A passion for computer science and a degree in Computer Science Engineering. How did your career as a consultant begin?
At the end of my university career I realised that I was more interested in designing ad hoc solutions than in developing software.
I first had an opportunity in Iconsulting, initially as a consultant, working on developing projects in close contact with the client - writing the code and analysing the requirements - and then by increasing my training at a managerial level.
Datawarehouse, Business Intelligence, Performance Management. Apart from acronyms, what does a company like Iconsulting do?
We deal with analytical information systems, sales reports and process monitoring. We focus on corporate results.
At the moment, we are investing a great deal in Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning. The human eye is no longer sufficient to interpret data dynamics, and therefore we analyse the same information through specifically designed algorithms.
Customers often hold a large amount of data in their systems and we help to transform them into something really useful for their businesses. For example, we "re-hash" these data at an operational level to provide the company with useful information for targeted commercial and marketing initiatives.
Speaking of Artificial Intelligence, what are the main difficulties you come up against in your relationship with clients?
In this field, the market is not yet mature and it is not easy to appear credible in the eyes of the customer.
There are theories and algorithms to be applied, but there are no "ready-made" solutions.
In any case, at a more macro level, the most critical aspect of a relationship is to maintain a long-term balance between quality, time and costs. Long-standing customers always expect to receive the same quality at a lower price, but this is not possible for obvious reasons.
Help us to understand your role better. How is your working day divided?
I spend half the time working on the client’s account to take stock of the work in progress and to line up new projects. 30% is spent keeping updated, attending courses and seminars and finding new solutions and new customers.
Setting up a “new business” is a very lengthy job during which both the customer and I "sniff" each other out. The remaining 20% is dedicated to managing my 25-strong team and their careers. Our company philosophy is strongly based on sharing managerial choices, involving even the most junior figures. Leadership vs authority.
Speaking of young people. For a new IT graduate, what is the advantage of choosing the consultancy field rather than an individual company?
Consulting allows you to see and experience many different businesses, situations, challenges and points of view.
A wealth of experience and knowledge that it is impossible to acquire with the same strength and speed in an individual company. But not everyone has a feel for this. It takes a great deal of flexibility and mental agility to be able to change from one context to another quickly.