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Market Research Axioms – If You Remember Anything Remember This

Posted on November 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

The value of a strong questionnaire design when complemented by the task of high quality sample development is not fully appreciated. Often these two essential building blocks of market research are relegated to the back of the line on research projects.

Research Axiom One: You can never fully recover from a poorly written questionnaire.

o No manipulation of the variables, regardless of how cleverly done
o No amount of analysis, regardless of how brilliant
o No degree of insightful interpretation, regardless of intellectual prowess
Nothing can save you from a poor research foundation. The building will collapse like a house of cards!

If there is one part of the research process that I know, it is questionnaire design. It is a task repeatedly given insufficient time and attention. Clients and research professional alike often underestimate the time it will take to develop a truly well structured and concise instrument.

What amazes me most? Project leaders relegate this task to a status depicted by the attitude of: “Once the questionnaire is done we can get on with the important stuff, like analysis and reporting.” The assumption that analysis work is the essence of the research and the expectation that interpreting the results is where the mastery of research ultimately lies is a mystery to me.

Have we not pounded the concept of garbage-in garbage-out into our heads? Can new internet tools substitute for critical thinking and the hard work of aligning the research instrument to the purpose of the study to answer the business questions that sponsors paid to learn?

If this seems like a bit of a rant, well I guess I am guilty. My own research-on-research including the use of a 25-point questionnaire audit system has shown me that even well healed researchers are less diligent about quality than one would hope. Research is not only science it is a craft [perhaps an art] and if the proper fundamentals are not applied the product is less than artful.

I will end this part of my ranting with an analogy [but don’t be surprised to hear more on this topic]. If you have not studied and then practiced writing poetry, would you expect to publish a book of poems simply because your marketing department asked you to? Designing a good quality research instrument probably takes less talent than being a good poet, but it’s close.

Wait, not so fast, we are not done, there is another mistake from which you cannot fully recover. A poor questionnaire design is one possible fatal mistake, but not the only one. Good solid sample development is also necessary. Here is another Research Axiom worth your consideration.

Research Axiom Two: You can never fully recover from a sample that lacks validity; and once again:

o No manipulation of the variables, regardless of how cleverly done
o No amount of analysis, regardless of how brilliant
o No degree of insightful interpretation, regardless of intellectual prowess
Nothing can save you from a poorly developed sample!

The value of sample development is also underappreciated, as are the skills related to creating a valid sample. Project managers, research analysts, and all those who lose sleep over the quality of the sample sources they have available and who work hard to provide the best possible sample for each research project they conduct, are worth their weight in gold.

With numerous challenges to good sample development always hovering over us, if the research team conducting the study does not pay close attention to this critically important task the chances of deriving useful results are likely to diminish rapidly. One of the worst situations to be in, is standing in front of a room full of executives and presenting the research implications when from off in the far corner an executive vice president (EVP) asks you, “Are you sure about that finding? Who were these respondents? They don’t appear to have any knowledge about the market or our products.”

If you can definitively reply, “We believe the respondents in this sample are qualified” and then give a crisp response about the quality control (QC) steps used to verify the validity of the sample, you have saved the day. If on the other hand, you hesitate and cannot defend the validity of the sample, you have lost your audience – there is nothing more they want to hear from you because in their minds the voice of the respondents do not reflect the people they are trying to reach – the day ends badly.

If you do not care about the quality of the research you conduct, well shame on you, but at least recognize that a sample of good quality is a necessity for self-preservation – enough said.

Business Analyst Finance Domain Sample Resume

Posted on October 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

This is just a sample Business Analyst resume for freshers as well as for experienced job seekers in Finance domain of business analyst or system analyst. While this is only a sample resume, please use this only for reference purpose, do not copy the same client names or job duties for your own purpose. Always make your own resume with genuine experience.

Name: Justin Megha

Ph no: XXXXXXX

your email here.

