BBC Interview Series: Simon Pfister at Knowledgent Group, Inc.
BBC 2017 Speaker Series – Consultant: Simon Pfister, Management Consultant, Informationist at Knowledgent Group, Inc.
In anticipation of his presentation at Building Business Capability in Orlando, Nov. 6-10, 2017, we asked Simon Pfister, Management Consultant, Informationist at Knowledgent Group, Inc., a few questions about transforming the business. Check out this interview in relation to his BBC presentation entitled, Big Data, Little Data, What begins with Data? A look inside the Data Integration of an M&A.
Q: In what ways do you help your client organizations handle business transformation?
A: At Knowledgent we improve lives and business through data. Those improvements could be from delivering Real World Evidence (RWE) and Predictive Regulatory Adherence initiatives, or delivering data lakes to support other advanced analytics engagements, or guiding clients through the myriad of data challenges associated with Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A).
Q: Can you describe the challenges you face or have already overcome in establishing more robust business transformation capabilities for your clients?
A: The challenge is to stay on the cutting edge to be able to deliver relevant business transformation capabilities to clients who need them. That is the challenge we face every day, and not one always easily overcome. The goal is delivering at a consistently high-level. We are successful doing this in large part due to our people and the ability to leverage the frameworks we develop to support consistency and repeatability as we work with clients to deliver new business capabilities.
Q: What are your top suggestions for companies looking to become more agile?
A: More agile or more nimble? Both require an organizational structure that supports a disciplined approach to rapid change, multi-directional communication, and the trust in your people’s ability to contribute and create value. Whether it is proactively undertaking an initiative to do something new or reactively responding to something in the marketplace, it is the structure of the organization that enables (or disables) an organization to efficiently and effectively be able to perform in an agile fashion. I’ve seen companies that have a “Head of Innovation” or some other such role, but a role itself may simply be lip service. If the organization is structured in a fashion that supports and enables that role, then a positive value opportunity is created; if that role is simply a figurehead, it will result in negative value.
Q: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned in the past year?
A: Hard work doesn’t necessarily always pay-off, but focused hard work does. Just knocking down road blocks and overcoming obstacles is good, delivering, and over delivering, through hard work and diligence is very good but having a plan and working to that plan is more important. I now have a plan, for the year, of things I want to accomplish, it involves having several irons in the fire, and I make sure to keep an eye on, and work on, all of them.
Q: What do you see as the most important goal or trend for business analysts and other professionals to keep in mind?
A: Never stop learning. Every business analyst should set themselves a goal of learning/mastering a new skill each year (at least one). I’ve seen too many BAs who learn the BABOK and the foundations for good business analysis and leave it there. We are the liaisons between the business and technology… we must constantly learn and understand both. More specifically, I’m seeing a lot of requests/needs for data analysts, and often the business analyst is asked to fill this gap. Building a skillset in data and analytics is a great way for a BA to strengthen their skillset.
Q: What’s the latest method/process/tool you’ve implemented to help your client’s business’s operate more effectively? Have you seen any results yet?
A: We are currently implementing an M&A integration framework as we’ve seen a number of clients struggle in this area. It’s a very specific need, because it’s not a business as usual type situation, so it’s less about operating the business more effectively and more about executing an integration more effectively. It’s on going, so results are pending, stay tuned!
Q: If you could go back 5 years in time and give some professional insight or advice to yourself, what would it be?
A: Never get lost in your work, always keep coming up for air. You always want to keep a finger on the pulse of your career and to make sure you’re working towards (and achieving!) your goals. In addition, be hard on yourself, if you are not achieving your goals, look at what changes you may need to make, take ownership. You don’t want to let yourself become the definition of insanity.
Q: What’s one question you wished you were asked in this interview but were not? And how would you answer?
A: “What lead to you becoming a business analyst?” I would say that my path to becoming a business analyst has repeated itself many times over and is representative of my career overall. The company I worked for at the time (many years ago treated business analysis very much as an afterthought. I saw a huge gap and wanted to find a way, not just to fill it, but to excel at it. That is what I do today, I identify gaps for my clients, and I do my best to find a way to bridge these gaps to the highest level possible.
Q: Sneak preview: Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your talk at the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference this year?
A: My talk at the BBC will outline the challenges faced during M&A integrations and outline a best-practice approach to overcoming these challenges.
Don’t miss Simon’s presentation, Big Data, Little Data, What begins with Data? A look inside the Data Integration of an M&A, at Building Business Capability on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. Click here to register for attendance.
Building Business Capability is the only conference that provides insight into Business Analysis, Business Architecture, Business Process, Business Rules, Business Decisions, and Business Strategy & Transformation toward the pursuit of business excellence.