In the frenetic world of retail, having the right number of IT staff to resource a relentlessly, dynamic project schedule is challenging.
Tim Evans, The Good Guys General Manager of Data Systems handles this by using QuantumIT as his “first port of call”.
As General Manager of Data Systems, Evans manages four separate teams:
- Database Administrators (10 people) – whose primary responsibility is to manage databases that range from point-of-sale (POS) mission critical systems to financial and operational databases.
- Middleware (5 people) – responsible for the smooth movement of data both internally and externally.
- Planning (2 people) – responsible for assisting with the budgeting and forecasting of financial data.
- Business Intelligence (BI) (4 people) – responsible for analytics. Required to quickly respond to business needs that can frequently change.
Managing the turnover of the BI team was one of the more challenging parts of Evans’ role. Because of the dynamic nature of the work within the team, there was often a shortage of resources, so the team was overworked.
Evans rectified this by bringing in juniors from the business who understood retailing and by supplementing the team with additional resources from QuantumIT, to handle the busy periods.
He said, “We’ve been using QuantumIT for eight years now. We’ve used a number of other agencies in the past but keep returning to QuantumIT.
“The difficulty is not finding people with good technical skills, but finding people who can engage with the business, and then build the right solution to meet the business needs.”
And he admits it’s equally difficult getting the business to talk to IT people about the actual problem they are trying to solve.
“They usually try to describe what they need by telling us what they want to solution to be. We tell them we can do that but then they won’t get what they really need. Whereas if they explain the problem, we can work together to find a solution to that problem.” Evans said.
“As well as being very good technically, QuantumIT also has great communicators who understand the business and think outside the box.”
Evans says that most consultants face a number of issues fitting into what he describes as the ‘fast, crazy business of retail.’
“They often like to work on one project only, from start to finish,” he said. “But you can’t do that in a business like The Good Guys. You have to be able to work on 12 dynamic projects at any one time, some of which might be scrapped mid-way through.”
Another issue is an inability to acknowledge what they don’t know.
“Consultants often believe they have all the answers and you have to tell them to slow down and not to rush,” he said. “It’s better to be right once, than wrong several times. It’s OK to ask someone’s advice. Yes, a consultant is a subject matter expert. But no one expects them to know everything. And when they focus purely on technical issues, they don’t think outside the box.”
What makes QuantumIT different?
“QuantumIT consultants are different. A bit of experience goes a long way and they tend to be more mature than the average contractor. The BI team is small and you need people who will work well in that environment.
“I also want someone who can train the team. That’s also never been a problem with QuantumIT consultants. They are generous with their time and willing to share their knowledge. ”