Business Analyst, Business Systems Analyst

SUMMARY

  • Accomplished in Business Analysis, System Analysis, Quality Analysis and Project Management with extensive experience in business products, operations and Information Technology on the capital markets space specializing in Finance such as Trading, Fixed Income, Equities, Bonds, Derivatives(Swaps, Options, etc) and Mortgage with sound knowledge of broad range of financial instruments.
  • Over 11+ Years of proven track record as value-adding, delivery-loaded project hardened professional with hands-on expertise spanning in System Analysis, Architecting Financial applications, Data warehousing, Data Migrations, Data Processing, ERP applications, SOX Implementation and Process Compliance Projects.
  • Accomplishments in analysis of large-scale business systems, Project Charters, Business Requirement Documents, Business Overview Documents, Authoring Narrative Use Cases, Functional Specifications, and Technical Specifications, data warehousing, reporting and testing plans.
  • Expertise in creating UML based Modelling views like Activity/ Use Case/Data Flow/Business Flow /Navigational Flow/Wire Frame diagrams using Rational Products & MS Visio.
  • Proficient as long time liaison between business and technology with competence in Full Life Cycle of System (SLC) development with Waterfall, Agile, RUP methodology, IT Auditing and SOX Concepts as well as broad cross-functional experiences leveraging multiple frameworks.
  • Extensively worked with the On-site and Off-shore Quality Assurance Groups by assisting the QA team to perform Black Box /GUI testing/ Functionality /Regression /System /Unit/Stress /Performance/ UAT’s.
  • Facilitated change management across entire process from project conceptualization to testing through project delivery, Software Development & Implementation Management in diverse business & technical environments, with demonstrated leadership abilities.

EDUCATION

  • Post Graduate Diploma (in Business Administration), USA
  • Master’s Degree (in Computer Applications),
  • Bachelor’s Degree (in Commerce),

TECHNICAL SKILLS

Documentation Tools UML, MS Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, Project), MS Visio, Erwin

SDLC Methodologies Waterfall, Iterative, Rational Unified Process (RUP), Spiral, Agile

Modeling Tools UML, MS Visio, Erwin, Power Designer, Metastrom Provision

Reporting Tools Business Objects X IR2, Crystal Reports, MS Office Suite

QA Tools Quality Center, Test Director, Win Runner, Load Runner, QTP, Rational Requisite Pro, Bugzilla, Clear Quest

Languages Java, VB, SQL, HTML, XML, UML, ASP, JSP

Databases & OS MS SQL Server, Oracle 10g, DB2, MS Access on Windows XP / 2000, Unix

Version Control Rational Clear Case, Visual Source Safe

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

SERVICE MASTER, Memphis, TN June 08 – Till Date

Senior Business Analyst

Terminix has approximately 800 customer service agents that reside in our branches in addition to approximately 150 agents in a centralized call center in Memphis, TN. Terminix customer service agents receive approximately 25 million calls from customers each year. Many of these customer’s questions are not answered or their problems are not resolved on the first call. Currently these agents use an AS/400 based custom developed system called Mission to answer customer inquiries into branches and the Customer Communication Center. Mission – Terminix’s operation system – provides functionality for sales, field service (routing & scheduling, work order management), accounts receivable, and payroll. This system is designed modularly and is difficult to navigate for customer service agents needing to assist the customer quickly and knowledgeably. The amount of effort and time needed to train a customer service representative using the Mission system is high. This combined with low agent and customer retention is costly.

Customer Service Console enables Customer Service Associates to provide consistent, enhanced service experience, support to the Customers across the Organization. CSC is aimed at providing easy navigation, easy learning process, reduced call time and first call resolution.

Responsibilities

  • Assisted in creating Project Plan, Road Map. Designed Requirements Planning and Management document.
  • Performed Enterprise Analysis and actively participated in buying Tool Licenses.
  • Identified subject-matter experts and drove the requirements gathering process through approval of the documents that convey their needs to management, developers, and quality assurance team.
  • Performed technical project consultation, initiation, collection and documentation of client business and functional requirements, solution alternatives, functional design, testing and implementation support.
  • Requirements Elicitation, Analysis, Communication, and Validation according to Six Sigma Standards.
  • Captured Business Process Flows and Reengineered Process to achieve maximum outputs.
  • Captured As-Is Process, designed TO-BE Process and performed Gap Analysis
  • Developed and updated functional use cases and conducted business process modeling (PROVISION) to explain business requirements to development and QA teams.
  • Created Business Requirements Documents, Functional and Software Requirements Specification Documents.
  • Performed Requirements Elicitation through Use Cases, one to one meetings, Affinity Exercises, SIPOC’s.
  • Gathered and documented Use Cases, Business Rules, created and maintained Requirements/Test Traceability Matrices.

Client: The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation, Parsippany, NJ May’ 2007 – Oct’ 2007

Profile: Sr. Financial Business Analyst/ Systems Analyst.

