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Day in the life of a Solutions Consultant

Ian RossWriting a Blog! Not what a solution consultant normally does, and somewhat challenging in deciding what to write about. For someone who spends a considerable part of their professional life completing documents for clients, whether these are scoping document, needs statements, business reviews or implementation plans, you could be excused for thinking it would be fairly easy, but nothing could be further from the truth.

But what is it that is so challenging?

  • What should that subject be?
  • What detail should it contain?
  • Do I stick to the job role or write about me?
  • How is it really different from any of the aforementioned documents?
  • WHY IS IT SO HARD?

I guess the best approach should be to relax and attempt to answer these questions in the hope that you, the reader, will get some sense of what is involved in my ‘normal’ working day.

Normal?

That’s the first misnomer used to describe any of my days as no one day is ever the same as the next, and each with its own challenges. I guess that’s the first thing I enjoy about my job. There is no typical day, and certainly no room for getting complacent.

Each client I visit is a different personality with a lot to teach me, not least of which is their business. How do they approach their finances, who do they report to with what, when and why? To paint a picture of this I can proudly say I have worked with a mosaic of different clients including:

  • A South African Crisis Management company
  • A well-known delivery company on the beautiful island of Jersey
  • A large operatic society based in the capital of Wales
  • Charities
  • Construction companies
  • Manufacturing plants
  • High end makeup retailers
  • Gymnasiums.

I get to travel a lot and stay in some picturesque locations, but it’s not all postcards and paintings! Just as often the location may be a far from glamourous trading estate in the middle of one concrete jungle or another. However none of this is really describing what I actually do.

Mostly my day involves getting up at various times, depending on my journey, getting dressed in a suit and tie and making sure I present myself in a professional and tidy manner. I check I have all the equipment I will need for that day, laptop, iPad etc. (of course I would like to say I have prepared this the day before but not always possible). I get in my car, set the sat nav with the correct destination, and begin my journey.

On arrival at my destination I will reach the reception, this can be anything from a phone with a list of key numbers, to a Receptionist that directs me to sign in on the smart tablet designated just for this (there have been occasions when I am expected to provide a photo on entry, another reason to ensure I look my best). Once I have signed in I will be directed to an office or meeting room where I will spend my day discussing my clients requirements, questioning their needs, investigating their challenges and understanding what they and their business do, but most importantly LISTENING. And herein lies the most important element of my job. LISTENING. It is essential that I not only learn what my clients do, but I understand what they do, and just as importantly why they do it.

At the end of a long day of learning, teaching, enquiring, explaining, questioning, answering… LISTENING, I will drive away with my brain full of everything I have taken in, all I have achieved that day, and the satisfaction that I have helped my client on another step along their journey of getting the most out of their systems and solutions to help them reach their ultimate goal of improving their business.

Author: Ian Ross, 22 February 2015 

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