Back

CultureJul 03, 2017

So, what do you do?

Bobby Pennington

A few weeks ago, I was at dinner with some friends. As we were catching up, one of them turned to me and asked, “So, Bobby, what do you do?” This question seems to come up often when I run into old friends, so I responded with the simple answer I usually give: “I’m an Analytics and Business Intelligence Consultant at a firm in town called Credera.”

Our conversation eventually went elsewhere, but I started thinking about how few people truly understand what consultants do. It can be tricky for us to explain without getting into the weeds or using terminology that may not translate to friends in other fields. Even more so, it can be difficult for me to explain the full scope of services that Credera offers. We have multiple practices, and each group has a wide range of talented individuals that do great things for our clients. In an attempt to close the gap and portray what we really do, I decided to write this blog.

credera at a glance

Credera is a full-service management consulting, user experience, and technology solutions firm with offices in Dallas, Houston, and Denver. Our clients range from Fortune 500 companies and emerging industry leaders to smaller companies and non-profits.

We are made up of nine different practices that come together to help our clients better reach their customers through technology. A summary of our services can be found in the diagram below, but I will spend more time digging into the specifics of each practice throughout this blog.

it management consultants

analytics & business intelligence (abi)

As I mentioned, I’m in the ABI group at Credera. When explaining our practice to someone, my coworker, Andrew Foreman, will often start by asking if they typically drive their car looking forward or backward. Even though it seems like some Dallas drivers actually look backward, everyone responds by saying that they drive looking forward. He then tells them that we help companies drive looking forward by allowing them to fully understand and utilize their data. Since many companies make decisions based on gut feelings or reports with outdated information, it’s as if they are looking backward when making key choices about the future of their company.

We accomplish this by working closely with our clients to transform data into accurate, valuable, timely, and actionable insights. This could start by developing a strategy for how to use data to gain a competitive advantage, implementing a new reporting and analysis platform (e.g., Power BI, Tableau, etc.), or creating visualizations to portray the complete story of data. On the more technical side, we may develop a data warehouse to pull data from several sources into one central repository or create an analytical model to predict potential outcomes for a business scenario. When I spoke with our Practice Leader, Andrew Stewart, he pointed out that, “Our ABI Methodology is centered on increasing our client’s analytic maturity, attacking their market, and increasing top-line revenue through data-driven strategies.”

it consulting services list

cloud and infrastructure services

When you think about the infrastructure of a country, you think about the roads, bridges, and buildings that allow it to function efficiently. It’s the backbone of a nation. Similarly, the Cloud and Infrastructure Services practice provides the technical backbone necessary for our clients to function efficiently. They offer deep technical and operational expertise across a wide breadth of technologies, and our clients leverage this skillset to expand the current capabilities of their IT departments.

They can help with hardware (wires and pliers, as our CEO Rob Borrego affectionately calls it), but typically provide software related solutions. With the rise in virtualization and cloud technologies, they do a lot of work around the planning and execution of cloud and data center solutions as well.

Specifically, they often help our clients by:

  • Performing Office 365 Migrations

  • Migrating and automating data centers

  • Writing code to automate application infrastructure setup

  • Enabling distributed workforces

  • Redesigning networks

  • Aiding in the execution of complex mergers, including Active Directory consolidations

  • Assisting in integration or divestiture initiatives

When I asked Bobby Crotty what he enjoys about the Cloud and Infrastructure Services practice, he said, “I like that we get to work with a wide range of technologies. It’s also rewarding to use systems, processes, and automation to increase efficiency for our clients. At the end of the day, I like helping people work less.”

digital

We live in a digital world, and most of our clients have a digital component of their business, whether that be an e-commerce site, online marketing campaigns, or loyalty programs. Our Digital practice is a cross-functional team that pulls experience from every practice to deliver enterprise-wide digital solutions that drive revenue for our clients. It is comprised of individuals with deep expertise ranging from strategic advisory services to technical implementation.

credera management consultants

The digital practice often helps our clients identify marketing opportunities, assess current digital capabilities, or select technology tools. On the more technical side, they might scale existing enterprise platforms, design a future technical architecture, or build out a new website to increase revenue and growth. They also utilize web commerce tools like Broadleaf Commerce, ATG, and SAP Hybris to develop ecommerce solutions for our clients. The common theme between these services being that there is always a focus on revenue optimization.

When I asked Olin Moran about his experience in our Digital practice, he said “I love how our team uses technology to solve challenges in a wide range of industries. What drew me to this space is that the work is data driven. Ultimately, there is always a very clear and trackable target with clear and trackable results.”

integration and data services (ids)

It’s an inside joke at Credera that IDS stands for “I do stuff” because they can build just about anything thrown at them. Their core focus is to solve our client’s toughest challenges through custom software solutions that leverage open source technologies and platforms. For example, they recently created a supply chain analytics platform for one of our clients that allowed their customers to identify opportunities to save money on medical supplies. Internally, they built our forecasting tool and the web app we use to reserve the ping pong table. The IDS practice focuses on building expertise and experience in web development, server side development, data access, dev ops, and security. If you need a custom software application, this is your group.

When discussing his experience in the IDS group, Scott Popplewell said, “Our clients are usually managing complex IT systems, and solving their problems, big and small, involves designing an imaginative solution. I really enjoy the chances I get to flex my creativity whether it’s by writing a small piece of code or designing a new process.”

management consulting (mc)

Our MC group is very talented…and I use that word broadly because they’re both incredibly smart and somehow win every inter-office athletic competition between our practices. They help companies create and execute strategies by understanding their market, unlocking the potential of the organization, optimizing internal processes, and implementing and scaling technology solutions. Since they have a wide range of expertise, it is common for MC team members to be involved in projects across many industries and technologies, collaborating with our technical practices to create the best results for our clients.