Project Profile (1): D&B is the world’s leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses. The Point of Arrival Project and the Data Maintenance (DM) Project are the future applications of the company that the company would transit into, providing an effective method & efficient report generation system for D&B’s clients to be able purchase reports about companies they are trying to do business.

Project Profile (2): The overall purpose of this project was building a Self Awareness System(SAS) for the business community for buying SAS products and a Payment system was built for SAS. The system would provide certain combination of products (reports) for Self Monitoring report as a foundation for managing a company’s credit.

Responsibilities:

  • Conducted GAP Analysis and documented the current state and future state, after understanding the Vision from the Business Group and the Technology Group.
  • Conducted interviews with Process Owners, Administrators and Functional Heads to gather audit-related information and facilitated meetings to explain the impacts and effects of SOX compliance.
  • Played an active and lead role in gathering, analyzing and documenting the Business Requirements, the business rules and Technical Requirements from the Business Group and the Technological Group.
  • Co – Authored and prepared Graphical depictions of Narrative Use Cases, created UML Models such as Use Case Diagrams, Activity Diagrams and Flow Diagrams using MS Visio throughout the Agile methodology
  • Documented the Business Requirement Document to get a better understanding of client’s business processes of both the projects using the Agile methodology.
  • Facilitating JRP and JAD sessions, brain storming sessions with the Business Group and the Technology Group.
  • Documented the Requirement traceability matrix (RTM) and conducted UML Modelling such as creating Activity Diagrams, Flow Diagrams using MS Visio. Analysed test data to detect significant findings and recommended corrective measures
  • Co-Managed the Change Control process for the entire project as a whole by facilitating group meetings, one-on-one interview sessions and email correspondence with work stream owners to discuss the impact of Change Request on the project.
  • Worked with the Project Lead in setting realistic project expectations and in evaluating the impact of changes on the organization and plans accordingly and conducted project related presentations.
  • Co-oordinated with the off shore QA Team members to explain and develop the Test Plans, Test cases, Test and Evaluation strategy and methods for unit testing, functional testing and usability testing

Environment: Windows XP/2000, SOX, Sharepoint, SQL, MS Visio, Oracle, MS Office Suite, Mercury ITG, Mercury Quality Center, XML, XHTML, Java, J2EE.

GATEWAY COMPUTERS, Irvine, CA, Jan 06 – Mar 07

Business Analyst

At Gateway, a Leading Computer, Laptop and Accessory Manufacturer, was involved in two projects,

Order Capture Application: Objective of this Project is to Develop Various Mediums of Sales with a Centralized Catalog. This project involves wide exposure towards Requirement Analysis, Creating, Executing and Maintaining of Test plans and Test Cases. Mentored and trained staff about Tech Guide & Company Standards; Gateway reporting system: was developed with Business Objects running against Oracle data warehouse with Sales, Inventory, and HR Data Marts. This DW serves the different needs of Sales Personnel and Management. Involved in the development of it utilized Full Client reports and Web Intelligence to deliver analytics to the Contract Administration group and Pricing groups. Reporting data mart included Wholesaler Sales, Contract Sales and Rebates data.

Responsibilities:

  • Product Manager for Enterprise Level Order Entry Systems – Phone, B2B, Gateway.com and Cataloging System.
  • Modeled the Sales Order Entry process to eliminate bottleneck process steps using ERWIN.
  • Adhered and practiced RUP for implementing software development life cycle.
  • Gathered Requirements from different sources like Stakeholders, Documentation, Corporate Goals, Existing Systems, and Subject Matter Experts by conducting Workshops, Interviews, Use Cases, Prototypes, Reading Documents, Market Analysis, Observations
  • Created Functional Requirement Specification documents – which include UMLUse case diagrams, Scenarios, activity, work Flow diagrams and data mapping. Process and Data modeling with MS VISIO.
  • Worked with Technical Team to create Business Services (Web Services) that Application could leverage using SOA, to create System Architecture and CDM for common order platform.
  • Designed Payment Authorization (Credit Card, Net Terms, and Pay Pal) for the transaction/order entry systems.
  • Implemented A/B Testing, Customer Feedback Functionality to Gateway.com
  • Worked with the DW, ETL teams to create Order entry systems Business Objects reports. (Full Client, Web I)
  • Worked in a cross functional team of Business, Architects and Developers to implement new features.
  • Program Managed Enterprise Order Entry Systems – Development and Deployment Schedule.
  • Developed and maintained User Manuals, Application Documentation Manual, on Share Point tool.
  • Created Test Plansand Test Strategies to define the Objective and Approach of testing.
  • Used Quality Center to track and report system defects and bug fixes. Written modification requests for the bugs in the application and helped developers to track and resolve the problems.
  • Developed and Executed Manual, Automated Functional, GUI, Regression, UAT Test cases using QTP.
  • Gathered, documented and executed Requirements-based, Business process (workflow/user scenario), Data driven test cases for User Acceptance Testing.
  • Created Test Matrix, Used Quality Center for Test Management, track & report system defects and bug fixes.
  • Performed Load, stress Testing’s & Analyzed Performance, Response Times. Designed approach, developed visual scripts in order to test client & server side performance under various conditions to identify bottlenecks.
  • Created / developed SQL Queries (TOAD) with several parameters for Backend/DB testing
  • Conducted meetings for project status, issue identification, and parent task review, Progress Reporting.

