The Consultants Company (TCC) is a vendor-neutral consulting services firm headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that provides Advisory and Implementation services to enable our Clients to leverage disparate and disconnected information for business value.
We are dedicated to providing the top thought leadership and technical skills in the marketplace across all of our areas of focus, and all leading vendors. To do this, we create unique relationships between our firm, our consultants, and our clients, which allow us to deliver truly objective advice, and genuine implementation expertise. Then, to address each specific situation, we apply the right types, combinations and amounts of these components in a deliberate design to enable the integration of information and decision support tools tied directly to tangible business outcomes.
At TCC, we provide Business and Technical consulting expertise that helps our clients leverage information to drive business transformation and results. We partner with a wide range of clients, from midsize to Fortune 500 organizations, in both the private and public sectors. While our extensive experience includes virtually every industry, our firm is known for our rare ability to work with both IT and Business groups to help them connect and transform data into valuable information, and leverage this to drive tangible business outcomes.
To achieve this, we establish an ongoing collaboration with both business and technical functions within client organizations, and apply our knowledge and skills to deliver a result that will help our clients – both organizations and individuals – achieve success against their goals and KPIs. Although every engagement represents a partnership, it is our role to take ownership for defining, planning, and delivering the expected business results.
Our service portfolio includes two specific areas of focus:
Together, our Data and Analytics service areas combine to form our core focus on Integrated Analytics. This is the central premise that the company was founded on, so that we could help clients to eliminate the disconnect between all of the relevant components that are required to work in concert to turn information into a valuable business asset. As reflected in our logo, this Data + Analytics is represented by four quadrants, or practice areas:
TCC’s constant focus on driving business outcomes through our Integrated Analytics engagements meant that we were constantly collaborating with Lines of Business. What we found is that the Marketing function often takes the lead on these efforts, as it is their job to define market-driven strategies to grow revenue, innovate, and find new customers. As a result, this practice area has been a natural extension of our core business, and often works hand-in-hand with Data + Analytics. Three key areas of expertise are included in this category:
TCC provides services in the following five broad categories: Advisory Services, Managed Projects, Staff Augmentation, Custom/Mobile Applications, and Nearshore/Offshore Development. Each of these is relevant across all of our focus areas of Data, Analytics, and Marketing. Our goal of course is to provide them in the right mix for each client to adhere to our Contextual Design practices and ensure that each engagement is Organization-specific, and User-centric.
For a firm to commit to a deliberate and genuine vendor neutral approach in today’s fast and constantly evolving software landscape requires a huge amount of time and effort on an ongoing basis. But we know that this is time is a luxury that busy executives and technical teams simply don’t have to enable them to stay on top of emerging trends, maturing toolsets, and the latest best practices for design and implementation. As a result, TCC makes the effort to maintain our reputation for thought leadership by leveraging our people, and our trusted relationships with Associate Partners and leading software vendors, so that we can continue to provide the best strategic guidance to our clients. These services include the following broad categories for both Business and IT groups: Maturity Assessments, Roadmaps, Program Design, Project Planning and Tools Selection.
It is great to have budget and business support for a variety of projects in a given year, however it can become yet another case of “be careful what you wish for” when IT groups realize that they simply do not have the capacity or skills internally to deliver on all of these expectations. What is needed in these cases is an external partner that can take ownership of the process to manage a project to its completion. With its 360FusionTM process, TCC can provide a single line of accountability to deliver a specific result, including the formalizing of business requirements, creation of a comprehensive project plan, provision of key senior resources, and tracking against a deliberate methodology. The delivery can be completed by independent TCC teams, or blended teams that represent a combination of external and internal skills; and the cost structure may be based on a fixed bid or a time & materials engagement. Regardless, TCC will take overall ownership to deliver a successful result, so that our clients can focus on their many competing priorities.
There is a very unfortunate term that has become more and more commonly used to describe staff augmentation in recent years: “body shopping.” This reflects the rise of online professional profiles and related emergence of “recruiting firms” that have non-technical people who simply scour sites such as LinkedIn, looking to match candidate profiles based on keywords found in job requirements. Thus, the derogatory “body shop” label is assigned to these firms. The reality however is that validation interviews and fact-checking steps are crucial to verifying that claims are accurate, and that the person truly represents a strong candidate to match the culture, team dynamics, and skills required by the client. Plainly stated, TCC will not propose a candidate to a client if the person has not been directly interviewed by a TCC technical or business expert (or both). This occurs whether our expert is a senior architect, data governance strategist, senior/intermediate developer, business analyst, etc. Moreover, even though the client bears responsibility for deliverables in staffing engagements, TCC has a parallel tracking process that includes brief weekly status reports, to ensure that our clients and consultants have our firm’s ongoing support to ensure their success.
