A Shift: From Industry Analysis to Supporting Strategy and Business Value
Working as an industry analyst for the last 12 years has been a privilege. When I started, I didn't know that being an industry analyst was a valid career path and told myself that I would re-evaluate six months into my first position.
Fast-forward 12 years later – I have learned a lot about technology, the business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing market landscapes, and have met some wonderful people who are talented in their respective roles – whether as analysts, consultants, or working for software vendors. I have had the opportunity to travel, develop amazing friendships, witness the evolution of technology, and help organizations select and/or build the right solutions to meet their business and technology challenges. It is this last one that has driven my passion for some time.
I have loved much of what I have accomplished as an analyst, but over the last couple of years I've missed the opportunity to consult and help organizations address and solve their business challenges. I think the best application of an analyst's skill set is the ability to help organizations decipher and navigate the market. Doing so effectively supports better business decisions that provide overall alignment with technology adoption.
Deciding to work for a vendor was not a decision I took lightly. I have always valued my agnostic view of the market, but will admit that over the years I have developed opinions and preferences for some technologies and vendors based on product technologies, thought leadership, and customer experience.
Information Builders was one of those companies that was always a little different than the others – aside from a unique corporate culture within the BI software marketplace, the dedication to customers always seemed unparalleled to me. Over the years, all of the customers I have spoken to talk about the way in which Information Builders partners with them to help them create implementation success. Aside from analytical insights, enterprise-wide deployments, and commitment to service, almost every customer told me they felt like they were working with a partner, and not simply a software vendor.
Many customers shared their surprise when they first became customers, and that the level of access to executives was different than with any of their other solution providers. More than one person has told me something to the effect of, "If I have a problem I know I can call Gerry (Cohen) and that he'd take my call. I can't say that about any other solution provider I've worked with."
Supporting Business Strategy Assessment
My new role as a solution director is focused on delivering solution assessments to customers and prospects within North America – essentially, helping organizations align their business strategy with their technology needs. This includes working with business decision-makers and stakeholders to identify pain points and recommend ways to help drive better business decisions and access to information through technology adoption and solution modernization.
Currently, Information Builders provides solution assessments, and many are focused on providing project roadmaps and guidance to customers. Most target projects are already defined to a certain extent, and provide customers with a needs assessment, set of recommendations, and a roadmap for implementation, all focusing on Information Builders' solutions. My focus will be broadening the scope of solution assessments to evaluate a customer’s overall business goals and provide recommendations required to align business strategy and technology adoption – ensuring that organizations leverage the right set of technologies and take into account the business processes and cultural changes that need to occur to make this happen.
I am very excited about this opportunity because its focus is to provide customers with added value, and that was the aspect of being an analyst that helped me contribute most to an organization’s success. And working at Information Builders feels like the right move as, based on everything I have witnessed over the years, they have the same level of commitment to their customers as I have had to mine.