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Atlanta Consultant Scott Cranford on Challenges and Innovations in Data Analytics

By: SEI Team

Scott Cranford has been a consultant at SEI Atlanta for seven and a half years, but as he puts it, “no two days are ever the same.” Before SEI, Scott held various positions in large-scale data integration projects, and as the Director of Data and Analytics, he guided a team of data scientists and analysts through building architecture and integration capabilities of large data assets. At SEI, Scott continues to focus on data architecture and integrations.

His current project involves designing and building out a large-scale data store, which brings together over 20 disparate sources in HR and finance. “We built a scalable, stable, and secure platform that allows users to directly connect their own BI tools to the data store,” Scott explains. “Our solution helps scale analytics across the organization.” This centralized and governed data asset leverages a “Bring Your Own BI” approach, which enables end-users to perform and scale their own analytics without depending on an external team. The project has been live for four years and now supports more than two thousand end-users. 

Currently, Scott and his team are focused on ensuring uniformity throughout the data store. As he sees it, data consistency between systems presents a constant challenge for clients. “Consistency, accuracy, and governance of data are essential to forming effective, actionable insights,” he explains. He and his fellow SEI-ers are dedicated to helping organizations identify challenges within these areas, and overcome them through innovative business solutions. 

Taking Charge of Digital Transformations  

Looking over his experience at SEI, Scott points out that one of the primary challenges companies face is data management and analysis. “There are clients that have a ton of data, but no information,” he explains. Many of these enterprises struggle with managing D&A projects across new and legacy solutions, making it difficult to bring data together and transform findings into actionable insights. The problem only increases as business platforms scale and adapt. 

New technological advancements, plus the increase in online services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has accelerated digital transformations. “Companies are moving critical systems to the cloud,” says Scott, which only increases the complexities of data governance.

To bring together these disparate systems, enterprises must focus on the tools and processes required to support integration patterns. He faced this challenge on a recent SEI project that helped enable data accessibility across multiple cloud-based technologies. Scott and his team built an integration pattern that allowed for the ingestion and federation of data from APIs across these cloud systems. This is just one example of how SEI continues to assess and support the challenges of digital transformation. 

Collaboration as a Core Tenet

For Scott, there are many qualities that set SEI apart from other consulting firms. The key, however, is collaboration — not only are SEI-ers encouraged to work together, but as he puts it, “collaboration is embedded in the DNA of our company culture.” This culture of teamwork enables SEI consultants to reach back into the collective knowledge of D&A practitioners, providing maximum value for clients. “Working together makes us stronger,” Scott says.

Leveraging vast, in-depth experience, SEI-ers are able to look at a problem holistically and approach solutions in the best way possible. Scott emphasizes that SEI is a tool agnostic firm. This allows consultants to “focus on building pragmatic solutions that help solve client needs.” Instead of supporting specific technologies, SEI consultants develop innovative solutions that effectively address unique business obstacles. 

SEI consultants prioritize internal alignment when it comes to technological implementations. Not only does this increase collaboration throughout the firm, but “SEI’s internal alignment helps our clients stay aligned too,” Scott tells us. With everyone on the same page, consultants can streamline projects and quickly develop the best enterprise solutions possible 

The Collective Value of SEI 

When Scott first heard of SEI nearly eight years ago, the business model intrigued him — SEI’s co-ownership model gives Scott and his colleagues control and personal investment in the company. But Scott explains that “it was the consistency of SEI’s message that hooked me.” 

By combining collaboration, innovation, and in-depth industry knowledge, SEI consultants consistently bring incredible D&A solutions to today’s technological challenges. “Whether it be data modernization or building a custom app, we bring our collective value and our whole selves to the table,” Scott says. 

Despite being a seasoned veteran in the data space, Scott continues to learn and grow through D&A projects. At SEI, he can work on his craft and maintain his skills while sharpening his business acumen. “Not only do we drive our own futures here, we help drive decisions on the future of SEI as a whole,” Scott explains.