As a vendor-neutral firm, TCC’s true expertise is in generating accurate business requirements, creating design/architecture, building related comprehensive project plans, and applying a right-sized methodology to manage and track the project to a successful completion. Since our 360FusionTM framework incorporates all of these components, we can then “plug in” the appropriate senior experts with the knowledge and experience to lead the effort. Although we started out by limiting our focus to Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing projects, our approach worked so well in delivering results on time and on budget, that it wasn’t long before our clients were asking us to build custom applications, including mobile. We realized that as long as we could identify and validate the right skills within our network, we could apply our process not only to implement packaged software applications, but to build new ones, which can be standalone or supplemental. As a result, we expanded our portfolio to include these areas, and have built a very strong team of experts to deliver on this ever-growing need.
In recent years, the offshore development model has been significantly discredited as clients perceive challenges to success caused by large time zone gaps, language barriers, difference in culture, and inconsistent skills that are difficult to validate at a distance. TCC has experienced these issues first-hand, so we understand that they are real, however we do not believe that this means that the model should be abandoned altogether. Rather, offshore resources should be assessed and engaged for their ability to deliver very specific, purpose-driven work in a defined core area of focus. Reflecting this, TCC offers two different models: nearshore resources in Latin America, with a minimal time zone difference, for Business Intelligence projects that require frequent collaboration; offshore resources in Eastern Europe and India for custom development, support and modelling activities that can run more independently, as long as they are provided with a detailed technical specification. It must however be noted that TCC never runs a project without local, senior resources who work onsite the client, and remote resources are used on a supplemental basis only.
Those who know something about how energy is created will know that fission and fusion are opposites. While both processes involve reactions between atoms to create energy, the first does so by splitting them apart, while the second involves fusing them together to make bigger atoms. Because fission takes less energy, and is thus easier to produce, fission reactors were developed first, while fusion energy remains elusive. This is not to say that fusion does not exist: it is the energy sources that powers the sun, and has also been demonstrated in laboratories on earth. And though it may represent the harder path, the tremendous potential benefits justify the ongoing efforts to address this challenge: compared with fission, fusion is 3-4 times more efficient at producing energy, has no potential to cause runaway chain reactions and meltdowns, nor does it produce waste that requires ongoing costs for cleanup and storage.
So, what in the world does this have to do with consulting services? Well, when it comes to TCC, everything really. The firm was founded by innovators – people who are not satisfied when they see things that are not working as they should. And, based on their significant experience in this industry, they saw a sector that was rife with disconnected teams, failing projects, an overall failure to deliver the expected business outcomes, and a legacy of ongoing negative impacts and costs, long after projects were supposed to be complete.
There was added irony in the fact that TCC focuses on delivering data-driven business outcomes, which are fundamentally about combining information from disconnected data sources across multiple business units to produce greater business synergies. Ultimately, what TCC observed was that, despite the large amount of energy and investment being expended by well-intentioned people, the engagement of external teams to fill gaps in knowledge, skills and capacity for these projects represented a process of dividing people and processes, and therefore were being built on an unsuccessful premise.
Simply put, at TCC we know that every project success or failure is a product of the type of partnership that exists. So, we deliberately set out to build a model that strengthens the bonds between people, processes and technology, and tracks the progress of mutually dependent components. Our proud and unique result: TCC 360FusionTM, an approach that delivers the expected business outcomes through a deliberate and predictable process of collaboration and mutual success.
From the outset, TCC has been designed to address the recognized gaps in consulting services, so that clients have a single line of accountability. By applying our innovative 360FusionTM model to deliver successful client engagement, and our unique Trusted Referral Network (TRNTM) to engage a wide range of technical and business experts, TCC ensures that all of the different pieces that make up successful projects in our focus areas of Data, Analytics, and Marketing Services, come together through one firm.
