Data + the Greater Good, an event highlighting the intersection between data, digital transformation, and mission-driven organizations, returned this July. Bridget Mendoza, Director of Business Systems at The Whitney Museum of American Art, shared insights from The Whitney’s journey to develop a business systems team that could provide internal infrastructure to support the broader institutional constituent strategy of the museum.
Bridget’s role began within the Development department, tracking data relating to fundraising. At this point in time, constituent systems and records were separate from each other, as seen in the diagram below. Additionally, all fundraising data was manually imported into their system. In financial year 2014, over 15,000 gifts were processed and 0% of those were imported automatically.
The Whitney saw a need to change and improve this system. An opportunity arose when the museum began planning for a new building, which would mean a bigger and more complex institution. Bridget and her team were able to leverage this organizational milestone to evaluate systems, form a technology planning group, and transition from data entry to data management.
The Business Systems team formed to set institutional standards for data collection, accessibility, and governance to support institutional and business unit goals and inform decision-making processes. Collection, accessibility, and governance are the main pillars for this team, as defined here:
- Collection: Business Systems will set the foundation for process mapping, define responsibilities, and set accountability standards for effective data collection.
- Accessibility: Proactively encourage innovation by identifying trends and process improvements to help drive growth across the organizations KPIs
- Governance: Data should be accessible, have clear meaning and a shared vocabulary which leads to alignment of metrics, outcomes, and decisions as well as accountability.
The Whitney was able to integrate their constituent systems to create a 360-degree view of constituents. They also developed processes to automate data entry, so that the museum’s resources could be more efficiently utilized. In financial year 2018, there were over 55,000 gifts processed and 93% of these were automatically imported.
Bridget and the Business Systems team measure their success both organization-wide through insights from lines of business, as well as within their team by monitoring workflow and task requests across systems.
The Whitney was able to utilize a major organizational milestone to create more change within their systems operations, and in doing so was able to integrate systems, improve the efficiency of resources, and increase their impact.
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