Australia’s technology consulting industry has been left “broken” and devalued because of its own arrogance”, according to former Versent manager Jordan Greig.
Greig, who has been appointed as Australia managing director for New Zealand consultancy Practiv, told ARN he believes the consultancy system has “failed to truly communicate the value of independent expertise that it brings to the business world”.
Now leading Practiv’s Australian launch, Greig said he hoped to bring a new approach to the local market that hinges on transparency, ethics and honour.
Speaking about the industry’s “broken” model, Greig explained: “Everyone’s heard of the saying ‘a consultant is just someone who empties your wallet to tell you the time by your own watch’.’
“In the tech world, almost anybody that’s worked with a third-party consultant at one point or another will be able to regale frustrating stories involving confusion, jargon, misunderstandings and the hard sell.”
“There’s no doubt that there are good tech consultants out there, but they’re hard to find — and most companies that seek the help of consultants often begin their journey from a point of negativity because they’ve been stung before,” he added.
Practiv was founded in Auckland in 2000 and has operated across the US for more than a decade. Specialising in public cloud, the company has partnerships with Snowflake, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Databricks and Google Cloud.
However, according to Greig, Practiv is not obligated to sell from any single technology vendor and also shies away from lock-in or black-box managed services contracts.
Speaking about the ways Practiv claims to approach consultancy differently to competitors, Greig said listening to the customer is the first priority.
“If a plumber came round to your house to fix a faulty tap and he immediately started picking things out of his toolbox before having a look at the tap itself, you’d probably call into question his expertise,” he said.
“The same thing goes with consultancy — we need to diagnose the situation with clients before technology crosses our mind. Only by truly understanding what your client is looking to achieve can you suggest a solution that’s actually going to work.”
In addition, Greig claimed that tech experts’ business knowledge needs to change.
“[Consultants] need to understand what non-technical boards of directors want and how customers run their businesses to be able to make sound judgement calls on what to do next,” he said. “Without understanding the business, the technology solution you implement simply won’t go as far as it should”.
Last but not least, Greig argued that consultancy firms need to have a broad range of expertise and a broad range of technology skills.
Otherwise, “you’re only going to be able to fix a specific type of problem and you’ll start shoehorning in your one solution to problems it can’t fix,” he added.
Greig himself has 15 years of experience in consultancies and founded AWS Advanced Consulting partner Cloud House in New Zealand in 2014.
The company was acquired by Bulletproof in 2016. He later joined Google in 2017, Servian in 2020 and Versent last year, whereby he held the role of general manager for NSW, Queensland and New Zealand.
Commenting on his decision to leave Versent for Practiv, Greig said: “While I enjoyed running Versent’s northern business this past year, I wanted to channel that builder focus I have through a new focused consultancy that has the ability to build a pure data-cloud capability.
“Many consultancies have reached a certain size where it’s hard to stay at the forefront of new tech trends and they’ve invested so deeply in certain partnerships over the past decade that it’s hard for them to refocus and drive the best outcome for their customers. The excuse 'It’s always been done that way' doesn’t mean it’s the best option.”
What will make Practiv truly differentiated from other consultancies, according to Greig, is its claim to be transparent about its project management practices.
Practiv aims to involve a customer as much as they want while educating them on what it is doing to solve their problems, he continued.
“We also encourage feedback from our customers on an ongoing basis,” Greig added. “We act on that feedback too – it doesn’t just sit in a system gathering dust. Customer feedback to us is solid gold. It helps us hone our techniques and approaches to make sure we’re getting the job done to the highest possible standard.”