We love technology and data... 

AND the people who use them.

Academically, we are trained experts in complex problem solving, constraint satisfaction, databases, and software integrations. We use this foundational expertise everyday -- our clients don't come to us with simple questions or problems, typically they are multi-faceted and require some untangling to get to the root cause.

Experientially, we test and use tools to their maximum potential. We often try out new tools to help clients decide between different tools. For example, we can tell you the nuanced differences in subtask assignments between Teams, Trello, and Asana. None of these things are advertised or written about but can make a huge impact in how an organization or business is able to use a particular tool.

Relationally, we recognize that technology and data can be traumatizing, and that recovering from the trauma of past tech/data experiences is just as important as having good tools in place. 

Culturally, we are not the type of consultants that come in and take over or who put clients in a position of dependency on us. We know we are serving our clients well when they become equipped and empowered to function independently of us after we work together. 


Products We've Built

  • Consolidated Quickbooks Online reports and data dashboards with automatic updates -- We've got the security model and licensing to where it's affordable for our clients and manageable even in multi-company scenarios. We also can tell you all the "gotcha's" on the other solutions that are out there. For us, we relish in the freedom to combine financial data with other datasets and that we can pull from both the report API and the table API with the same tool. Not all QBO connectors are created equal.
  • Strategic & Tactical Financial Dashboards -- We are a financially healthy company who is able to model and manage our finances in real-time with a dashboard. No more pulling numbers from 10 different places to see our numbers. We also have revenue planning tools, long-term goals vs current progress, cash flow forecasting, and an entire next phase planned for bringing in all of our pending (not yet billed), open AR (not yet paid), budget vs actual, and predicted revenue forecast based on our future project list. 
  • Financial Management Process Spreadsheet Tool -- We have our bi-monthly transfer process structured in a way that produces a dataset that can be pulled into our financial dashboard. Whatever your management process is, this helps you minimize the transfers needed and ensure you have money where you need it to be, when you need it to be there with no surprises.
  • Technology and Data Vault & Budgeting Tool -- We do a lot of work with clients who have technology and data information spread throughout their organization. We've created a vault that we use with clients to organize this information and make it a functional set of information for whoever handles your technology day-to-day and it doubles as an accounting budget creation tool -- everything in the vault maps to however your Chart of Accounts is specified so that you can always have an up-to-date budget available and summarized cleanly. Need to get a list of all your tools that contain PII? Need to audit privacy policies? Need to know when a license is set to renew or how it gets paid? Need to figure out who to call about a certain website issue? Need to know what datasets you have at your disposal? 
  • Feasibility & Profitability Modeling Calculators -- We build out sophisticated (but simple to use) financial models to figure out whether a new project is a reasonable endeavor and where the break-even point is. Dreaming about a new program or product offering, let's put some numbers together and figure out how to make it happen! We'll also help you figure out what numbers to watch in your business to make sure you are hitting your profitability goals.
  • Vendor Comparison and Total Cost of Ownership Analysis Calculators -- Sometimes we get quotes from vendors and it's hard to compare apples to apples. We use a data-based approach to play out how much a vendor switch is going to cost long-term or if you're better staying where you're at. This is especially helpful when comparing vendors that have quantities included in the contract and overage fees if you go over -- wouldn't it be nice to figure out when to increase your plan versus pay the overage costs? Or be able to plan your license costs as your staffing changes?

Common Ways We Serve our Clients

What makes us unique is that we rarely work with a client in just one of these areas -- we know these areas are intricately woven together and there is only so much that can be done in one area without also addressing other areas.  Because of this, the impact of our work with clients is typically felt throughout the organization.

We work simultaneously from the bottom-up and from the top-down so that once we meet in the middle, change not only is happening but is aligned and sustainable. 


Leadership Coaching & Culture Building

  • Help leaders process through their concerns and fears regarding data and technology within their organization.
  • Sounding board for strategic plans and how things can look in the future.
  • Strategic Planning for specific meetings/initiatives.
  • Joining leaders in vendor or staff meetings as a technical advocate / liaison. Often we meet with leaders before or after important meetings to help think through decisions, problems, or solutions. We also coach clients on what questions they need to ask and what types of answers to expect in response.
  • Facilitate multi-day strategic planning / identity-building retreats for organizations who are looking to innovate, simplify, or pivot.
  • Teach/train how data can be ethically combined and disaggregated and why sometimes the numbers aren't straightforward.
  • Identifying and aligning strategy with key metrics and making sure the reports and systems are tracking everything needed to report meaningful metrics and insights.
  • Empowering leaders to make better decisions using data and technology.
  • Raising awareness of what's possible and what tools and datasets are out there.
  • Connecting leaders with other leaders and resources
  • Data literacy Training

Tech Leadership + Decision Support

  • Evaluating software tools within a client's ecosystem: software works best when it plays well with the other software you use. We often simplify.
  • Putting budgets together for technology and data needs: We often put together a technology vault spreadsheet with meaningful metadata for the tech person (when does our license renew? how do we pay for this? what tools contain PII? etc) and have it naturally produce a budget and cash flow forecast for the accounting person.
  • Creating data dictionaries: Sometimes organizations don't know what data they have, or what specific numbers on a report mean. A data dictionary is the first step in adding clarity to this.
  • Evaluating contracts and proposals from vendors: We often help review proposals or contracts/statements of work with clients to help clarify or translate between typical vendor-speak and what the organization needs.
  • Connecting organizations with known-good vendors: We have a network of folks that we trust to do great work, and we know who might work well for certain clients and not for others. We are transparent about our own strengths and weaknesses, and we talk through what we see in the vendors we refer folks to.
  • Connecting organizations with support and resources: We keep a list of support groups and resources that have helped our clients in a number of ways. From facebook groups to youtubers to local user groups, we know that feeling isolated is a huge issue for many, and combatting it builds hope and resiliency.
  • Disaster Recovery / Business continuity planning -- a formal plan or identifying single-points of failure in other areas.
  • Data Privacy, Sharing, and Governance
  • Incident Response Planning -- something bad happened and now what?
  • Data Capacity Assessments