AMC MORTGAGE SERVICES, CA, USA Oct 04 – Dec 05

Business Analyst

The primary objective of this project is to replace the existing Internal Facing Client / Server Applications with a Web enabled Application System, which can be used across all the Business Channels. This project involves wide exposure towards Requirement Analysis, Creating, Executing and Maintaining of Test plans and Test Cases. Demands understanding and testing of Data Warehouse and Data Marts, thorough knowledge of ETL and Reporting, Enhancement of the Legacy System covered all of the business requirements related to Valuations from maintaining the panel of appraisers to ordering, receiving, and reviewing the valuations.

Responsibilities:

  • Gathered Analyzed, Validated, and Managed and documented the stated Requirements. Interacted with users for verifying requirements, managing change control process, updating existing documentation.
  • Created Functional Requirement Specification documents – that include UML Use case diagrams, scenarios, activity diagrams and data mapping. Provided End User Consulting on Functionality and Business Process.
  • Acted as a client liaison to review priorities and manage the overall client queue. Provided consultation services to clients, technicians and internal departments on basic to intricate functions of the applications.
  • Identified business directions & objectives that may influence the required data and application architectures.
  • Defined, prioritized business requirements, Determine which business subject areas provide the most needed information; prioritize and sequence implementation projects accordingly.
  • Provide relevant test scenarios for the testing team. Work with test team to develop system integration test scripts and ensure the testing results correspond to the business expectations.
  • Used Test Director, QTP, Load Runner for Test management, Functional, GUI, Performance, Stress Testing
  • Perform Data Validation, Data Integration and Backend/DB testing using SQL Queries manually.
  • Created Test input requirements and prepared the test data for data driven testing.
  • Mentored, trained staff about Tech Guide & Company Standards. Set-up and Coordinate Onsite offshore teams, Conduct Knowledge Transfer sessions to the offshore team.

Lloyds Bank, UK Aug 03 – Sept 04
Business Analyst
Lloyds TSB is leader in Business, Personal and Corporate Banking. Noted financial provider for millions of customers with the financial resources to meet and manage their credit needs and to achieve their financial goals. The Project involves an applicant Information System, Loan Appraisal and Loan Sanction, Legal, Disbursements, Accounts, MIS and Report Modules of a Housing Finance System and Enhancements for their Internet Banking.

Responsibilities:

  • Translated stakeholder requirements into various documentation deliverables such as functional specifications, use cases, workflow / process diagrams, data flow / data model diagrams.
  • Produced functional specifications and led weekly meetings with developers and business units to discuss outstanding technical issues and deadlines that had to be met.
  • Coordinated project activities between clients and internal groups and information technology, including project portfolio management and project pipeline planning.
  • Provided functional expertise to developers during the technical design and construction phases of the project.
    • Documented and analyzed business workflows and processes. Present the studies to the client for approval
    • Participated in Universe development – planning, designing, Building, distribution, and maintenance phases.
    • Designed and developed Universes by defining Joins, Cardinalities between the tables.
      • Created UML use case, activity diagrams for the interaction between report analyst and the reporting systems.
      • Successfully implemented BPR and achieved improved Performance, Reduced Time and Cost.
      • Developed test plans and scripts; performed client testing for routine to complex processes to ensure proper system functioning.
      • Worked closely with UAT Testers and End Users during system validation, User Acceptance Testing to expose functionality/business logic problems that unit testing and system testing have missed out.
        • Participated in Integration, System, Regression, Performance, and UAT – Using TD, WR, Load Runner
        • Participated in defect review meetings with the team members. Worked closely with the project manager to record, track, prioritize and close bugs. Used CVS to maintain versions between various stages of SDLC.

