet and profit & loss account Apply investment appraisal, costing and cash flow forecasting techniques 7.2. Foundation in Business Analysis An introduction to Business Analysis suitable for those intending to study the higher level BA courses or for those specialising in areas such as Systems Development Business system and business process modelling Requirements engineering Business case development Management of change 7.3. Foundation in IT enabled Business Change Appreciate the processes and roles involved The inter relationship between IT and organisational effectiveness The principles of business change design Implementation processes and benefits management Modelling techniques to support effective IT enabled change

12 7.4. Foundation in IS Project Management Characteristics of IS projects Project Lifecycles and Implementation Options Project Planning and control Quality, Estimating, & Risk Project Organisation and Communication Visit the Focus website where you can browse and book accredited Business Analysis training throughout the UK

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