Voices | Why you need a specialist data consultancy alongside a Global Systems Integrator (GSI)

GSIs and specialist data consultancies are powerful when working in tandem.

Global Systems Integrators (GSIs) undertake a pivotal role in many businesses. They’re essential, proficient in their domain, and are often specialists in data in various capacities. It's important to recognise GSIs bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table, however, they might not always be the sole answer to every data challenge your organisation faces. Exploring partnerships beyond the scope of GSIs can often lead to more tailored and effective solutions for your unique data needs.

A specialist data consultancy such as Amplifi brings deep data management expertise with people from a broad range of industries. Solving complex data challenges is what Amplifi do. We're equipped with experts who possess first-hand knowledge in navigating and effectively resolving a wide range of data-related issues. That coupled with the strength of Amplifi’s partnerships with selected technology vendors means you will have a partner who is that specialist from day 1 and can complement the breadth of services and people that your GSI will bring.

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The need for a bespoke solution

GSIs offer a depth of resources and a global reach that's highly effective in large-scale transformation programmes, this is perhaps in contrast to the bespoke and boutique services that a consultancy can provide. Specific skills gaps sometimes create a steep learning curve for GSI teams as they can’t always possess the depth of skills and experience necessary for every unique data project, requiring upskilling to meet project demands. Where this skills gap lies within specific technologies, success often hinges on the strength of their relationships with technology partners, highlighting the importance of choosing the right collaborators for your data needs.

Handling niche or highly complex scenarios

When it comes to handling niche or highly complex scenarios, or addressing a specific problem, the expertise of specialist data consultancies like Amplifi becomes invaluable. While it's not that GSIs are unable to tackle complicated projects, at times particularly complex or challenging work may present situations that are outside their usual scope of experience. In such cases, teams may find themselves navigating uncharted territory. This is where access to the expertise and experience of those who are adept in solving very specific challenges, or managing critically precise scenarios, are essential for ensuring scalable and supportable solutions that adhere to best-practice.

Large scale projects, crucial specifics

We understand that many of the large organisations we collaborate with have ongoing partnerships with GSIs for a variety of projects, many of which are on a grand scale. In expansive projects, it's not uncommon for some essential steps to become overshadowed amidst the multitude of tasks. Our role is to ensure that these vital, often foundational, elements of data projects are not only addressed but also developed with due diligence, independent of the broader transformation efforts.

For instance, in scenarios where implementing Master Data Management (MDM) is vital to support a larger data transformation, we focus on establishing robust MDM foundations. This approach complements the overall transformation, allowing the GSI to concentrate on the broader aspects of the project.

It's important to note that GSIs might not always possess the specialised skills and experience crucial for foundational data initiatives like Product Information Management (PIM) or MDM in an organisation. Our expertise in these areas ensures that these critical components are handled with the necessary depth and proficiency.

Critical checks and assessments throughout

Emphasising our unique role as expert consultants, we bring a depth of understanding and insight that significantly benefits client strategies and methodologies. While some GSIs might implement plans without deviation or critical analysis, we offer a nuanced approach. Our commitment to transparency is paramount, and we apply our vast expertise to provide meaningful feedback and guidance.

Furthermore, we augment our services by conducting thorough health checks and quality assurance reviews on data management projects. Our goal is to ensure that decisions align with industry best practices, leading to configurations that are effective, functional, and user-friendly. This verification is essential not just for immediate reassurance but also for the enduring success of the project.

We’ll ensure your interests are the top priority

Taking it a step further, we advocate for your interests. Our proactive stance, characterised by offering alternative views and questioning established norms, is pivotal for achieving exceptional results. In contrast to larger, more generalised firms that might hesitate to scrutinise a client's proposals, we bring a level of deep industry knowledge and the courage to suggest different pathways. This thorough examination of all project dimensions fosters innovation and efficacy. Partnering with us ensures collaboration with a team that's not just ready but distinctively equipped to challenge the usual, delivering the most effective and configured solutions tailored to your specific needs.

Why is our technology expertise so valuable in these scenarios?

We pride ourselves on our deep-rooted partnerships with a variety of best-in-breed technology vendors. Our in-house experts, bolstered by advanced-level training, empower us to refine our specialisations within specific technologies. At Amplifi, our focus is on sustaining specialised technology partnerships and building long term capability to support our clients. Our commitment is to in-depth expertise and nurturing strong relationships in our specialist domains, something clients rely on us for time and time again.

