Working as a hybrid Business Analyst and Project Manager in retail

Grayce Analyst, Josh Sunley shares his experience as a hybrid Business Analyst and Project Manager at a leading retailer.

I started at Grayce in September 2019. I’ve been on client site at The White Company since mid-October. The White Company is updating their ERP (enterprise resource planning). This allows them to integrate their main business processes and customer data.

My role has been extremely fluid. However, my main focus has been on the cleanse and harmonisation of the customer data base. This particular work stream requires me to occupy a Business Analyst & Project Management role.

As a retail company, the customer data base is invaluable. As a direct result of this, my role requires me to engage the Senior Management teams, regularly presenting and facilitating cross department sessions. The agenda of these sessions is normally making critical decisions on the future of company data and business processes at The White Company. I have also gained great insight to the nuances of how marketing analytics are dependent on the quality of the customer data base.

The project I'm working on is intrinsic to The White Company’s future plans with the project aim being 'Transforming our business for sustainable long term growth'. The development of this project is a great opportunity for them not only to improve their ERP but to streamline process, develop new ways of working and gain further insight and analysis on their customer data base. All of these factors should allow my client to cement their already strong position against their competitors for future trade.

COVID-19 impact

In recent months, the retail industry has obviously felt a huge impact from the COVID-19 outbreak. Having had the stores themselves closed for some time now. My client is, however, continuing to outperform their competition. Despite the expected downturn in trade, the website sales continue to support the business. The communication through the business is transparent and as ever with The White Company, there is an unwavering feeling of support felt from the top down in a difficult and uncertain time.

Along with all Grayce Analysts, I'm now working from home. Something that as a project team at The White Company we were well prepared to adapt to. However, in an already hectic programme environment, the inherent strain on communication, both between team members and workstreams has been a challenge to manage.

Use of video calls to keep some sense of normality has really helped to allow us to continue to make good progress. There is a huge stream of information/requests being passed around email inboxes. And there's a general steer to avoid 'death by meeting' where possible in order to allow team members to stay on top of this alongside their tasks. All in all - the show must go on!

Adding value to my client every day

I think the most valuable things I bring to the client are enthusiasm and flexibility. The delivery and integration of such a complex program is inherently a moving target. New issues, requirements and decisions arise daily. The ability  to pick up whatever work lands on anyone’s desk within the team is imperative for us to continue to move forward. Whether it’s a piece of analysis, technical system mapping or devising and presenting solutions to senior management. When interviewing for the role I told my client-side manager that I wasn’t there to be babysat. Having proved myself through hard work, the level of responsibility that I'm now trusted with has required me to learn lots very quickly.

My biggest achievement so far has been getting successful sign off for two major stages for the data cleanse we have been completing. They were a real labour of love, requiring a lot of time and effort from all stakeholders to get them over the line. On a personal level, receiving very positive feedback from Business/Technical Leads and senior members of the Business Analyst community has really boosted my confidence.

Why Grayce is the right place for me to launch my career

I think the role being as flexible as it is lends itself to someone at the start of their career that has yet to specialise into an area. Alongside this, Grayce’s values and The White Company’s complement each other well.

This role has opened my eyes to the wider business change project environment. Having worked in the past as a project manager in the automotive industry (inherently waterfall product development), getting to see the different approach in developing business processes has been particularly interesting.

For me, the exposure that Grayce can offer is unparalleled. I really didn’t expect to be in a position where I was regularly meeting with members of the senior management team this early in my career. This is only my first placement. The opportunity to be able to continue with similar roles in other big-name companies across a vast range of sectors will hopefully set my in good stead for a successful career.

Find out how Grayce Analysts are supporting retailers nationwide

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