How to solve a problem: a day in the life of a digital consultant

15 June 2021
 

Hannah is a Senior Digital Consultant at Storm ID. Below, she takes us though some of the key principles that guide her approach.

At Storm ID, a Digital Consultant is a problem solver. We work as part of a team with our clients to define the gaps between where we currently are on their transformation journey, where we need to be, and the steps to get there.

No day is the same, but key principles shaped by collaboration, communication, and learning guide our daily activities.

What don’t we know?

When starting a project, I work with our team and the client to break down the problem. As the project comes in, I join daily stand ups gathering documents our clients have worked on, any previous information we could use, and what we bring to the table. We make sure we understand what we already know, what we have data for, and what we need to find out about the problem to solve it.

This work is often meetings with our clients, understanding their understanding of their challenges. What are their user’s habits? What are their competitors or similar services doing? What is their business currently restricted by? Are there any solutions they’ve tried before? What are we missing? Where are the gaps?

As the team works to build a picture of the problem, a consultant will often consolidate, analyse, and communicate that information, such as process mapping or value proposition mapping.

Our clients are extremely knowledgeable. What they need from Storm ID and our consultants is a partnership that allows them to take a broader view, beyond business as usual.

Doing the legwork

After understanding what data is available, and identifying the gaps, we fill them in. Most problems have a mixture of cultural, technical and time contributors that make the problems what they are, they’re rarely solely digital in nature.

We begin collecting information ouselves as a team. I’ll analyse data coming from our other team members, such as analytics, user research, content, and architecture, and help build a more detailed picture of the service as it is now, and how it could improve.

To help with this, I’ll also run wider stakeholder engagement, through interviews or workshops. I tailor the workshop to the situation, the knowledge we have, and who we need to speak to. These workshops aim to get expertise and insight from the client’s service stakeholders, to build out our landscape, to understand our goals and to turn the problem on its different angles.

This turns the problem into a challenge.

Assess the impact

Here, I work with the other team members to align our understanding. What does success look like? What impact does this have on the needs of a user, the service, its technical load, its security, and its future capacity?

By combining our disciplines, we can qualify how to measure the success of a new service, and how to identify and ensure success in the short term and long term. In terms of measurability, the business objectives we align against KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), the analytics team build an analytics and tracking plan.

This is both a stage of a Discovery project and an ongoing piece of work. We manage impact by supporting the Project Manager in maintaining and communicating the Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies within the project, and contribute to or write the documents that detail measurements of success, or where new problems might be prevented.

This allows us to build a map of the challenge, its different contributors, and its opportunities.

Identify opportunity

Sometimes, problems need to be solved in stages. The end goal is tantalizing, but consulting in digital development is ensuring that we have the right bridges to get there.

We work as a team to break potential solutions down into parts. This may be the goals of individual workstreams, or it might be an iterative roadmap that supports internal transformation.

For my work, I help identify short-term and long-term provable goals for a client, identifying what is possible within the current scope of work, and help build business cases for what may need time, focus or funding to get right.

I’ll write up an effective backlog for their use once a project is complete, or develop a roadmap and plan for their transformation journey. Where might an AI (Artificial Intelligence) support their needs and analysis of particularly complex datasets at their disposal? Where might chat be particularly supportive to their users and prevent drop off or confusion?

Show, don’t tell

I work with delivery, design and content teams on developing proofs of concept that support any innovative ideas or opportunities. Designing and delivering presentations and communications tools for our client to understand and even reuse is useful as part of a specific product, or a process of service transformation.

When in flight in delivery, I act as the product owner, taking stakeholders through show and tells, explaining how a particular product slots in with their service, and write target operating models that are clear to explain and communicate.

I make sure I’m referring to our goals, communicating any new information, data, or areas of interest to the clients in the method that works best for themselves, their stakeholders, and their systems.

Map, lead and learn

The day of a consultant pivots between thinking on my feet in delivery, learning from my colleagues’ areas of expertise, conducting in-depth analysis and making clear, useful business, usability and technology decisions.

This variety and partnership are key reasons I love working at Storm ID. I like to be hands on, to develop new skills when faced with new challenges, and to work in partnership with clients and teams of diverse needs and specialties. To look at where we are now, find out where to go next, and learning on the way.

Interested in joining the Storm ID team? Check out our career opportunities.

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