by Craig Park, FSMPS, Assoc. AIA, Principal Consultant, The Sextant Group
I was reading Joseph Campbell recently and was reminded of the power of archetype, the pure forms which embody fundamental characteristics we choose to emulate. In the technology sector — where The Sextant Group excels — there was a time, not that long ago, that technology expertise was viewed with the mystical imprimatur of a “Wizard.” The magic of electronics (seemingly so simple to the expert) was obliviously difficult for the uninitiated to fully grasp. This gave the technology consultant an aura of importance that created a barrier to entry to those trying to compete in the field.
Times change. Thanks to the ubiquity of personal communications, technology that was once so mysterious just a few years ago (e.g., 3D digital imaging, touch-screen controls, wireless connectivity, smart devices, etc.) is so commonplace today that client expectations have been raised, expecting more for less, while the implementation at the enterprise level has actually become much more complex. We hear our clients say, “I can do that on my tablet, in my car, or in my house, so why can’t I do that in my office?” It’s the “that” in their perception, which needs translation.
What once was a relatively simple matrix of components and connections is now a very complicated database of fields and records, interconnected and interoperable, allowing information to be accessed, disseminated, displayed, and modified in real time by individuals who may be many miles or even time zones apart, on devices that span hand-held to fully spatially-integrated.
Which leads to the archetype of the “Warrior.” For technology consultants to provide real value, a new paradigm has been established. It is no longer enough for us to know the latest model of the latest widget (though you have to know that, too…see below). If we are to successfully meet each client’s project needs, it is mandatory we understand the expectations of the client’s business or organizational processes the technology is supporting, and also to be able to demonstrate measurable ROI on the investment for both our service and the technology solutions we purport. Warriors defend “truth.” It takes a warrior’s mentality to help our clients leverage and optimize their technology investment to win in the competitive environment of the “new normal” economy.
And finally, Widgets. From iPhones to iPads, from flat-screens to touch-screens, from software-as-service to hardware-as-DSP, almost any new technology invigorates the imagination. As consultants, we help our clients take the speculation and dream of “what if” into the reality and realm of “how now.” The client with foresight sees the potential and wants it today, even when the widget may not yet be fully realized.
As technology consultants we serve as the trusted advisor: cautioning patience and beneficial application, recommending the “the responsible minimum” investment (as once described by a Silicon Valley facilities executive). We’re not the Mad Scientist, willing to experiment on the client’s dime to see what that widget just might do, because, after all, it’s not our money.
Embodying the archetypes of the Wizard and Warrior helps our clients choose the right advice. As evidenced by our continual growth and long-term relationships, those who bring the wisdom of the wizardry, the truth of the warrior, and the creative application of the right widgets, are the trusted advisor clients seek out, recommend, and refer.
In this new marketplace — one that will be known by the reality that expenditures of any kind will be checked and rechecked against measurable value — coming to our client relationships, opportunities, or engagements with anything else but a highly defensible value proposition leaves them unprepared. Instead, we strive to position them ready for the future, today. We know our truth, but we strive to know our customer’s truth better.
About the Author
Craig Park FSMPS, Assoc. AIA, is a principal with The Sextant Group, and is based in Omaha, Nebraska. Trained as an architect, Craig is an award-winning thought leader in the design of technology-enabled collaborative and communication environments. He has practiced as an audiovisual consultant for more than 35 years on more than 400 projects for clients in healthcare, education, corporate and government.