When I spoke to Bria Ford about her experience in MC, she said, “The most enjoyable part about being in the Management Consulting group at Credera is being able to work on a wide variety of projects. These projects often include technology, strategy, operations, and traditional project management. Each company presents unique challenges, and this has helped me grow as a consultant. This is a big part of why I love coming to work every day.”

Additional management consulting services can be found in the visual below:

microsoft solutions

Credera is proud to be a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and was named Microsoft 2016 Azure Partner of the Year for the South-Central Region of the United States. Specifically, the Microsoft practice helps our clients meet their business objectives by leveraging Microsoft technologies (e.g., Sitecore, .NET, SharePoint, Dynamics CRM, Azure, Machine Learning, etc.) and several other trusted platforms to develop reliable, secure, and highly integrated software solutions. Additionally, they stay up-to-date on cutting edge Microsoft platforms, so they can always recommend the best solution for our clients.  Their work varies from project to project, but they typically serve our clients across the following four competencies:

  • Application Development and Integration

  • Portals and Collaboration

  • Ecommerce and Digital

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

When describing the Microsoft practice, Shelby Strodel said, “Credera’s Microsoft Solutions practice is made up of well-rounded individuals bringing a very diverse service offering to the market. We do everything from CRM and SharePoint implementations to completely custom application development with amazing front-end experiences.”

mobile solutions

From shopping to hailing a taxi, mobile applications have revolutionized the way we interact as consumers in the 21st century. Credera’s Mobile Solutions group helps our clients drive audience engagement and reach their mobile markets by identifying opportunities in mobile strategy, shaping business objectives, and developing unique customer experiences. Their services include everything from responsive web, iOS, and Android development to wearables, APIs, and conversational technologies.

When I spoke with Andrea Curo, she said her favorite thing about the Mobile Solutions practice is the passion of her coworkers. “Everyone in our group has such a passion about responsive web and mobile technologies. It’s such a pleasure to work with them, and I think everyone feeds off the energy of the group.”

Management Consulting, User Experience, Technology Solutions, Credera

technical architecture and strategy (tas)

The vision for the TAS practice is very straight forward: “Digital life is complex. Our vision is to simplify life by creating elegant technology solutions to complex problems.” To achieve this vision, it’s critical that the members of the TAS practice understand the full technological ecosystem of our clients, so they can identify their primary challenges and develop a comprehensive strategy. Because of this role, they are naturally a more senior group with a wide range of expertise.

After developing the initial strategy, the TAS practice often takes the role of the orchestra conductor, making sure the technology solution is implemented harmoniously and results in a simplified life. Given their diverse skillset, they serve our clients in many areas, including:

  • Enterprise Architecture

  • Application Architecture

  • Cloud Architecture

  • Data Architecture

  • Information Security

  • Engineering Methodology

When I spoke with Simon Saugier, he explained, “Our clients became successful by focusing on their business, not by focusing on technology. That understandably leads to an ad-hoc smattering of disjointed technologies that don’t scale well as their business grows. TAS aims to help our clients leverage technology to take their business to the next level instead of having technology hold them back. I love what we get to do because we are improving people’s lives through technology.”

user experience (ux)

I think it’s fair to say that UX is the coolest group at Credera. They have an awesome work space, they dominate at office ping pong tournaments, AND they do amazing work. At a high level, they design and develop the front end of websites and applications for our clients, the part that the everyday users see and use. This usually starts by developing a unique vision for how customers will interact with the brand and creating an impactful design that delivers on this vision. Then, they bring the design to life through responsive, flexible, and well-structured code (HTML, CSS, Java Script, Angular, etc.). Depending on the platform, they may partner with our IDS or Microsoft practice to develop the backend before launching the final web solution.

information technology

When speaking with UX Architect Austin Walker, he explained “Credera’s User Experience practice focuses on creating experiences that help people easily achieve their goals. If you ever blamed yourself for having difficulty understanding or using an application or service, the problem likely isn’t you. The problem is likely the way the application or service was designed. In that light, we specialize in designing experiences that help you easily and intuitively achieve your goals.”

heart of credera

Culture is very important at Credera. There is a focus on work-life balance, creating friendships in the workplace, and always doing the right thing for our clients. From top to bottom, our core values of professionalism, excellence, integrity, and humility are apparent. This culture has led to very strong reviews on Glassdoor and recognition from Fortune as a top 100 workplace in the US.

My absolute favorite thing about Credera is that we serve not only our clients and employees, but also our communities. We invest our time by volunteering at organizations like Mercy Street and the North Dallas Food Bank. We invest our talent by volunteering services like web development for the Barbra Bush Houston Literacy Foundation.  We invest our resources by donating a portion of our profits annually to organizations where our employees are personally involved.

credera consulting

We have partnered locally with several youth-focused organizations such as Miracle League, Young Life, and West Dallas Community Schools. Our international relationships extend to organizations working throughout Southeast Asia, Zambia, and East Africa. When I look at everything we do as a company, this is what I am most proud of.

closing

I hope this post provided insight into what we do and who we are at Credera. If you’re interested in applying at Credera, using our services, or just want to catch up, shoot me an email at bpennington@credera.com. I would love to grab lunch or jump on a call.