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Data Consulting: A Love Story

By Ashley McClendon

The consultant-client relationship can sometimes feel like an intense and complex love affair. Successful partnerships need to overcome obstacles. As with any relationship, at First San Francisco Partners we learn and grow by working with clients. And just like in a real love affair, you’ll kiss frogs before finding your prince (or princess)!

We approach data consulting relationally. Through this connection, we improve interpersonally and deliver services and solutions designed to exceed client expectations. When we understand our client’s goals and objectives clearly, we are better able to provide timely and accurate advice to help them make informed decisions.

Like new love, we study our clients and match our expertise to their needs to ensure we are an ideal match. We conduct a comprehensive assessment as a first step to establishing a relationship with our clients. With this information, we better understand their perspectives, circumstances, strengths and most significant needs to pair them with the right data expert who will maintain organizational balance and increase harmony in the partnership. Our assessment approach covers many client evaluations allowing us to solve clients’ most significant data governance challenges.

Our approach to working with clients is to powerfully engage with them and help them become more efficient at what they do best. Our team takes time to understand their existing processes and technology infrastructure to identify the most effective client-specific solutions.

Clients are the most knowledgeable about their organizations. We offer data expertise.

More Like a Marriage

Ashley McClendon, Business Analyst with FSFP

Ashley McClendon specializes in identifying an organization’s placement within its data journey and developing strategies and processes to move it forward. Ashley’s career is marked by the delivery of metrics-driven results, her knack for root-cause analysis and an in-depth master data management skillset across several business functions.

A lasting relationship requires more than ardor. It takes substance and the ability to overcome hurdles. (It also requires a lot of patience, understanding and occasionally a few extra boxes of chocolates.) Once in a relationship with a client, we authentically invest in them. Our clients often need our help but aren’t just looking to be told what to do. There’s a delicate balance between mediating the relationship as experts while engaging in the connection as participants.

To achieve meaningful impact through iterative approaches, we must balance being led by our clients and guiding them. Paying attention to the experience each of our clients brings helps us better understand what they need, and building a close bond allows us to understand and recognize gaps to fill. They are the most knowledgeable about their organizations. We offer data expertise. Taking extra care to respect our clients’ efforts in their organizations, while guiding them to resolution, is essential. As it is with marital love, each party plays a critical role.

We ensure long-term client success through our product and service handoffs. By engaging our clients through our partnership model, FSFP determines client involvement throughout a project. We allow room for change as relationships develop. Considering the unique characteristics of our clients helps us determine which leadership approach to use, not only for a seamless handover but also for everyone’s long-term success.

Relationships must be built with intention, stability and dedication, regardless of whether they are in love or business.

In It To Win It!

Our clients’ data represents their most valuable resource, so we take meticulous care to manage it with respect and responsiveness by establishing foundational understanding and trust. As a company dedicated to helping the most successful organizations turn information into value, we demonstrate our passion for this work through our commitment to caring for, informing and guiding our clients. Although our work may not always be glamorous or romantic, our clients can always count on our values — Focus, Integrity, Resourcefulness, Skillfulness and Teamwork. These serve as the cornerstone of everything we do and make us who we are.

Much like finding love for the first time, my FSFP consulting experience has improved, challenged and refined me. I like to think I found my professional soulmate. Like a marriage, we build something more robust than we could have achieved alone. Relationships must be built with intention, stability and dedication, regardless of whether they are in love or business.

Working as part of the FSFP community is an honor, and I look forward to collaborating with other like-minded companies for many years. If you’d like to learn more about our consulting expertise and the care and consideration our team puts into client relationships, start here.