Monday, September 6, 2010

The benefits of working at a System Integrator/Consulting

The following question came into me some years ago at one of the forums I blog at in my industry.  It contains some industry jargon, but I thought the main points would be interesting to anyone in consulting.

The Question:

I am currently a principal data architect with a System Integrator (SI). I feel that being with a SI limits our involvement in client organizations' data architecture decisions. In turn, this limits our exposure to broader areas of data management, and subsequently the career path.

We are more driven by the client architecture team's decisions. I feel that if I been in the client organization, I probably would have had much more exposure and potential for growth in the data management field.

I feel beyond a certain role. Should I move out of the SI companies and shift to being part of the business organization's data management function?

The Answer:
Hello, and thanks for your question about data architect careers. System integrators do a variety of things for their clients -- from strategy through implementation and production. I certainly believe that there is no better position than a strategy consultant for contributing to important data architecture decisions at client organizations. You are probably part of implementation teams and yes, by then, many broader decisions have been made. You should always feel free to contribute your ideas for change and progress to your project leaders and clients. More importantly, with a System Integrator, you should be getting exposure to and understanding how and why decisions are made in a variety of environments, which is the best experience for enhancing your credibility, which will enable you to contribute to client decisions. In my experience, credibility is the number one factor that will enable you to contribute to decisions, not your organization or title. Be sure to work that end of the spectrum.

So, in general, looking at SI organizations versus client organizations, I disagree that being with a client organization is better for your goals.

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