How does it work in practice?

It’s essential to understand that there's no universally correct method for an organisation to run a project. Every business requires a unique approach tailored to its specific needs – the concept of 'one size fits all' simply doesn't apply here. Preferences vary significantly, whether at the organisational, departmental, or individual level. People approach tasks differently, and these diverse methodologies are vital to consider.

We've witnessed a variety of scenarios in project delivery, each illustrating the diverse ways organisations can approach and manage their projects in a way that suits them:

  • Collaborative Work Alongside GSIs: Situations where we join forces with a GSI on a project, employing a collaborative approach that merges our specialised skills with the extensive capabilities of the GSI, to the benefit of the project.
  • Client-Led Initiatives: Projects where the client takes a leading role, showcasing their robust in-house approach to project management and decision-making, while we provide vital support and expertise.
  • Collaborative Specialisation: Instances in which another consultancy, recognising a gap in their expertise, invites us to bolster and enhance their project, utilising our specialist skills.
  • Multi-Consultancy Projects: Ventures involving an array of consultancies, (we’ve been part of one engagement that included seven different firms), each bringing their distinct expertise to bear on various parts of the project, enriching the outcome with a breadth of knowledge.
  • GSIs with Sub-Contracting: Scenarios in which GSIs helm a project and opt to sub-contract specific tasks to us, thereby capitalising on our specialised abilities and knowledge.

How might organisations recognise they need a specialist data consultancy?

Identifying the need for a specialist data consultancy involves a thorough assessment process. Here are some key considerations for organisations:

Conduct thorough due diligence: Before embarking on a project or implementing new technology, it's vital to conduct detailed research. This includes identifying the strengths of your existing resources and potential partners, as well as identifying areas where additional expertise could be beneficial.

Consider if you might need some technology-specific guidance: Expert advice targeted to your technology can be essential. Specialised help may transform software integration, system optimisation, and tech trend planning while allowing for smarter, more efficient operations.

Ensure departmental alignment: When embarking on projects, especially those involving data, alignment across all departments is essential – from procurement to finance. Each department has its role and influence in the decision-making process.

Navigate procurement limitations: In some organisations, procurement processes are carefully structured, often sticking with current suppliers or GSIs. Understanding these setups can aid in navigating the process effectively when considering the inclusion of a specialist consultancy, ensuring a smooth integration that complements existing arrangements.

Reshaping of your internal practices: It’s important to recognise that practices can evolve. The way things have been done in the past doesn't dictate how they must always be done. For example, while you might be collaborating with a GSI, consultancy, or partner right now, remember, that it's perfectly acceptable to work with multiple entities to find the best for your current situation.

When can you bring Amplifi in?

The ideal time to involve Amplifi in a project largely hinges on how an organisation plans its approach. We offer the flexibility to integrate at different stages throughout the project's life cycle:

  • At the start with a GSI
    We can be brought in at the very beginning alongside a GSI, providing our expertise in a specialist area. This early involvement can establish a solid foundation for the project.
  • Mid-project involvement
    Sometimes, it becomes apparent that our specialised services are needed after a project has been running for a year or two, especially if the expected value hasn't materialised. In these instances, we are engaged as subcontractors to help recalibrate and correct the project’s direction.
  • Early acknowledgement of specialist needs
    Recognising the requirement for specialist skills early in the project often proves to be the most effective approach. Investing a bit more time and resources at this stage to include our expertise can greatly improve the quality of project delivery. Early engagement allows us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the project aims and apply our specialist knowledge from the outset, leading to more efficient and successful results.

In every scenario, Amplifi can be adaptable to the specific needs and timings of the project, ensuring that our expertise contributes meaningfully to achieving your goals.

If you are looking for a specialist data consultancy to add depth to complement the breadth of services and people that your GSI brings, get in touch today. We can talk you through some of our engagement case studies and discuss how we might fit alongside your GSI. Check out the breadth of services Amplifi offer in our service catalogue below.

Amplifi's Service Catalogue

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About the author

Stuart Webber is Consulting Director at Amplifi.

Stuart is an experienced Solution Architect and Delivery Lead with over 15 years in the Technology industry and a decade working in the data management space. Specialising in the design and delivery of data management solutions to solve complex business challenges gives Stuart specific insight into how a specialist consultancy can make a real difference when working alongside a GSI. If you’d like to speak with Stuart about anything discussed in this article, please get in touch.