Problem-solving through collaboration is powerful and works especially well when you have the right tools and channels to make it happen. I was recently reminded of just how powerful collaboration at SEI can be when our team was confronted with a complicated problem. A few months ago, an SEI client in Boston approached one of my colleagues to help overhaul a struggling Business Intelligence (BI) program in order to more effectively manage their data. This is not uncommon, as data volume, variety and variability can make data management seem truly daunting.
The first step was to define the problem and requirements needed to begin building a solution that would work in the client’s environment. With new technologies and platforms being adopted by enterprises to manage their transactions and operations, mining the data and making it available for reporting and analytics is even more complex than ever before.
After a follow-up conversation with the client, we quickly realized that the scope of this program was beyond the combined knowledge we had on our existing team. Since our client was eager to identify a solution to the problem, we knew we had to act quickly and posted a description of the situation on our internal collaboration site. In a matter of hours, we had several detailed responses with offers to spend time with the client to help them work through their challenges.
Joined by two consultants in the Atlanta office who were having success in similar roles, and our Managing Director in Chicago, we met with the client to showcase the depth of our knowledge in the BI space. By bringing in our colleagues, we demonstrated to the client that any solution proposed and implemented would be supported by more than just the resource hired to do the job. In other words, when you hire an SEI consultant, you hire all of SEI. They got it and loved the idea!
Having a highly experienced program manager to drive planning and progress proved to be even more vital for success. Tracking progress of the program and component projects and managing their dependencies while communicating risks and ensuring strategic alignment across key stakeholders was imperative. With an invaluable assist from other SEI offices we were able to expand our impact at the client and fill one of their critical needs. Over the course of a six-month engagement, a BI program management framework was implemented, a BI road-map created and budget processes at the program level instituted. The work that was done ultimately leaves our client in a stronger position as they move up on the BI maturity curve.