Client: A.G. Edwards, St. Louis, MO May’ 2005 – Feb’ 2006

Profile: Sr. Business Analyst/System Analyst

Project Profile: A.G. Edwards is a full service Trading based brokerage firm in Internet-based futures, options and forex brokerage. This site allows Users (Financial Representative) to trade online. The main features of this site were: Users can open new account online to trade equitiies, bonds, derivatives and forex with the Trading system using DTCC’s applications as a Clearing House agent. The user will get real-time streaming quotes for the currency pairs they selected, their current position in the forex market, summary of work orders, payments and current money balances, P & L Accounts and available trading power, all continuously updating in real time via live quotes. The site also facilitates users to Place, Change and Cancel an Entry Order, Placing a Market Order, Place/Modify/Delete/Close a Stop Loss Limit on an Open Position.

Responsibilities:

  • Gathered Business requirements pertaining to Trading, equities and Fixed Incomes like bonds, converted the same into functional requirements by implementing the RUP methodology and authored the same in Business Requirement Document (BRD).
  • Designed and developed all Narrative Use Cases and conducted UML modeling like created Use Case Diagrams, Process Flow Diagrams and Activity Diagrams using MS Visio.
  • Implemented the entire Rational Unified Process (RUP) methodology of application development with its various workflows, artifacts and activities. Developed business process models in RUP to document existing and future business processes. Established a business Analysis methodology around the Rational Unified Process.
  • Analyzed user requirements, attended Change Request meetings to document changes and implemented procedures to test changes.
  • Assisted in developing project timelines/deliverables/strategies for effective project management.
  • Evaluated existing practices of storing and handling important financial data for compliance.
  • Involved in developing the test strategy and assisted in developed Test scenarios, test conditions and test cases
  • Partnered with the technical areas in the research, resolution of system and User Acceptance Testing (UAT).

Environment: Windows XP/2000/NT, SOX, MS Office Suite, SQL, MS SQL Server, XML, HTML, Java, J2EE, JSP, Oracle, WinRunner, Test Director

Market Research on the Cheap

Posted on October 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

Working people didn’t spend 20% of their annual income on Encyclopedia sets because some door to door salesman tricked them into thinking how nice it would be to own a bunch of books. People paid high prices for those gold bound Encyclopedias because they wanted to feel like good parents who were giving their offspring an advantage.

Emotions and the desires that spring from those emotions are the reason that people buy almost everything. A successful business understands the buying emotions and the desires of its customers, and finds a way to satisfy them.

Master salesman will tell you that it is impossible to create a need for a product or service that will not plainly satisfy what people want. Some business schools still teach that wants and needs can be created with slick marketing. How little those academics know about human nature.

The purpose of market research is to know your customer, to unravel the bundle of human emotions and find out what your potential customers really want.

Here are three ways that you can do market research on the cheap. Just because the research method is online does not mean that it cannot also be applied to an off-line business.

1. Keyword Analysis. Everyday people type queries into Google and the other search engines on an almost infinite variety of topics. There are free keyword research tools offered by Google and Microsoft, among others, that will return hundreds or results of the exact phrases that people used to find out more about any topic.

Your job as a market research analyst is to look behind the words and phrases that people use to search. Do some phrases have a greater sense of urgency than others? Are some searches more specific about the nature of a problem?

It will take a little practice, but after a while you can develop a sense of what people really want from the keyword phrases they use when they search on the Internet.

2. Active Forums. There are online forums or communities on thousands of different topics where strangers get together and talk about a common problem with more frankness and honestly then they probably would in person. Anonymity has its virtue.

You would spend thousands of dollars to do market research with a focus group. You can do nearly the same thing for free with online forums.

3. The Competitions’ Sales Letters. A professionally written sales letter will deliberately target buying emotions. Top copywriters get paid thousands of dollars to write those sales letters. You can take advantage of your competitor’s research and the copywriter’s expertise by studying the well written sales letter to identify and understand those dominant buying emotions.

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