:What led to the
Center of Data Excellence (CODE)?
Trimble: CODE was a natural
extension of AArete’s core
philosophy and founding rationale.
When I launched AArete in 2008, my
vision for the business was based on
the premise that organizations could
improve operational performance
and achieve strategic cost reductions
without reducing headcount. That’s a
big promise and we’ve found a way
to deliver on it using a number of
proven methodologies, but it’s how
we use advanced data and analytics
that really makes an impact on our
ability to serve clients better and help
them achieve profitable growth.
: How has CODE
improved your service offering and
Trimble: To some extent, data and
analytics were always a part of every
project we do at AArete. About three
to four years ago, however, we noticed
that our clients were demanding a
new level of service from us for a
number of reasons. First, the sheer
volume and complexity of the data
they were asking us to move every
day was growing significantly and
we needed to ensure its stability
and security. Also, our buyers are
just more sophisticated than they
were five to 10 years ago. Many are
former consultants themselves, who
have more insight into the nature and
availability of data overall. In order
for our consultants and data scientists
to produce meaningful analysis for
these sophisticated clients, they have
to have real-time access to the data,
which a centralized function provides.
: What is your
talent sourcing strategy for CODE?
Trimble: Our talent strategy is one of
AArete’s most critical differentiators.
We’re really proud of the caliber of
our data scientists and their ability
to work with clients as members of
project delivery teams. When we
recruit, we assess for a broad range
of hard and soft skills. Yes, we want
data scientists, data engineers, and
data analysts, but we also want
them to have practical business and
industry experience. They also must
be able to derive and communicate
actionable insights from data specific
to the client’s unique environment.
We look for diverse skills and
capabilities, whether it’s a different
programming language or software
platform they’ve had experience with
in different industries. This strategy
creates a mosaic of skill sets that helps
AArete adapt to any type of client.
: What’s happening
in the data and analytics market?
Kim: The push to invest in data
management capabilities occurred
several years ago. Today, companies
have either made the investment and
are seeking advice on additional
improvements. We see a lot of
vendors responding to market
demand with turnkey and push-button solutions, software-as-a-service, or standalone products that
fit a specific data or analytics niche,
but our data scientists are tools-agnostic. They are well-versed in
every situation and tool out there,
but have a strong preference for open
source software because it’s usually
scalable and can be replicated.
:What are you
working on now that excites you?
Kim: We’re particularly excited about
some work we’re doing internally
on the distributed computing
environment, which will make the
promise of Big Data and trends like
AI a reality for our clients. We can
start in-taking data at a faster rate than
we ever dreamed of before. Secondly,
with these new Big Data capabilities,
we’ll be able to provide some pretty
cool insights from a data visualization
and machine-learning perspective.
Chicago-based management consultancy AArete provides advanced
analytics capabilities through its Center for Data Excellence (CODE).
AArete was named one of Consulting magazine’s Seven Small Jewels in
2016 and has been one of Consulting’s Fastest Growing Firms three
years in a row, ranking No. 49, No. 26 and No. 37 the last three years.
ALM’s Liz DeVito recently sat down with CEO Loren Trimble and Mike
Kim, Director and Head of CODE, to learn more.
Q&A with AArete’s Loren Trimble and Mike Kim
Loren Trimble Mike Kim