Endeavour Solution's CEO Tim Ryley, explains how consultants have moved from software implementers to valued business advisors.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but things have changed a wee bit in the last decade. We’ve seen business models shift, customer expectations grow and even the birth of whole new roles and industries.
As software solutions providers, our role is now more focused on helping clients surf those sea changes. We’ve always been about using technology to make people’s jobs easier, and businesses more efficient and profitable. That used to be simple – implement this system into that department: tools down, time for lunch.
Now those systems integrate with the CRM, the ordering system, the case management system in the Cloud, on-the-road sales reps and their tablets on the road. There are simply more components in the mix that can – and should – fully integrate across departments, offices, partner businesses and even whole supply chains. This breaks down silos and makes decisions and communication easier than ever, improves responsiveness, customer services, accuracy and ultimately profitability.
To deliver an integrated system that works in with the way a business already runs (rather than the other way around), we’ve evolved from software suppliers into true business advisors. That’s something our clients are demanding – they know they need to make the most of every new opportunity, or risk getting wiped out.
INTEGRATION OR BUST
While we still support software, our skill base and business model has expanded. We’ve built whole teams of people fully focused on understanding a client, the overall environment, applications on the client side, how they work, their goals and their pain points. We look at the full picture of what technology they use, and how – even if it’s not something we supply.
The job is now less about just implementing technology, and more about planning how the client can improve the way they do things. The Greentree product suite will nearly always have a solution for that – but we make sure the client invests in the right module, at the right time. Everything we’re doing is helping them improve their operations – better, faster information that helps them make better decisions, offer better customer service, manage delivery on time, fulfill orders correctly and quickly, or manage their purchasing.
Our work with Mazda NZ is a case in point. They took control of their own inventory management, and when you’re talking about thousands of parts constantly being updated, that’s not something that can be done manually. Now they’re integrated electronically with Japan so when people order a part, it’s sent out automatically.
TECHNOLOGY THAT DRIVES BUSINESS
Technology should also support business at a strategic level. If a client is in acquisition mode for example, our role as advisors would be to design the best way to integrate the new business. Rather than simply supplying software, our clients expect us to be on the ground, understanding where they want to be and making recommendations on how to structure their systems. We help them decide if they should change the new company over to their systems, or work to integrate with their existing ones.
The rise of mobility is demanding more advisory support too. When they're out and about, people expect to be able to do things as simply and as quickly as they would back at the office. That’s huge for increasing speed and efficiency, but there’s a lot of strategic planning that goes into making it work well – what are the best devices and operating systems? What are the implications for security and data use? What functionality do you really need? Often the users in the field aren’t the traditional back office people, and have higher expectations around ease of use while still needing to manage complex business transactions.
It truly is a brave new world, full of opportunity to make businesses more efficient and more profitable than ever before. The flip side of that coin? The rate change is now so fast that many companies are in danger of being left behind. The opportunities are there – we just make sure you have the right tools to grasp them.
By Tim Ryley, CEO of Endeavour Solutions. Tim has been a director of Endeavour for over 15 years, helping the company focus on turning technology into value.