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BUSINESS CONSULTING: Another Gold Achievement for UMT

 



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During a gala dinner at the Microsoft Partner Summit in Durban recently, UMT Consulting SA received the award for Microsoft Partner of the Year in the Project and Portfolio Management category. This award is a crowning achievement in a year which also saw UMT Consulting SA become the first company in Africa and Middle East to achieve the new Gold competency for Project and Portfolio Management, one of only a handful of companies worldwide that has achieved this.

UMT Consulting South Africa is one of a handful of partners worldwide to achieve the Gold competency for Project and Portfolio Management, and was the first in Middle East and Africa to achieve this excellent accomplishment. Furthermore, UMT Consulting SA leveraged innovative methods to let customers realise the value of productivity and it consistently invests in the skills of its consultants and grows business in existing accounts.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank our staff, our customers, prospective customers, and our partners for their support, without which these achievements would not have been possible. We realise that after winning an award like this, the bar is raised in terms of the level of service expected by our customers and partners, and we will do our utmost to exceed their expectations,” said UMT Consulting SA managing director Dries van der Colff.

According to their submission, the single most important differentiator between UMT Consulting SA and its peers amongst local Microsoft partners, is that it actually executes on the universally-accepted notion that technology is one of the means to the end of achieving PPPM process excellence at customers, it is not the end in itself.

“We consider ourselves and not as an IT company, but as a PPPM consulting company with a strong technical competence. To us, Project Server, SharePoint and Office are not shining gadgets that we can use to dazzle customers with features, clever development tricks and overly emphasising the architectural complexities. To us and our customers, these systems are business tools which form part of their strategies to achieve business aims,” he explains.

UMT – Business Consulting


Van der Colff says a large part of their business is around business consulting, mainly focused on aspects of PPPM services. “We are therefore in an excellent position to steer customers away from misconceptions around Project Server in isolation, being a solution to PPPM shortcomings, and the ‘build and they will come’ misconception commonly found around SharePoint implementations.”

“By helping customers addressing shortfalls in their processes, organisation and skill levels, we ensure that that once the Microsoft technologies are implemented at customers, the implementation is not seen as a failure as commonly happens when PPPM technologies are implemented without adequately addressing the PPPM business aspects.”

“More importantly, being a business-focused company, does not mean we neglect the supporting technologies and innovative products required to fill specific business needs. Our approach to new product development is to concentrate on ‘light weight’ add-ons on top of Microsoft platforms. We whole-heartedly support the Microsoft strategy around ‘Composites’, with obvious advantages regarding implementation risk, maintenance and ease of upgrades,” he adds.

“How does innovation and the use of technology drive our approach to research, development, sales, marketing and deployment? Although we emphasise business processes, governance, and their skills when engaging with customers, we also emphasise the crucial role of technology to facilitate and enforce the processes and governance, and we are constantly developing innovative ideas around technology-driven solutions.”

Customer is King with UMT


UMT Consulting SA encourages its staff to be on the lookout for repeated customer requirements, and gaps in the “vanilla” Microsoft products. Whenever such an opportunity is identified, it evaluates it against criteria such as potential revenue, cost and duration of development, and whether something similar already exists in the market. By recognising repeating patterns in customer requirements, and packaging solutions to those requirements into products, UMT Consulting SA reduces cost and implementation risk to the customer, while increasing revenue.

It pioneered the concept of a pre-configured solution on Project Server in South Africa, making it affordable and for smaller organisations to implement Project Server, and over the years UMT Consulting SA has continuously developed and approved the concept. The latest generation “Fusion” stack was built on 2010 technologies, and includes several options around various customer requirements. The success of this approach can be seen in that all of its competitors have imitated it at some stage.

Since mid-2010, UMT Consulting SA has deployed more than 12 Project Server 2010 deployments within South Africa, Africa and the Middle East. The Company has a formal deployment process, based on more than 10 years of experience in deploying PPPM solutions. Not only does it follow this process during implementations, it continuously improves it with lessons learned from implementations. This approach has proven itself invaluable in ensuring repeatability, and that lessons learned from earlier implementations are incorporated into each new implementation.

All projects deployed are formally evaluated with the customer after project completion, and relevant feedback is incorporated into the deployment methodology, ensuring that the methodology is continuously enhanced, staying up to speed with changing customer needs, as times change.

“Within our support process, every call is measured for customer satisfaction; each time a call has been resolved and closed. This UMT feedback is shared with the consultants, who worked on the call, and the support manager, to ensure that any items on which we can improve is managed accordingly in future,” he concludes.

 
 
 
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