Speaker Guidelines: Business Analysis Conference Europe

Call For Speakers

Business Analysis Conference Europe 2020

Business Analysis – 2020 VISIONaries

The deadline for submissions has been extended to 6 March 2020.  

The Business Analysis Conference Europe 2020 will be held on 21-23 September 2020, London. The conference is organised by IRM UK and the Conference Advisory Board which includes representatives from the UK Chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis® (IIBA®), BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and Assist Knowledge Development Ltd.

We are looking for a range of session stylesincluding interactive workshops and standard conference sessions. We aim to offer a good balance across all the tracks of styles, topics, experiences and case study examples. You will be asked to indicate the Audience Skill level addressed: Basic, Medium, Advanced, All Levels, when completing your application. Workshops run on the first day and should last for three hours; standard presentation sessions take place on the 2nd and 3rd day, and should last for 50 minutes (including 10 minutes for questions), however, there will also be some 20 minute session slots (including 5 minutes for questions) available.

Presentation Proposals

Proposals are now being accepted from potential speakers. The Conference Advisory Board is looking for speakers who can provide information, insights and experiences on topics related to business analysis. Do you have a subject you wish to discuss with an informed audience? Is there a member of your team who has some interesting experiences to share? Could you or anyone in your team offer a presentation that would provide an interesting contribution to the conference? If so, we invite you to submit a presentation proposal.

We anticipate that there will be a large volume of submissions this year. In 2019 we received over 200 submissions, which meant we were only able to select roughly one in three speaking proposals, and we’re expecting an even larger uptake this year. As such, it’s important that your proposal is focused, adheres to the conference guidelines and offers something engaging and useful; this way you can ensure it has the best chance of being selected.

We asked some of our previous speakers about their experiences. While they all found the experience rewarding, they commented that preparing a polished presentation takes time. The BA Conference Europe is a community driven conference so you don’t need to be a professional presenter. However, you do need to ensure that you will have time available to design and practice your presentation before the day. Our speakers tell us that this often takes longer than they had originally thought so please only put a proposal forward if you are confident that you will have sufficient time available.  Throughout the process, members of the Conference Advisory Board will provide feedback on proposed presentations and will be available to assist you should you have any questions or require support.

If you are provisionally selected, we will ask you for a one-page synopsis of your presentation; this synopsis should offer an outline of the storyline.  Once the synopsis has been received and reviewed we will then confirm you as a speaker.  To ensure that we treat all proposals fairly, we may also ask follow-up questions once you have submitted your submission and possibly ask you to attend a short interview via phone. During the period leading up to the conference, your slides will be reviewed and you may be asked to make changes in order to ensure that they are of a good standard. Members of the Conference Advisory Board will provide ongoing support, collaboration and advice to all selected speakers.

Presentations should help delegates to understand the nature of the Business Analyst role in different contexts and should provide information that can be used by delegates to help educate and inform people in their own organisations and when considering the development of their own careers.

This is what you need to do:  submit proposal (by 6 March) > get shortlisted (you will be informed during the week of 23 March) > submit one page synopsis by 20 April > receive confirmation of speaking > draft presentation by 26 May for review > work with track leaders > finalise presentation by 18 August > rehearse > present > take a bow!

The Conference Tracks in 2020:

Track 1: Toolkit

Track 2: Roles

Track 3: Careers

Track 4: Interpersonal

Track 5: Digital

Track 6: Data

These tracks are described in further detail below. In your submission, you should state the subject track you feel is most appropriate for your proposed presentation and explain why.

Track 1: Toolkit

The business analysis toolkit is wide and varied and many business analysts are only using some of the tools and techniques. A good BA is able to apply a wide range of techniques with confidence and knows how to select the right tool for the situation.

This track focuses on business analysis techniques, showcased by advocates, to help improve understanding about which tools and techniques to use and when, what question each technique is trying to answer and how to use them confidently.

Presentations are required that explain techniques which:

  • are long forgotten/little used and brought to light
  • are new and worth adding to the toolkit
  • can be adapted for a new purpose or audience
  • BAs might be unsure of/scared to use
  • come from a related discipline.

Track 2: Roles

The Business Analyst role is referred to by many different names. For example, Digital BA, Agile BA, Business BA or, even, Business Designer. Alternatively, the role has been split and re-badged by techniques, leading to the roles such as Process Analyst, Solution BA, Technical BA and Requirements Engineer.

But what do these role titles actually mean and are they interpreted differently within different organisations – or even across projects within an organisation? Do these roles carry out work that fall within business analysis and, if so, why are they referred to by different names? Have business analysts adopted new role titles in order to progress their careers or increase their visibility?

It appears that the Business Analyst role is fragmenting into multiple roles but are these really distinct roles or just adaptations that should be within the scope of the Business Analyst role?

These are questions that need urgent answers if Business Analyst is to be accepted as a proven, key role that all organisations need in order to realise value from business change projects.

In this track we are looking for presentations that are concerned with the business analyst role, in all of its incarnations. Specifically, these presentations should offer insights into at least one of the following questions:

  • Is Business Analyst a single role? Or, is there a diversity of Business Analyst roles?
  • What is the impact on Business Analysis as a recognised discipline if there are variants of the Business Analyst role? Can Business Analysis thrive if such variants become established?
  • Where can Business Analysis skills be used in other roles?
  • Is the Business Analyst role recognised, and, if not, why is this the case? Are Business Analysts their own worst enemies regarding role recognition?
  • Are there roles that have evolved from Business Analysis? In what ways, are these roles really distinct from the Business Analyst role?
  • Are there roles that have been absorbed by the Business Analyst role that should be roles in their own right?
  • Can the Business Analyst role survive in an industry where so many new roles emerge on a regular basis?

Presentations should help delegates to understand the nature of the Business Analyst role in different contexts and should provide information that can be used by delegates to help educate and inform people in their own organisations and when considering the development of their own careers.

Track 3: Careers

Too often career planning is something that can easily be forgotten about. That said, at last year’s conference a “careers clinic” intended for a handful of people attracted over 100 conference attendees. We are then hoping to properly address all facets of the business analysis career in this track. We hope to attract talks that relate to both peoples “day jobs” and wider interests for example work in the community.

Talks within this track might include:

  • Case studies on individual career paths
  • Ideas on skills development that can boost your career prospects
  • Examples of BA skills being used and developed in the wider community for example volunteer work
  • Tactics for career advancement
  • Careers beyond business analysis
  • How to build your personal brand
  • Career demands and maintaining well-being
  • Surviving restructure

As BA career options expand with still greater opportunity for using the core BA skillset, we hope this track provides an opportunity to make sense of the work landscape and your future career options and plans.

Track 4: Interpersonal

Professional and business skills are crucial for a business analyst’s effectiveness but they are not sufficient for success. Of equal importance is the range of interpersonal skills the BA can deploy, to elicit information, defuse conflicts, navigate tricky ‘political’ situations, and persuade people to take action. This track explores the range of interpersonal skills and how they can be developed and enhanced.

Presentations are invited from speakers who can offer insights into topics such as:

  • Elicitation techniques and when and how to use them
  • Empathy and emotional intelligence
  • Adapting the approach to different constituencies
  • Working with other expert stakeholders such as project managers and technical specialists
  • Body language and how it can be understood and used
  • Negotiating skills
  • Influencing skills
  • The business analyst as ‘salesperson’
  • Understanding and navigating difficult ‘political’ situations

Theory is fine but experience shows that conference participants particularly value presentations that are based on case studies and real-life examples, with valuable ‘take-aways’ they can immediately use in their own business analysis work.

Track 5: Digital

You’d be forgiven for arguing that we’ve been digital for decades – let’s face it, who’s ever heard of an analogue BA? However, emerging technologies now enable analysts to look at both new and existing business problems through fresh eyes. Having been a constraint for so long, technology has become an enabler. More efficient, accurate and secure solutions can now be built using digital channels and engagements that fit better around people’s busier lifestyles.

In this age where technology drives innovation, business analysts need to have informed and intelligent conversations with the clients around technical solutions to business problems. Having a digital mindset is going way beyond just being ‘digitally aware’. It is as much about putting the customer at the centre of our process as it is about technology itself. We’d like to hear from digitally minded BAs that have worked on projects that have leveraged some of the emerging big digital forces such as:

  • Cloud
  • Mobility
  • Blockchain
  • RPA
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Other

So please share your case studies, knowledge, practical tools and techniques and aids to help our delegates with the seismic shift towards developing and applying a digital mindset as we continue our innovative journey into the twenties.

Track 6: Data

The understanding, analysis and visualisation of data is key to driving change in organisations and society. This is opening up new and exciting opportunities within business analysis. From strategy and visualisation to science, analysis and design, data is integral to evolving approaches for business optimisation and growth. With that in mind, this track focuses on content that will enable business analysis to flourish in this crucial area. The sessions will be engaging and thought-provoking, delivered in a style that helps delegates learn.

This track will encompass original and energising delivery of topics that:

  • Inspire attendees to embrace data-driven decisions and change
  • Demonstrate how business analysis can thrive in data-rich environments
  • Deliver approaches to data that are relevant and applicable to attendees and their organisations

Sponsorship and Exhibit opportunities

There are sponsorship and exhibit opportunities available at the conference. If you wish to discuss these further, please contact Shane McGlynn at shane@irmuk.co.uk.

Speaker Guidelines

If you feel you can offer a presentation that would align with one or more of the subject tracks then please see below for speaker guidelines; these will help you prepare a successful abstract. These guidelines set out the requirements for speakers at the Business Analysis Conference Europe 2020. Please read them carefully before you make your submission.

If you have any questions about submissions, please direct them to Jeremy Hall at jeremy@irmuk.co.uk and Shane McGlynn at shane@irmuk.co.uk. Presentation proposals must be submitted by 6 March 2020.

Presentation Styles

We are looking for the following presentation styles:

  1. 3 hour pre-conference workshops.
  2. Conference Presentation mainly 50 minute sessions (including 10 minutes for questions), however, we will also accept some 20 minute sessions (including 5 minutes for questions).

Submissions: We expect to receive a large number of submissions for this conference and to take a wide range of factors into account in making selections, in particular the need to provide a balanced programme. A shortlist of the most promising abstracts is sent to the Advisory Board for review before a final decision is made.

Please submit your abstract directly on the IRM UK website using the submission form. You may submit more than one abstract and you can do this across tracks. Your abstract should be between 120 and 150 words and should describe clearly the presentation content. Please also add three to five bullet points at the end to summarise what attendees will learn from attending your session. You will also be required to submit a short biography of up to 150 words.

Bear in mind that your abstract needs to be sufficiently polished for inclusion in the conference brochure and must achieve the following objectives:

  • Provide enough information for us to evaluate your submission relative to others.
  • Be attractive to conference attendees and help them to select the sessions most valuable to them, given their interests and the level of maturity of their business analysis experience.

Your biography will also be included on the conference website.

You can view last years agenda here where you will be able to view session copy and speaker biographies by clicking on the appropriate links

Achieving selection

Based on previous conference feedback and programme assessments, here are some tips to help you maximise the chances of your proposal being selected.

DO:

  • Be specific and concrete about what you will be presenting and how the audience will benefit from it. Use the bullet points to highlight the key ‘takeaway’ messages.
  • Demonstrate real-world achievements, showing examples of business analysis work/experience if possible and describing relevant outcomes.
  • Aim to engage and challenge the audience with fresh insights and ideas.
  • Ensure that your presentation is really relevant to this conference and the particular track.

AVOID:

  • Submitting a presentation proposal that is a means of selling your products, services or organisation. This is not well-received by conference audiences so the Advisory Board will exclude such presentations.
  • Exceeding the word count limit.
  • Trying to cover too much ground in the time available.
  • Putting forward unsubstantiated theories or opinions.
  • Using vague abstractions and jargon.

If you have presented recently at another conference on a similar subject matter, we suggest that you indicate this on the submission form (under additional comments) and indicate how this presentation is different from the earlier presentation.

If you are not sure whether your presentation is suitable, please contact Jeremy Hall (jeremy@irmuk.co.uk ) or Shane McGlynn (shane@irmuk.co.uk) to discuss your ideas before making your submission.

Please note that abstracts that are longer than the specified length may be shortlisted, but will be edited down by us to fit the brochure and presented back to you for approval.

You will be notified whether your submission has been provisionally accepted by April 2020.

Click here to submit your proposal by completing the Application Form.