Data & Reporting Work

  • Automating Data ETL Work and Reports: moving data between systems, combining multiple datasets and producing one consolidated dataset. We typically use Alteryx or Tableau Prep for this unless the client has their own infrastructure.
  • Building complex spreadsheets with simple user interfaces: we often run into a use-case where a client needs to pull a report from a system and do some analysis (i.e. pair sampling) and produce a report. Sometimes the right solution is an excel file where you insert the data set, have all the complex equations "just work", and leave the user with only needing to know how to update the data and refresh a pivot table to get new numbers.
  • Simplify and streamline the pile of spreadsheets: Many times spreadsheets are created in ways that aren't quite as useful as they could be. We help make that better. For example, moving from multiple sheets requiring manual work to report from their data to a few well-formatted sheets that make reporting easy with formulas or pivot tables.
  • Dashboard design and creation: We help think through how to look at data in new ways and then create ways to visualize the data. We use a myriad of tools for this depending on the client's preferences.
  • Data Analysis: We help look at the numbers and pull insights out using math, stats, and algorithms.
  • Data Investigation, Quality, & Understanding
  • Data Modeling: We design a mean database that is future proof and extensible.
  • Data Warehousing: We translate transactional tables into reporting-friendly data structures
  • Reverse Engineering of Databases: We dig into databases and datasets that have no documentation and figure out how to link tables together and pull useful data out. We've done this with healthcare systems, application systems, funding records systems, etc.

Process Engineering & Improvement

  • Reporting Process Simplification -- we often find ways that we can pull one set of data from a system to produce multiple reports at one time instead of pulling different data for every report. This aids in consistency in numbers and saves staff time.
  • Streamlining People + Tech + Reporting processes -- we do a lot of process analysis because often technology gets blamed for what is a process issue. Adding tech to a bad process just makes it worse, so we seek to fix the root cause and then make technology support that process.
  • Empowering staff to think more in-depth about their workflow -- we are never the experts of an organization's workflow, but training staffers how to think about places that could work better is.
  • Introducing industry-standard or best-practice processes -- this might be a process to help an organization approve software changes from a vendor, or managing grants, or thinking about their constituent interactions and programming pipeline.

Tools we've helped our Clients Navigate

  • Financial Systems: Acclamere, Dynamics AX, Quickbooks Desktop, Quickbooks Online, Deltek, Futrli
  • HR/Payroll Systems: Paylocity, Paycor, ADP, Gusto, Peoplelogic
  • Task/Project Management: Clickup, Teams, Smartsheet, Active Collab, Redbooth, Asana, Wrike
  • Diagramming: Lucid Charts, Omnigraffle, Visio, RoadMunk, Miro
  • Grant Management: Grant Holster
  • Nonprofit Discounts: Tech Soup
  • Funder-Specific Reporting Tools: empower DB, HMIS systems, Muskee databases
  • EHR/EMR: eClinical works, Netsmart myEvolve, Therapy Notes, Phreesia, Think Health
  • CRM: SalesForce, Apricot, Cloze, Copper, Hubspot, Tessitura, Kindful, Podio, Zoho, Unite Us, Planning Center Online
  • Marketing: MailerLite, Mailchimp, Facebook Ads
  • Website: Google Analytics, Privacy Policies, FreshPing
  • Ticketing: Jitbit, Freshdesk, Zendesk, Spiceworks
  • Automation: Zapier, Microsoft Power Automate
  • Dashboard Tools: Sisense, Qlik, Tableau, Tableau Public, Google Data Studio, PowerBI

Tools we are certified in and/or have expertise in:

  • General/Productivity
    • Asana (Certified Pro, Services Partner)
    • Calendly (Affiliate)
    • Zoom
    • Dropbox
    • Google Drive
    • Google Workspace (formerly GSuite)
    • Microsoft 365 / Office 365
    • Zapier
    • Power Automate
  • Financial Systems
    • Quickbooks Online (working on becoming a Certified Pro)
    • G-Accon for Quickbooks Online (soon to be a partner)
    • Popular Financial Management Frameworks
  • Spreadsheets & Data Wrangling (ETL)
      • Google Sheets
      • Excel
      • Tableau Prep
      • Alteryx
  • Data Visualization
    • Qlik (SaaS version)
    • Tableau Desktop, Public, Online
    • PowerBI
  • Diagramming
    • Lucid Chart
    • Omni Graffle
    • Road Munk
  •  Databases
    • MySQL
    • PostgreSQL
    • SQL Server
  • CRM
    • Copper.com
Blue Tree exists to help nonprofits and small businesses set clear, life-giving strategy and turn it into action.

Lead From Hope  |  Delight in your Data  |  Grow Your Impact

Helping big-hearted organizations build greater capacity for impact since 2017.