At BlueGranite, our fundamental business strategy is simple: to build a world class consulting organization that delivers meaningful business impact for our clients through data & analytics solutions. Each of the three primary components of that strategy has gone through limited changes over the years, but they describe a consistent and fundamental guiding light for how we operate.

Discussions about strategy happen at all levels, and strategy factors into many tactical discussions and lower level decisions as a crucial reference point.  We refine and remain true to our strategy by constantly asking the question “Why does this matter?”.  We believe it’s easy for companies these days to have artfully written, inspirational vision statements, strategies, ideas, and values.  However, we ask ourselves – “Why does this matter?” What does it mean in translation to day to day activities and decisions?

BlueGranite Annual Staff Retreat Oct 2018

We’ll start with world class consulting organization – it sounds good, right? But why does it matter? What steps do we take to achieve it?  For us, it is reflected in our talent and in our culture.  We value highly talented and diverse team members who are interested in contributing to the organization in a variety of ways, and who feel at home in a culture that is built on treating each other like responsible, professional adults. This means we reduce management overhead, encourage flexible working arrangements and hours (with a results-oriented work environment), and enable every employee to learn about all elements of the business, and to add their voices and efforts into the activities that they feel passionate about.

As we recruit new team members, we make a commitment to our employees that we will bring on only the highest caliber of people and provide them the types of opportunities that are the best mix of challenging and exciting.  We will encourage their growth and development in a variety of ways, but ultimately in a dynamic, self-directed manner that does not attempt to set and enforce narrow job descriptions or limitations on exploring strategic functions and roles across the business.  We encourage clarity and accountability from the team and to the team, from all levels of the organization.

BlueGranite Day Of Service in Kalamazoo, MI

We combine our individual talents with our team spirit and culture, and we employ it to deliver meaningful business impact for our clients.  We take our cultural belief of asking “Why?” and use that philosophy when approaching client engagements.  Although our team brings to bear considerable technological expertise, we decline to pursue work for the sake of work, or for the sake of technology.  We feel obliged to ask our clients “Why does this matter? If we accomplish this task – capture this data, generate this analysis – what does it change for you and your business?  Why would you pursue this effort?”

This philosophy, in turn, forces us to focus on the solutions we deliver in a way that has the best chance of realizing the potential of technology, regardless of the domain our client operates within.  While some technology service providers may be happy to take an order and check a box (and bill the hour and earn the dollar), our team is more likely to think like an MBA and thought leader than a heads-down technician, and that means we want to understand, track, and measure the successful delivery of business value resulting from the solutions that we build.

BlueGranite Staff Retreat Oct 2018And finally, we build our team and deliver our services to customers within the technology domain of data and analytics solutions.  This degree of focus allows us to be more singular in purpose across the internal functions of our business – every single team member, regardless of role or background, understands the domain within which we operate and brings their own specialized talents to bear.  This means that our marketing, human resources, and business development roles are not disconnected from the core concepts and value that our delivery team helps realize for our clients.

We execute on our clients’ strategy across geographies, industries, and business departments without having to reduce the level at which we communicate – and all decisions have a better shot at being understood on their individual merits rather than the more common business tactic of comparing in terms of margin or dollars. We are increasingly focused on the primary arena of innovation for data and analytics – the cloud – where the expansion of possibilities has exploded into machine learning and artificial intelligence.  We think you’d be hard-pressed to pick a more dynamic and exciting domain!

Day of Service Kalamazoo

great-place-to-work-company-badge-2019Taken as a whole, our strategy has refined over time; the details of our culture, and the backdrop of technology in particular, have matured with us and made us a Great Place To Work.  The primary elements have remained constant.  Through it all, we seek to maintain transparency and accountability.  During all-hands staff meetings and individual one-on-one check-ins, we share performance numbers, we talk about our successes, and we explore our failures so we can all learn.

We encourage all team members to ask “Why does this matter?” when they hear something that sounds good, but doesn’t feel totally thought out, or doesn’t have a clear path or action. We measure and share across many forums – weekly all-hands meetings, annual staff retreats, team-wide dashboards, and individual conversations. And lastly, we perpetually reserve the right to get smarter and to learn new things.

We’re excited to be certified as a Great Place To Work for 2019 – our third year in a row – and we believe that by adhering to our strategy, we will continue on this path into the future.