Business analysts celebrated in BA Awards

Animal Health Board's Jody Bullen and SkyCity's Kathryn Gillespie take out the prizes

After a gruelling judging process and an inspiring cocktail reception at Te Papa, the business analysts of the year have finally been named.

And the winners were: Jody Bullen, for the Animal Health Board’s VectorNet bovine tuberculosis control project and Kathryn Gillespie, for remodelling SkyCity’s restaurant and Sky Tower reservations systems.

For the Te Papa event, people flew and drove in from around the country, with many making the journey from Auckland and bringing friends and family to the Redvespa-sponsored awards.

Finalist Scottie Henderson and colleagues from TenderLink made the long drive from New Plymouth.

The Animal Health Board must be running out of room in its trophy cabinet, as VectorNet has now picked up a series of awards, including Computerworld’s Supreme Award for Overall Excellence last year.

Bullen, who has been with the AHB for four years, was the lead technical and senior business analyst on the project. As such, he helped develop the web-based information system that underpins AHB’s $50 million a year programme and covers more than nine million hectares in New Zealand.

Bullen cited standardisation and implementation of business terminology and processes, analysis of functional and quality requirements, along with design and definition of the functional specifications for VectorNet’s geospatial area management and integration module, as among his achievements.

That module provides the link between AHB’s business information and geographical management areas for geospatial information.

Improved collaboration, change control and traceability also featured in Bullen’s submission.

These came through the development of a centralised repository of business requirements that would free the team from exchanging Excel and Word documents.

“We needed a centralised repository of knowledge with standardised and repeatable requirements, and a specifications release process that would also provide traceability and baselines. I created a release process and developed the concept of a ‘Release Pack’. The idea of a ‘Release Pack’ is that it would contain everything a development and testing team would need to build and test the software, with minimal input from the business analysis team,” he says.

Kathryn Gillespie accepted her award saying she had found her vocation in business analysis and relished the opportunity to deliver positive change to her organisation.

Gillespie, of SkyCity’s hotel group, recognised that a nine-year-old bespoke solution for restaurant reservations and Sky Tower ticketing was a weakness in the non-gaming application portfolio.

She interviewed staff across the business to get their viewpoint and found a consensus that the system made it difficult for front-line staff to achieve customer satisfaction. She then wrote two “current state” reviews to management highlighting the issue.

Replacing the system with two better suited systems became a high priority and she was placed in charge of the associated projects.

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