Watermark Learning, a specialist training company based in Minneapolis, recently noticed a disproportionate number of New Zealanders registering for its CBAP (certified business analyst professional) online exam simulator. Of 51 countries which use the simulator, New Zealand ranked number four.
CBAP is a qualification that takes at least five years practical experience to attain. Recognition of its value is growing, says Watermark president Richard Larson.
Watermark followed through on the high number of Kiwis registering and after an internet search formed a partnership with Equinox to bring its training courses to the local market.
“We were seeking international partners to licence our course work. Equinox has a similar focus to us on training,” says Larson, who was in New Zealand this month with his wife and chief executive officer, Elizabeth, to run some inaugural courses at Equinox.
Hers has the unusual theme of “Influencing Without Authority”, something she says business analysts inevitably have to deal with.
Richard Larson comes from a business and mainframe background.
“I was working for a consultancy and was asked to provide mainframe training. I saw a need for focused, practical training and, in 1992, went out on my own by setting up Watermark.”
The training focuses around business analysis, project management and business process management.
“We take complex concepts and make them easy to understand,” he says.
Business analysis is a common skill-set these days but back in the 1990s was far less common, he says.
“It was not a widely used term. It was more about management requirements, data modeling and systems analysis in those days. It wasn’t really until Y2K that business analysis took off in its own right.”
Watermark’s first customer was the Wells Fargo bank, still a customer today.
Larson says the real driver behind the development of business analysis was the establishment of the International Institute of Business Analysis, in Toronto. “They established a set of standards.”