An important piece in the strategic puzzle
A strong team of permanent staff project and test managers has joined ProData Consult. They play an important role in keeping the consulting company up to speed on clients’ requirements and add deep insight into selected industries.
Interview with Claus Karup Rasmussen, COO of ProData Consult.
When ProData Consult merged with Raft Consulting in early 2016, the latter brought quite a few permanent staff consultants into the new organization. Before the merger, there were no permanent staff consultants at ProData Consult. But in light of the vision and the strategy, building on the foundation of permanent staff consultants from Raft Consulting was the obvious next move. A so-called Product Team has since been established at ProData Consult.
“It was a natural step for us to take. Our ambition is to stay a step ahead, so we remain relevant to our clients. And we can only do that if we can meet their future needs. Our Product Team is an important strategic piece in that puzzle,” explains COO Claus Karup Rasmussen, who heads the Product Team. At the same time, he emphasizes that freelance consultants will continue to constitute the majority of ProData Consult’s active consultants.
The Product Team in Denmark
The Product Team in Denmark consists of 15 project managers and test managers. Claus Karup Rasmussen is responsible for the overall strategic management of the permanent staff consultants. In collaboration with Daniel Bred, Product Director for program and project management, and Martin Skovgaard, Product Director for requirement and test management, Rasmussen is responsible for ensuring that the team includes some of the country’s best project managers and test managers
A path to industry specialization
The Product Team was created in part in response to a strategic decision to acquire deeper insight into specific industries. The Product Team will play a major role in relation to key sectors: finance, energy, transportation and logistics, and telecommunications and IT. This is because clients in these particular industries demand consultants with industry-specific knowledge. What these four industries have in common, is that their business models are based on the interplay between the business, their processes and their IT systems, and according to the COO, this increases the need for knowledge about the specific industry:
“The development we’ve been seeing calls for knowledge from the specific industry. It’s a tendency which is still evolving as these industries become more complex and are influenced by increasing regulation. Put in simple terms, this means that if you are a project manager at a bank, you need to know how a bank works, in addition to being a skilled project manager. It’s become a fundamental condition for success as a program, project or test manager involved in the major transformation initiatives the banks are implementing right now.”
A partner who adds more value
The team of permanent staff consultants adds a new dimension to ProData Consult. It provides clients with a unique mix of deep business insight from the specific industry, often even from a particular business area, and an extremely broad foundation of IT specialists. This means that ProData Consult can become a more complete partner for the client who adds value at even more levels – especially within the four key industries.
“We’re now considerably more agile, and we can offer our clients advice, dialogue and knowledge at more levels. Our clients get a partner who understands their industry. We can provide them with a business consultant who knows how to link business, processes and IT, and we can provide an IT specialist who can handle the most advanced technical challenges. This is a unique combination,” Rasmussen explains.
But according to the COO, this is not only an advantage for clients. It also benefits the network of freelance consultants who will continue to account for the majority of services.
“We believe that our approach enables us to create a closer relationship with our clients which creates more value for them. As a consequence of that closer relationship, we are entrusted with more tasks and other roles in our clients’ organizations. This means that we can offer both our permanent staff consultants and our freelance consultants more and more challenging jobs,” Rasmussen says.
Promotes insight and knowledge
The team of permanent staff consultants will also play a leading role in enhancing insight and knowledge internally in the ProData organization. The Product Team stays on the cutting edge by sharing knowledge, experience and the latest trends in the industries and specializations they operate in. This knowledge takes root in other parts of the organization: the Product Team acts as a resource and sparring partner for other functions. As a result, it becomes possible to engage in more relevant, insightful dialogue with clients and freelance consultants at all levels of the ProData Consult organization.
“What starts out as the consultant’s specialist knowledge takes root in other parts of the organization. As knowledge spreads, it affects how we do business in a general sense, in addition to giving the rest of the organization a better understanding of the industry. As a result, we can talk to our clients and partners on a completely different level,” Rasmussen says.
Only the best project managers and test managers
Product teams have only been established in the Danish and Swedish divisions of ProData Consult. In the long term, however, the ambition is to expand the concept to the rest of the company, bringing together the best project managers and test managers with specialist knowledge from the financial sector, the energy sector, the transportation/logistics sector or the telecommunications and IT sector. And as a permanent staff consultant at ProData Consult, you have excellent working conditions.
“In addition to living up to everything it takes to be attractive employer, we provide a unique opportunity to specialize within one industry while also benefitting from the variety that comes with the role of the consultant. As part of the Product Team, you also have an opportunity to influence your own working conditions and interact closely with other specialists,” Rasmussen concludes.
Name: Claus Karup Rasmussen
Education: Executive MBA
Title: COO of ProData Consult
Former CEO of Raft Consulting and former managing director of Maersk Logistics.