2-Day Seminar

Working with the business:
Consulting skills for data and IT professionals

Being right isn't enough. One of the major challenges - often the greatest challenge - is engaging the client: understanding their requirements, winning their support, and meeting their expectations. Yet most IT professionals give far less attention to these consulting skills than they give to their technical expertise. If you are an experienced professional who has not previously studied consulting skills, this workshop is likely to be more valuable in improving your effectiveness than any technical course.

In this highly-interactive workshop, Graeme Simsion shares principles, techniques, and tips learned from 25 years of managing an internal data management function, establishing and managing a successful consultancy and working as an independent consultant. He uses a combination of formal material, stories, lectures, group exercises and case studies to share ideas and techniques that you will use throughout your professional life.

Learning Objectives

  • A deeper understanding of consulting relationships - and how to make them work
  • Practical techniques for establishing expectations - checklists and questions
  • A set of practices to keep assignments on track
  • Techniques for dealing with problems and difficult clients
  • Practical approaches to writing reports and delivering presentations

Seminar and Workshop Outline

Understanding consulting
The title or role of "consultant" brings with it a specific set of challenges and expectations. We look at the nature and psychology of consulting, and identify behaviours that lead to successful assignments.

  • The consultant role - how you're perceived, what is expected
  • Why consulting assignments fail - and what to do about it
  • Working in a consulting team
  • Professional behaviour - and common mistakes that hurt your credibility

Setting expectations
The widely-accepted key to effective consulting is "managing expectations". This means establishing mutual expectations and keeping them up to date, so that at every stage of the assignment both client and consultant can be confident in a successful outcome. We look at a range of techniques for understanding and validating expectations.

  • Selling consulting services: how the professionals do it
  • Really understanding clients and their needs
  • Establishing expectations - checklists and frameworks
  • Negotiating achievable outcomes - and negotiating in general
  • Pulling it together in a consulting plan

Delivering services
We look at the day-to-day practices of good consultancy needed to monitor expectations and deliver against them, and to deal with problems. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own problems for discussion.

  • Effective consulting practices: habits that distinguish the professional
  • Staying on track - and managing change
  • Gathering data and formulating solutions
  • Working with others: client staff, your own team, external consultancies
  • Common problems - and practical solutions
  • Maintaining integrity - while keeping the stakeholders happy
  • Dealing with difficult people

Deliverables and closure
Many consulting assignments stay on track until close to the end - and then they stumble on as reports are written and re-written, deliverables await final client sign-off, and goodwill (and the prospect of further work) diminishes. This final session looks at getting closure on time and on budget and laying a base for a continuing relationship. Particular attention is given to preparation of verbal and written reports, a task that technical people often find particularly frustrating.

  • Writing reports that get accepted - and acted upon
  • Designing and delivering effective presentations
  • Getting closure on the deliverables
  • Turning experience into capability: learning from assignments
  • Maintaining the client relationship beyond the completion date

This course suitable for anyone who provides business or technical services to internal or external clients. No technical background is assumed, but participants will gain more from the course if they already have some experience in delivering service or advice. The course is particularly suitable for:

  • Enterprise Architects (Data, Applications, Technical)
  • IT Strategists / Planners
  • Senior Business and Systems Analysts
  • Service Team Managers
  • Internal Consultants / Advisors
  • External and Independent Consultants
  • Professional Specialists
  • Account Managers

Speaker Biography

Graeme Simsion

Graeme Simsion has over twenty five years experience as a consultant and CEO of a successful consultancy. After working as an internal consultant, managing a technical team, he founded Simsion Bowles and Associates in 1982. He built the consultancy to some seventy staff in three capital cities, selling to a US company in 1999, and then working as a business unit manager within that company for a further two years.

Since then he has continued to consult and to deliver education in Australia, North America and Europe, drawing on his experience to help consultancies and consulting teams to perform better. His one-day consulting skills workshop has regularly been voted "best presentation" at major conferences in the UK and the US, and he is the developer and presenter of the postgraduate course in Professional Consulting at the University of Melbourne.

Graeme's technical background includes business and information systems planning, business process design and data management. He is the author of two books on data modelling and holds postgraduate qualifications in both information systems and business administration and a popular presenter at industry and academic forums.

In-House Training
If you require a quote for running this course in-house, please contact us with the following details:

  • Subject matter and/or speaker required
  • Estimated number of delegates
  • Location (town, country)
  • Number of days required (if different from the public course)
  • Preferred date

Please contact:
Jeanette Hall
E-mail: jeanette.hall@irmuk.co.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8866 8366
Fax: +44 (0) 2036 277202

Speaker: Graeme Simsion
Graeme Simsion

Group Booking Discounts
If 5 delegates from the same organisation register at the same time for the same or various seminars, then the 5th delegate is free. We regret that this offer cannot be used in conjunction with the Series Discount.

Series Discounts
Attend more than one course in this series and you will be entitled to the following discounts:

  • 2nd course 10%
  • 3rd Course 15%
  • 4th Course 20%

IT Strategy & Management Series
The Corporate Strategy for IT
15-16 April 2010, London
23-24 November 2010, London

Successfully Aligning Business and IT
13-14 April 2010, London

Designing the Enterprise for Rapid Change
17 May 2010, London

Finance for IT Decision Makers
9-10 March 2010, London

Working with the Business: Consulting Skills for Data and IT Professionals
26-27 April 2010, London