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“The argument is simple; make sure you understand why you are doing what you are doing. You can pay for technology now and pay again in about three years for different technology, but your analytics purpose needs to drive your decisions. We’ve seen people going through multiple iterations of vendors before they get things right—when they could have saved millions by addressing the strategy and people-side of things first,” says Patrick McCreesh, co-founder of New York-based Simatree.
As data analytics solutions draw heavily on data sources from the cloud and other parts of the IT infrastructure, they can be costly. These solutions can also be integrated into an enterprise’s overall architecture with relative ease if done at the right time.Nonetheless, time is of the essence here. After all, analytics pertains to actionable insights; the more proactive and timely, the better. Besides, the role of a CDO or an analytics department is much more than merely churning data and creating visualizations. In fact, data analytics can help better restructure functional teams and streamline workflows within an organization, not to mention the competitive advantage it can bring to an enterprise.
Evidently, strategy and a people-first approach are key ingredients for the success of any data analytics initiative, and Simatree knows this well. As a data analytics consultant, strategy advisor, solution implementer, and staffing expert, Simatree walks with their clients through the data analytics adoption and change management journey.
The “Simatree” Approach to Data Analytics
“Nine out of ten times, our discussion with clients start as a technology problem they are facing. But we find they have the tech, data warehouse apparatus, BI tools, and the digital front end to collect data and organize it. It is easy to invest in tech. But the problem is those investments always come with a usage and adoption hurdle that might cost you more in the lifecycle of the technology than the upfront cost,” mentions Wesley Flores, co-founder at Simatree.
Businesses across all industries stand to enjoy the benefits of data analytics.
Simatree adopts a holistic people-and strategy-first approach to leveraging data analytics and also helps clients with the respective staffing and change management solutions
Simatree’s expert staffing and change management capabilities also come into play at this stage. Be it staff augmentation or the good-old clean staffing, Simatree goes the extra mile in screening the right candidates for their clients’ blooming data analytics teams. As an advisor cum implementer of analytics solutions, Simatree knows the skills and capabilities to look for in the talent pool. As the scope of their services extends well beyond mere talent provision and technology implementation, Simatree always adopts a collaborative approach that draws heavily on elements of change management.
Simatree’s strategy mapping phase ends with a pilot demonstration where the clients—through the lens of data analytics technologies—get a glimpse of how their organization, people, and process could realign and work in better cohesion. At this juncture, having shown their clients “the way forward,” Simatree performs holistic people, process, and technology implementations. “Once the clients understand the assessments, analytics demonstration, and recommendations, we offer to be their implantation partner. If they are not interested in the “buy” option, we are happy to help them set up the office and identify the right staff. The choice is theirs,” adds McCreesh.
Simatree’s expertise in all the top-notch cloud and analytics solutions in the market is a big differentiator for them. “We are comprised of what we like to call the Navy Seals—a team that is really flexible in their ability to work across various technology stacks. Having 10-15 years of relevant experience, they have also held roles pertaining to senior IT leadership, and even as CDOs,” adds Flores. The company also has strategic partnerships with over 20 established vendors. However, to help clients be self-sufficient and cost-effective, Simatree always gives first preference to open source technologies.
Exemplary Success Stories
These capabilities have helped Simatree build a future-proof analytics strategy for many of its clients.
In another instance, Simatree was able to augment a financial service company’s digital transformation initiatives with data analytics. During the assessment phase, Simatree found that the client’s strategy and technology purchases were not aligned. They were planning on building a full-fledged data warehouse by partnering with 3-4 vendors, with an estimated investment of 10-15 million dollars. Simatree recommended a cloud-based approach that did not compromise the client’s functional and strategy expectations while helping them work with a single vendor with an all-inclusive budget of around 2 million dollars.
Simatree has similarly helped many CIOs and CDOs establish full-fledged data analytics teams. “We almost treat our involvement with clients like a data literacy activity, conducted with senior leaders of the organization. Because, if an organization doesn’t even have the time to figure out why they are leveraging the data assets they own, they are not in the right place to make the right investments,” mentions Flores. Although Simatree’s service delivery approach is industry-agnostic, they currently cater to the financial, government, and insurance spaces.
The Industry-veteran Edge
As members of the company’s leadership team, Flores and McCreesh hold rich experience as consultants, having worked for several IT behemoths. McCreesh spent more than a decade with Booz Allen Hamilton 11 years, while Flores has held senior leadership positions at Verizon for 18 years. Dan McCreesh, another co-founder, holds over ten years of experience in the talent industry. Simatree’s fourth co-founder is former NBA player and current ESPN analyst, Jay Williams.
“Everytime I talk to senior leaders in the Fortune 500 and in sports teams, I hear them complain about how they have spent millions on data and analytics, but don’t see the results. I tell them the same thing every time – it’s not the technology, it’s the people” says Williams. All of them have witnessed firsthand how defining an IT strategy centered around people, with an objective to marry it to the whole of the business, could do wonders for enterprises. Simatree’s vision is to democratize this approach with a consultative framework.
Looking ahead, Simatree will expand geographically, as it is currently opening a DC office to work with public sector entities. Simatree is also investing in analytics solutions for specific insurance needs. All the while, Simatree is focused on building the company around what matters most to them – people.