Five Reasons I Left a 'Big 4' Consultancy to Join AHEAD
By: David Washo, Client Services Partner
As someone who recently spent twelve years at a ‘Big 4’ consultancy, I am frequently asked by colleagues and friends, “why did you decide to leave – and why now?” It’s a valid question. After all, career changes are hard. And after a 20+ year career (five in Industry, 16 In management consulting), the interview process becomes less about being qualified, and more about being a strategic fit from a technical and cultural perspective. Thankfully, in my case, the answer was fairly simple. As I became introduced to AHEAD through a series of interviews and conversations, I discovered an organization that was on the precipice of driving massive change at scale for the clients and communities they serve. The more I heard, the more I wanted to be part of the journey. In an effort to provide a precise answer to that question of “why,” I distilled my reasoning down to five key factors:
Clients are increasingly seeking advisors that not only leverage rich technical and strategic expertise, but enable and embrace a partnership that provides a no-nonsense approach to support their cloud and digital implementations. As I learned more about the story behind AHEAD, I found that this is exactly how they are differentiating their brand in the market. As organizations grapple with the influx of cloud tools and technologies available to them, they are discovering that purchasing decisions, rationalization of current technologies, and harnessing the power of digital innovation is more complex than ever before. To mitigate this complexity, they want an advisor not just to partner with strategically, but to see those strategic plans all the way through their technical implementation. As the depth and breadth of AHEAD’s cloud and digital capabilities became more apparent to me, I realized that they have the no-nonsense technical acumen that clients desperately seek – not just in the way of strategy, but also the technical chops to support delivery and implementation to truly drive value.
Ability to Design & Drive Customized Solutions
With over 200 strategic technology partnerships, AHEAD isn’t tied to any one specific platform or partner. Rather, they seek to guide clients through a fit-for-purpose approach to meet clients wherever they fall along their digital transformation journey. AHEAD takes great pride in designing tailored solutions based on where the client is at from a maturity and resource perspective (meeting IT and transformation budgets). Further, by not pushing any individual platform, software, or application over another, they demonstrate their unflinching commitment to the best interests of the client.
Deep Client Relationships
AHEAD prides itself on creating and maintaining client relationships that are grounded in trust while seeking to deliver experiences that exceed customer expectations. AHEAD understands that trusted relationships are of paramount importance, and it shows. Clients are never sold a project or initiative that could jeopardize the relationship – a message that was continuously communicated to me throughout the interview process. This really resonated with me because, above all else, clients are seeking trust from their partners, and trust is the cornerstone of any successful transformation.
A Genuine, Friendly Company Culture
Around 50% of AHEAD’s new hires are a result of employee referrals, and that has created a very genuine and collaborative culture where employees go out of their way to help one another. The company emphasizes cross-functional collaboration and communication while shunning away from corporate bureaucracy in support of employee development and learning. As I made my way through the interview process, it became very clear that AHEAD has built at team of considerate, helpful people that I would enjoy working alongside.
Growth Done Right
With record-setting YoY growth, I wanted to be part of an organization that was growing the right way – an enterprise that puts client needs first by ensuring that growth plans don’t jeopardize the quality of services that are delivered in the market. As I learned more, it was more than evident that doing things the right way would always be a cornerstone of AHEAD’s success and growth trajectory.