Consultant Chronicles: Business Analyst Brittany Ivey on Being a Data Detective
Brittany Ivey loves CRM implementation projects. Yes, you read that right. She enjoys projects that, on average, take at least a year and can involve sifting through hundreds of data fields and individually mapping each one. You could think of her as a data detective. And given that her real-life hobby is calligraphy (specializing in wedding signs and invitations), you can imagine the great attention to detail she possesses.
Brittany is a Business Analyst for JCA, which is often referred to as a BA. When asked to explain what a BA is and does, Brittany replied, “We’re not a project manager or engineer, but we act as more of a liaison to the clients. We are in the weeds with them, understanding not only their technical needs but also their business processes. We are uncovering what problems exist and determining how we can solve them.” As Brittany notes, each role in a CRM implementation project serves a specific purpose. If you imagine that JCA is a travel agency—the project manager is in the office, planning your trip and handling the logistics, while the BA is out guiding your tours, walking with you, having visited those cities before.
What tours will a BA take you on? BAs work on many types of projects, and at JCA these include Needs Assessments, System Selections, and CRM Implementations. Working with JCA project managers and BAs on these sequential projects means the team can lead with a full understanding of your organization’s needs and goals, and steer you around any potential roadblocks. This is integral through the many steps of a CRM implementation.
Brittany joined JCA in 2020, and similar to colleague Fiona Buttar’s career path, it was after falling in love with implementation work. So much so, that she left the nonprofit field, where she spent six years, to gain the experience needed to transition her career. The transition came full circle when Brittany joined JCA and continued working with nonprofits. Her work as a Business Analyst is bolstered through her prior nonprofit experience where she literally was in your shoes.
Prior to joining JCA, Brittany worked at as a Database Administrator at an independent pre-K-12 school. The school used Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge as their CRM system but had not done any maintenance or support for the system in 20 years. She was tasked with cleaning up the system and undoing years of neglect—including rebuilding the fund structure and cleaning up dozens of tables.
When asked to give advice for someone preparing for an implementation project, she advised, “Remember to be flexible—not only with dates and timelines, but also with solutions to problems that arise. You never know what hurdles are going to pop up along the way, but open communication and being willing to explore new ways of doing things is key.” One big challenge Brittany faced on an implementation project was, of course, the pandemic. A month before one of her biggest implementations to date, the pandemic hit. The project thus far had been completed in person for a healthcare organization, which meant the team had to quickly identify ways to complete the implementation virtually, before it was common practice. The implementation was a success, but it is a reminder that you never know what roadblocks or challenges may pop up during the process.
This is also why Brittany loves documentation. “It is always important to document not only how to do something, but we also document why. That way, in a year, if you’ve had staff turnover or just can’t remember, you’ll have a clear answer and can feel confident in your decisions. This not only saves you time and stress, but also makes it easier to keep your data clean moving forward.”
And clean data can have a direct impact on your organization’s bottom line. For example, by cleaning up bad addresses at one organization, Brittany helped the nonprofit save thousands of dollars by no longer spending money on direct mail sent to bad addresses. This is just one example of the many ways our team can help your nonprofit with its technology and business processes, allowing you to focus on advancing the mission.
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