Clients who choose TCC as a partner recognize that we help to bring together vendor-neutral, strategic advice with hands-on implementations to provide an end-to-end process that delivers real return on investment in the short term. There are several core values that are intrinsic to the way that we conduct our business and deliver success to our clients. Together, these form our innovative and unique 360FusionTM model which ensures that all of the different pieces that make up successful projects in our focus areas of Data, Analytics, and Marketing Services, come together through one firm.
|12 Core Values of TCC 360Fusion™||What It Means For Our Clients|
|Vendor-Neutral||The single vendor strategy of “all paths lead to…” or “one size fits all” just does not work anymore. TCC has a stated and deliberate vendor-neutral policy so that we are free to recommend or work with any of the leading, mature technologies that are a match for the specific context of each client.|
|Single Line of Accountability||Given that our firm is all about combining the best experts, practices and technologies to create integrated business solutions, it is important that our clients know that when it comes to responsibility for the work or results of any engagement, TCC staunchly believes in the motto: “the buck stops here.”|
|Thought Leadership||Maintaining status as true thought leaders requires a tremendous amount of constant effort, especially in a marketplace that evolves as rapidly as ours. To keep us on our toes and ensure that we are making the best use of people’s time, we have a simple rule: “If clients are not learning something from us, then we should not be in the room.”|
|Customer Investment||At TCC, we are fond of telling existing and prospective clients that “we don’t need a cheque every time we pick up the phone.” This reflects the fact that we are always glad to invest our time and effort in conversations that will help to demonstrate our thought leadership and value.|
|High Touch||The TCC “high touch” services model is predicated on providing senior experts who are located in local proximity to client sites so that we can save time and money, but also ensure continuity over the long term. This is supported through our Trusted Referral Network (TRNTM) which rewards our consultants for introducing us into their personal networks.|
|Authentication||Websites like LinkedIn have made it easy for anyone to set up as a recruiter, and submit project candidates based on keyword searches. Unfortunately, electronic profiles are frequently inaccurate or misleading. This requires significant effort for technical validation, business communication, and cultural fit, and TCC simply will not submit a candidate whom we have not interviewed. Ever. Period.|
|True Partnership||A truism that TCC created is that “all project results, good or bad, are a product of partnership.” This is because it is always the quality of the relationships between people and organizations that determine the quality of the outcomes. We believe that trusted, long term relationships require transparency and mutual benefit to be successful, and this approach has never steered us wrong.|
|Contextual Design||Gone are the days when a vendor could lay down some “industry-specific” templates to solve a business problem. We are now in the age of customer context, in which all projects must be architected to be organization-specific, and user-centric. Despite potential similarities, no two organizations, or projects, are the exact same.|
|Tangible Business Outcomes||Although TCC is obviously in the business of securing client engagements, we will not sacrifice our market credibility for short-term gain. So, we tell prospective clients, emphatically and often, that “if your project is not tied to a tangible business outcome, then you’re wasting your money.”|
|Responsive Methodology||We will never forget what one early client asserted to us about methodology: “Every company talks about methodologies, but no one uses them.” He was, of course, quite correct. This is why we created our 360FusionTM iterative methodology, and in the process coined the term “Responsive Methodology” to describe how it is “right-sized” and applied to every project we participate on.|
|Portfolio of Projects||The TCC model is to identify short-term (3-6 month) engagements, complete them successfully, and earn the right to ask for more business. Therefore, our “next project” relies on the quality of the current one. Even for long-term clients, we apply our “Portfolio of Projects” approach to parallelize the delivery of continuous short-term business outcomes, because we understand that investment is all about business results.|
|Predictable||To reflect our assertion to clients that “there is no such thing as a perfect project,” TCC created a slogan for our project teams, which has become more of a rallying cry: “No Surprises!” This describes our commitment to track project progress for any work that our experts are engaged in, even if we are not the project leaders and it is done in parallel. It is not perfection that delivers results, but informed, collaborative, expedient and effective issues management.|
When TCC was founded in 2011, it was deliberately designed to represent a combination of business insight, technical expertise, and passion for people. Although we have grown and evolved as a company, our management team reflects our ongoing commitment to ensure that these three core pillars of our success are still equally represented in our corporate strategy and execution.
To fulfil our commitment to continue to our clients to deliver thought leadership and innovation that will help them expand their ability to leverage information and drive tangible business outcomes, TCC identifies known experts in strategic target areas – each an independent expert in his or her own right – and partners with them to ensure that our knowledge of marketplace trends and best practices is second to none.
