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DataFlows Approach to Consulting



We believe that no business should give up or outsource its key business knowledge.

There’s a right time and place to use a consultant like us:


    •    When you need specialized skills and background for a one-time or intermittent task

    •    When you need to temporarily augment your organization
    (i.e., you have resources in-house but they are already tied up on another critical project)

    •    When you need outside objectivity, commonly thought of as a corporate referee


If you are this kind of client:

    •    You prefer to reduce your dependency on consultants long-term by understanding when you should bring resources in-house permanently for a particular need and when you should supplement with consultants.

    •    You believe in working within the parameters of a well-defined project scope so you don’t end up with an entire floor of consultants working on open-ended, ill-defined projects that strain your budget yet fail to achieve your desired outcome.

    •    You seek an objective definition of your needs rather a problem defined in terms of what a particular consultant does best. (“If the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail.” Abraham Maslow)

    •    You have enough respect for your own time and for the expertise of the consultant to appreciate hearing, “We’re wrong for this project – but we’ll help you figure out how to find the right resources.” Sometimes this means spending the time to do a high level problem definition to focus your resources hunt.

    •    You value an objective assessment of your company’s IT environment and strategy even if it challenges the status quo. You recognize the folly of throwing good money after bad and welcome the opportunity to make adjustments to a flawed path if those adjustments will get you back on track.

    •    You demand and expect high quality documentation that is useful to your company and to subsequent consultants.

    •    You believe in anticipating future needs, but you don’t buy bells and whistles that are not warranted by existing needs or future projections.

    •    You recognize the essential nature of collaborating with subject matter experts and end users and therefore facilitate meaningful communication between them.

    •    You adhere to technical standards throughout your system for the purposes of reliability, maintainability, efficiency, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. However, you select system components judiciously according to standards compatibility and cost-effectiveness.

    •    When making any hardware/software decision, you place emphasis on: 1) the cost of reliability (the system doesn’t go down) and 2) the cost of recovery (how fast can I fix it when it goes down?).


Then we are the right consultant for you.

    •    We are technology neutral.

    •    We stick to the scope of our project unless we reach concurrence with the you to expand the scope.

    •    Our projects have a beginning, a middle and an end, at which time your company operates better. It is not our goal to become pseudo employees of your company.

    •    We are experts at systems design and requirements which means you will need minimal software staff for development.


Here are two vignettes of how our philosophy of consulting has helped clients:

Client: a large state governement
When they needed several thousand new CSUs/DSUs, they specified SNMP (simple network management protocol) capability, and for the sake of expediency they went to a particular vendor who was already under contract. The vendor’s price quote was exorbitant. Before the client made a costly mistake, we evaluated their situation and determined that it was the router and/or the smart-jack, not the CSUs/DSUs, that were key to SNMP functionality. We recommended a solution that cost $800 less per unit than the client’s initial choice – and at over one thousand units, the State was saved from a costly misstep that would have fallen on the backs of taxpayers.

Client: a transportation and delivery system
They had been in business, serving the American public, for more than 100 years. The client’s back office applications were irrevocably entrenched, more due to history and habit than to necessity. They asked us to conduct a “discovery process” to objectively assess and evaluate their system and make recommendations for improvement. Rather than say to the client, “You tell us what your network traffic is and we’ll tell you what your optimum design should be,” we said, “We’ll find out what your traffic is, and why, and then we’ll recommend an optimum network architecture and design.” At the end of nine months, we presented our findings (more than 40 applications, many of which were redundant or conflicting) and our documentation. We made clear recommendations, with accompanying logic and rationale. Our findings became the cornerstone of their multi-year IT system renovation.