consulting - frequently asked questions

What’s the quick rundown on what you do, again?

I provide consulting services, which means I help companies to identify, explore, and solve problems. The end-goal is to help the business understand and improve its position, in terms of reduced cost, reduced risk, and smarter decisions.

My services focus on data analysis (sometimes referred to as “big data” or “data science”): strategy, buildout, and team guidance.

This site’s consulting page explains this in greater detail.

Wait, so are you a consultant, or a contractor?

A lot of people use these terms interchangeably. To clarify:

  • a consultant provides strategic guidance to company leadership
  • a technical contractor works in a staff-augmentation capacity

You’d engage a consultant to set your direction, then possibly hire contractors to build out that vision.

I provide services as a consultant.

(After working with me, you may wish to engage data scientist or software developer contractors. We can talk about that as we work together.)

How do you work?

I prefer to keep things simple and straightforward:

We start with an initial consultation. This is a free, brief meeting in which we learn about each other and I get a deeper picture of your situation.

If there’s mutual interest, we work together to scope out a project.

After that, we execute the standard paperwork and get started.

That’s it.

Do you work with particular industries or types of companies?

I’m interested in helping firms of all domains and sizes. If you’re looking to get started with data, or to do more with data, you’re probably a good fit. For example:

  • If you run a technology-driven company, you probably want to build (or rebuild) your internal analytics practice. Count me in.

  • Even if you don’t run a technology shop, you’re probably still sitting on useful data. I’ll show you.

Wait, so do you also work with startups and very small companies?

Indeed I do! I have a soft spot for young, growing companies. If you want to put data to good use, don’t wait to hire a full-time analytics lead. I can work with you on an ongoing, part-time, consulting basis to give you the guidance you need before you build that data team. I can also help smooth the path for your first data science hires.

But I could just hire a data scientist, right?

You could do that, but that’s probably not a good idea.

There are plenty of things you need to do before you add a data scientist role to your firm. Most importantly, you need to determine whether you should have a data scientist (or an entire team of them), and if so, when you’ll be ready for that person to join and how their work relates to the rest of the company.

Furthermore, you’ll want to make sure you have the data you need, in the format suitable for analysis, and housed in the proper infrastructure. Without this, your data scientist will spend a lot of time sitting around waiting for work to do.

Hiring a data scientist too early and without a plan is a good way to burn revenue.

Think of me as the person to talk to before you hire a data scientist.

Only large technology companies can use analytics, right?

Not necessarily so! I’ve created a short treatise, busting the data myths, to address that very notion.

Do you represent a big-data vendor?

Not at all.

I’m not beholden to any vendor, which means I have no hidden obligations to sell you third-party software licenses or refer you to particular companies.

My goal is to help your business improve and succeed. That’s it.

Why are you doing this?

Because I’m thrilled by the prospects of data analysis, and I like to help businesses succeed.

During the 1990s tech boom, I saw a number of IT shops hit rough times because they hadn’t done the proper planning up-front, or never tied their internal app dev stack to the business mission. These steps fueled the self-fulfilling prophecy that IT held no real value. I don’t want to see that happen to the analytics field.

As company leaders race to build out their analytics practice, I want to help them align that to the company mission from the very start. I want them to see how proper investment in analytics will pay dividends, so they treat analytics as a competitive advantage.

Not really, no.

Some people will pick a technology solution before they solve a problem. I see that a lot in the analytics space, and it doesn’t turn out well.

Working together, we’ll explore your business concerns first, establish goals, and only then see what tools (if any) you could use to solve them.

(I acknowledge that certain topics get a lot of attention – especially my work blending Hadoop and R for large-scale data analysis – but my focus is providing strategic guidance first, technology last.)

I’d like to move forward. How do I start?

Glad to hear it. Contact me to get started.

I look forward to hearing from you.