A recognized thought leader in the area of business analytics and sincere believer in “the art of the possible,” Thomas Kilburn has an successful track record, spanning more than two decades, of helping people and organizations find creative solutions to achieve impressive business results. His progressive experience at a number of large and mid-market organizations encompasses a diverse set of roles that have required both business and technical aptitude, including project manager, program manager, marketing strategist, account executive, sales vice president, industry principal and business development leader. This breadth of viewpoints give Mr. Kilburn a unique ability to consider business goals and challenges from a broad range of perspectives and provide cogent advice on the best approach to match a specific context.
Mr. Kilburn’s reputation for creative thinking and penchant for innovation have enabled him to consistently demonstrate leadership and have placed him at the forefront of a number of key evolutions in the technology industry. Notable examples include: the creation of the Call Centre model (inside sales / direct marketing), in which Mr. Kilburn led the IBM development team that implemented an enterprise “marketing sales management system,” a precursor to CRM; the emergence and growth of the channel sales model, in which he played a prominent role at several companies, including IBM, where he was selected as the only non-technical member of a strategic team at the DB2 Development Lab to build this business; the “hosted” software model, which ultimately to become known as cloud computing, which Mr. Kilburn championed early on as the Canadian Territory Lead for ASPIC (Application Service Providers International Consortium); the maturity of advanced analytics, to which he contributed in role as a part-time professor role in the post-degree Database Marketing Program at George Brown College where he created and taught a data mining course. The organizations at which Mr. Kilburn has held leadership roles include the Ontario government, Celestica, Bell Canada, IBM, SAP, in addition to several “start-up” companies.
In addition to his work at TCC, Mr. Kilburn is recognized as a dynamic and informed speaker on a variety of topics relating to data-driven business, and is a member of the board of a non-profit organization focused youth at risk.
A proudly self-described “methodology geek” with a 30-year track record of designing and delivering successful data warehouse and business intelligence initiatives, Jennifer Albu is an a recognized expert in the area of project delivery. From her early career experience with the waterfall SDLC approach, through her years applying an evolved iterative model, and beyond to her adherence to Kimball’s dimensional modeling methodology for enterprise data warehouse projects, Ms. Albu has gained an innate understanding of how to establish and maintain the right level of rigour and discipline to deliver the expected business outcomes from data projects.
As both a developer, architect, and ultimately a leader of multi-disciplinary technical teams, Ms. Albu possesses a tremendous diversity of experience, from her various roles both as a client and as a consultant. This includes virtually every role across all phases of a complete enterprise data warehouse delivery lifecycle, and spans many different industry sectors in Canada, the US and the UK. Prominent organizations that have benefited from Ms. Albu’s rare combination of passion, expertise and leadership include GE Capital, RBH, The British Royal Mail, EuroControl, Nortel Networks, Time Warner Cable, Effem Foods, and Vale Inco.
Ms. Albu’s thought leadership has been critical in the formation of TCC’s innovative Fusion360TM Responsive Project Methodology, and Prescriptive Data Governance model.
In addition to her work at TCC, Ms. Albu is a long-time member of Mensa Canada, on which she currently acts as the Vice President of Membership. Ms. Albu holds a Computer Science degree from York University.
A firm believer that the key difference between success and failure is how well an organization brings out the unique energies and talents of its people, Irene Der is passionate about ensuring that the proper structure and processes are in place to enable this. After joining IBM right out of university, Ms. Der spent a number of years moving through progressive roles in sales and marketing of hardware and systems, in which she gained recognition for her dedication to process-driven results. Following this, her “product” changed to people, as she moved to the DB2 Development Lab where she had responsibility for the recruiting of top technical professionals and campus hires. Ms. Der excelled in this role and played a key role in the pivotal transition from paper-based to electronic recruiting processes. Combining her passion for people and customer service, Ms. Der branched out after a lengthy tenure at IBM, and applied her recognized expertise to help solve recruiting challenges at several other organizations, including Rogers Communications.
As the person leading TCC’s business operations, Ms. Der is truly customer-driven, whether working internally with consultants, or externally with clients. Her efforts have been instrumental in ensuring that our firm has strong financial processes in place to support our consultants, and that we honour our sincere commitment to the welfare of our employees through the establishment of a strong benefits program.
Ms. Der holds a Bachelor of Economics and Business Diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University.