More Than An Order Taker
That retraining happens all the time at Chevron. About 10 years ago, Chevron joined the wave of companies that shifted much of its programming to offshore outsourcers. Many of the IT pros who remained retrained to move into business analyst roles, helping business units such as retail or functions such as human resources and finance translate what they wanted to accomplish into IT system requirements. Chevron now has a center of excellence focused on training business analysts.
Sandi Spillner has been a business analyst at Chevron for 15 years, but her job keeps changing every few years, forcing her to learn the equivalent of a new industry with each move. She used to work with the retail group, so she had to learn the nuances of running gas stations to help that team build systems. She was later embedded into marketing, then 2-1/2 years ago, HR. "I think it takes a couple of years to be comfortable" with each new role, Spillner says.
That humility--admitting you don't always know the answer rather than bluffing your way past it--is a key trait for a business analyst. "We have to teach people it's OK to ask questions," Spillner says.
Total compensation for the staff title "business analyst" is up 8% since 2010, our 2012 Salary Survey finds. Earning $95,000 on average, business analysts' compensation is up 9% since 2010; they now make 5% more than the median total IT pay, compared with 2% more in 2010. Only telecom specialists (up a shocking 23%) gained more since 2010, but at $86,000, telecom compensation remains below the IT median. Business analysts still aren't in the rarefied air of architects, whose $129,000 median compensation ranks them No. 1 among IT staff titles.
ERP continues to pay well, a median $105,000. That finding may surprise those who think the age of big ERP projects has passed, but ERP is the information engine at many companies, providing some of the most trusted and consistent data. Now companies want to wring more value out of those systems by zeroing in on the data.
At Brown-Forman, Duncan works mostly with the finance team, and his projects rarely involve installing new software systems or tapping new sources of unstructured data like favorable or unfavorable comments on Web forums, the way a marketing team might. Instead, his work usually involves talking with end users about the problems they're trying to solve and "figuring out how to use what we already have" to get them data they need to solve a problem.
Pay And Stability Motivate
Our 2012 research shows almost no change in what motivates IT pros. For staffers, it's pay, stability, benefits, and a flexible work schedule. For managers, it's having their opinions valued, followed by pay, challenge, and stability.
Working with cutting-edge IT is a priority for only 21% of staffers and 19% of managers. Working on new and innovative IT systems is a priority for about the same share. CIOs should note this finding; fast-changing tech environments aren't for everyone. About a fourth of survey respondents put a premium on working with highly talented peers. Only one-fifth of managers and staff consider the potential for promotion key.
Chevron's Spillner likes not knowing what each day will hold as she digs in alongside an HR manager. "I really enjoy being able to solve problems," she says.
IT pros are reasonably satisfied and secure in their jobs. Sixty-two percent of staff and two-thirds of managers are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, nearly identical to the levels of the past five years. There's been a slight rise in job security, with 40% of staffers feeling highly secure, up from 34% in 2010. Just 12% feel insecure in their jobs.