While best known as a software and managed services provider, Ergo’s information and communications technology (ICT) consulting business has experienced significant growth in recent times.
“The economy seems to be quite buoyant at the moment and certainly we’re extremely busy,” said Peter McCullagh, senior solutions consultant with Ergo. “Our pipeline is more full than it has been for a long time. The interesting thing is that as well as volume of business being up, so too is the variety of things that we’re being asked about.”
McCullagh works in Ergo’s business consulting division, focusing on software services and business productivity. The client companies he works with range in size from small organisations with 20 people up to those with 200 or more employees. “We also work with some global financial services companies that have 500 or 600 people working with them. In essence though, every client is different,” he said. “Traditionally because we’re strongly associated with software solutions from Microsoft, we attract customers looking for Microsoft products such as Office 365, Sharepoint and so on. They know that they need a certain application and that we’re positioned to help them.”
“But on the consulting side, companies tend to come with much more open-ended questions. For example, they know they have a need but not what the best way to meet that need, is. They’re looking for someone to help them understand that.” Ergo is currently working with a small company that McCullagh says is typical in this regard. It approached Ergo looking for help using technology to underpin business process re-engineering.
“They essentially said to us that they knew they had to change the way they operated. They’ve been working in a particular way for around ten years and the methodology they’ve used has served them well, but it’s no longer the best way forward,” he said. “It’s not scalable, it needs more manual intervention and so on. The management knew that much but not exactly how to move forward.” McCullagh said that as is usually the case, they’d heard of new technologies and ideas but didn’t have the expertise to judge what would fit their individual circumstances best.
“In some regards, they’re very well informed and in others, completely mystified. What they do know well is their core business, they just need the help to take them onwards,” he said. By contrast, Ergo has also worked with much larger companies that have much more expertise in-house. Paradoxically, this can actually sometimes work against them.“Sometimes you can be so close to a problem that you can’t create distance to see what the right thing to do is. This is the advantage that a fresh set of eyes can bring and it’s particularly true in the IT sector,” said McCullagh. “The ICT world is so large that nobody can plausibly claim to be an expert in everything. Being able to recognise that and ork around it saves everyone time and, more importantly, money.”
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