Chris ConwayChris Conway
Chief Architect, Quantiv

Over the years, I’ve been involved in many meetings between customers and suppliers.

Originally, this was on the supply side, acting for a company that was providing a product.

Now, I work more on the demand side, with my usual role being akin to a client adviser. It means I sit between the customer and the supplier.

Whose side are you on?

At the end of a recent meeting, a supplier asked me the insightful question, ‘Whose side are you on?’

I’d like to think this was because he was surprised by the line I’d been taking, because although sponsored by the client, I was still defending an approach taken by the supplier.

I could claim this was just a double bluff, i.e. pretending to be on the supplier’s side so they’d be more likely to accept the client’s wishes if expressed by me.

But in truth I was taking a different, and oddly easier, line: being loyal to the project.

You may see this as unexpected, unconventional, or simply lazy, but I’d argue it’s the more natural course to take.

It’s an approach that isn’t about rushing or being pushy, controlling, inflexible or political. Instead, it’s about focusing on the success of the whole project.

And while it may initially appear to be a difficult balancing act, it’s actually an easier path to tread than concentrating on the outcome for just the client or the supplier alone.

What’s behind this method?

Working in this way means decisions can’t be skewed by personalities, timescales or ‘agendas’. Instead, decisions are based on goals and desired outcomes.

But this is only possible if there’s some rationale to the approach, besides just convenience and honesty. It must be more than a black art, magic trick or bland marketing; there must be some science behind it too.

As a technique, business analysis can often suffer from these problems. It comes across as a vague activity designed to postpone any meaningful decision or change, while giving the impression of action.

‘We need to carry out a review of the business’ or ‘we’ll know more after an operational assessment’ are answers you might hear to any complex organisational problem. They suggest an idea of at least doing something but without really specifying what might be expected to be found, done or achieved.

Without a basis on which to carry out a review or assessment, such activities can be meaningless, or more generously, hit and miss. And even if such a basis exists, systems need to be available to ensure appropriate changes can be developed to support any decisions. Otherwise, conclusions will understandably still be seen as irrelevant or at best unreliable.

The right method can help provide that basis and dispel some of this fuzziness. It can help clearly identify the sorts of data that could be useful in establishing operational performance and the points at which it would be most useful.

And a good IT service can support the approach by providing a simple and accessible way to implement and monitor any changes identified by the analysis.

Help with identifying key information

Quantiv’s NumberWorks method and NumberCloud platform are ideal for carrying out these roles. They help formalise analysis by concentrating on identifying the information most critical to your organisation’s operations. Plus, they provide a way to collect this information, and to expose it both as reports to company leaders and well-formed data for any later processing.

By using these services, evidence can be provided to show why particular behaviour is in the best interests of the project, instead of relying on vague intuition.

And changes can be implemented – without the need to worry about ‘taking sides’.

To find out more, call our team on 0161 927 4000 or email: