Business Analysis Forum

Wednesday | 2:30pm - 3:30pm | Business Analysis Forum Track
Room: Plaza A1 & 2

Panel Discussion

Building a BA Career Centre of Excellence


Speaker Photo: Alain Arseneault

Alain Arseneault

Director, Corporate and Business Development, IIBA®


Speaker Photo: Christopher Gaffney

Christopher Gaffney

Senior Director - IT Operations Management, AXA Equitable

Donna Thomas

IT Sr. Manager, Project / Program Mgnt, AMD

Speaker Photo: Heather Davidson

Heather Davidson

Director, IT Analysis, Nationwide Insurance

Mike Sandberg

Director, IT Business Analysis, Novell, Inc.

Mark Jenkins

Associate Director, Business Analysis Center of Excellence, KPMG




    Community of Practice to Center of Excellence. Companies are struggling to grow and mature their BA practices. The value of establishing a Business Analysis Center of Excellence has been touted by many experts over the past few years, but how many of them have been successfully launched and operationalized? In fact, many organizations have taken the important first steps. Join our panellists, all who have experience in establishing BA centers of excellence in their organization, in a conversation to understand how they accomplished their goal and to ask your questions so that you can leverage their success.


    Alain Arseneault is currently Acting President and CEO of IIBA. He has been an active member of the Board of Directors during the past three-and-a-half years, as Chair of the Nominations Committee then Vice-Chair of the Board and recently as Chair of the Board. Alain is a senior management professional with over 16 years of experience in both IT and business, establishing and managing PM/SDLC strategies, standards and practices covering various tenures in business analysis, project management and change management. Alain has been a member of various advisory forums on business analysis in Toronto, Canada. Alain is a fitness enthusiast, a painter at heart and an avid reader.


    Christopher Gaffney is Senior Director -- IT Operations Management at AXA Equitable, and among other roles is responsible for all the Centers of Excellence within AXA Equitable IT.  He continues to directly lead the Business Analysis COE to advance the skills and capabilities of the BA job discipline.

    Chris leads the AXA Global BA Community which promotes BA best practices, community, tools and techniques for use at AXA companies worldwide.  The Global BA Community includes active representatives from AXA companies in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    Chris is a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) and Project Management Professional (PMP), and is trained as an AXA Six Sigma Black Belt.

    Donna Thomas is an accomplished award-winning visionary leader in strategic planning, software development, compliance, business process improvement and contract negotiations. Her career encompasses more than two decades in the technology field working for Fortune 50 companies, including developing critical global enterprise programs for Dell, Inc.

    Throughout her career, Donna has used Six-Sigma methodologies to analyze complex business processes and problems to develop end to end solutions which include people, process and technology requirements.

    Donna’s passion for coaching and mentoring has allowed her to lecture in the MIS department at the University of Texas at Austin, and publish her estimating techniques in MIS text books.

    Donna recently joined AMD, and is currently transforming a team of Business Analysts and AMD’s IT Requirement Engineering Practices.

    Heather Davidson is Director of Analysis Services for the Delivery Services department at Nationwide Insurance.  Heather manages a centralized department of Business Analysts, comprised of both associates and contractor resources.  This pool of analysts staff projects across IT and are responsible for the requirements scope across the project lifecycle.  Heather has worked at Nationwide for 26 years and held a variety of roles from Sr Analyst, to Director of Operations, to Director of IT and has worked on projects from compensation systems to recordkeeping systems.  She has played a variety of roles across Operations and IT including Business Sponsor as well as Sr. Business Analyst.

    Heather holds her ITIL Certification, and is a Certified Retirement Counselor, and Certified Buisness Analyst Professional.  She is a graduate of the Ohio State University and is currently pursuing an Analysis Certification through Muskingum University.

    Mike Sandberg, CBAP, is a Director of the Business Analysis Center of Excellence at Novell, Inc. He currently manages a team of 13 Business Analysts that support Novell's IT projects. With 19 years of experience in the software industry, Mike has worked as a Business Analyst on multi-million dollar COTS implementations as well as smaller custom in-house applications. Over the past several years, Mike was tasked with building a BA practice in Novell's IT group. Most recently, he has worked extensively on developing BA processes and tools that support outsourced IT projects. Mike holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Behavior.

    Mark Jenkins is the Associate Director of Business Analysis at KPMG. Prior to KPMG, Mark established a highly successful Business Analysis group at Internet Security leader Websense. In both roles he led and managed a team of Business Analyst's dedicated to supporting the goals of business units. Mark draws on his 8 years of Business Analysis experience, including numerous CRM initiatives and a wide range of projects, across all business areas.

# # #