by Brian Nordli
September 24, 2018

Variety is the spice of life. It’s also what gives West Monroe Partners’ tech team its edge.

The consulting firm works with a wide array of clients, building tech solutions that draw on a range of disciplines and technology stacks. This gives the team the flexibility to collaborate and tackle any challenge a client tosses at them, whether that’s devising scalable cybersecurity software or integrating a facial recognition API into a drone.

As tech disciplines like software, data analytics and cybersecurity become increasingly intertwined, that wide-ranging toolset is becoming more crucial than ever.

 

WMP office
Photography By Chris Murphy
WMP Lobby
PHotography by Chirs Murphy
WMP Patio
Photography By Chris Murphy

 

FOUNDED: 2002

EMPLOYEES: 967 (660 local)

WHAT THEY DO: West Monroe Partners is a consulting firm that uses technology to help clients reimagine and optimize their businesses.

WHERE THEY DO IT: Chicago

THE PERKS: Employees receive company stock and have flexible paid time off.

IDEAL CANDIDATE: Someone who is experienced in developing and driving technology innovation and integration for clients across a variety of industries.

 

Erik Air Guitar

Erik Portrait

 

Erik Brown, Senior Director, Technology Practice

Erik leads the company’s technology vision and strategy. His work involves assessing software, data and infrastructure needs, and their relevance to West Monroe Partners’ clients. 

BEYOND WORK: Erik enjoys playing piano and guitar.

 

What is the breakdown of your day?

On any given day, I may go from hopping on a plane to assess a potential acquisition for one client to helping our software engineering team solve a challenging architectural problem. Then I might finish the week interviewing some folks and hacking. I recently worked on a project that involved integrating facial recognition APIs with a drone so it can identify and find people in a room.

 

If you look at your tech team’s evolution from when you started in 2002 until today, what makes you proudest?

Our combination of breadth and depth. When we were smaller, the technology landscape was different, and we focused on a limited technology stack. In the last year, we’ve built solutions across several stacks and technologies based on what was sensible for our clients.

We’ve expanded to .NET, Java, Node.js, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, Mongo, AWS, Azure and R, just to name a few, and we continue to grow our skill set. Our team inhabits the polyglot mentality, and our clients appreciate that.

 

We’re able to provide more valuable insights to our clients if we have people who share a broad perspective.”

 

You specialize in both distributed architecture and data engineering. What advantages does having multiple areas of focus provide?

We’re able to provide more valuable insights to our clients if we have people who share a broad perspective. It also drives a significant amount of collaboration as technology continues to converge.

Disciplines like infrastructure, cybersecurity and software are far more intertwined now than they were five years ago. With distributed architecture, security at numerous edges must be designed differently, and infrastructure is more often scaled and deployed with software now rather than in a physical data center. It’s more critical now than ever that we collaborate across all our disciplines.

 

WMP Nitin at work

Nitin Portrait

 

Nitin Bhatia, Senior Manager, Technology

Nitin blends consulting skills with technical know-how to help clients execute strategic initiatives. This can mean delivering on a complex greenfield software development project, evaluating potential software purchases or improving processes with IT.

 

What is the breakdown of your day?

Every day is different. I’m currently managing a large software development effort. Any given day can involve whiteboarding with my client on potential solutions, working with my development team on ensuring we’ve got the right architecture in place, and helping out in development when needed.

 

My discovery process is simple: I take the time to understand the client’s business and their core issues.” 

 

How do you find out what your clients want from your tech team?

My discovery process is simple: I take the time to understand the client’s business and their core issues. Stepping into their shoes and understanding why they are looking for outside help sets you up for success. Once I feel like I can do this, then I can work with them to identify what they need.

 

How do you translate a client’s vision into a solution?

Before coming up with solutions, it’s important to ensure everyone on the team understands the client’s business and perspective. Once this is achieved, we tend to use collaborative sessions with both the client and our team to identify potential solutions or roadblocks. Being as open and transparent with the client as possible, without inundating them with technical terms, allows them to participate in the process and leads to the best solution.

 

Emily at work

Emily Portrait

 

Emily Dornburg, Senior Consultant in Technology, Solution Delivery

Emily focuses on agile project management for software engineering projects. Her team works with the quality assurance and DevOps teams to deliver technical solutions to companies.

BEYOND WORK: Emily loves to cook and dreams of attending culinary school one day.

 

What brought you to West Monroe Partners?

I started as an intern for West Monroe Partners on the technology team and fell in love with the firm and consulting. I have a background in athletics, so I enjoyed that we consistently work in teams and solve problems as a unit. Additionally, the social aspect and the people really make West Monroe the full package.

 

We’re brought into a client situation because they know what we can bring to the table.” 

 

How do you ensure both your team and the client are on the same page?

It’s important to ensure the team has an understanding of the larger goals we are trying to accomplish and is given a voice. That enables them to ask questions and produce the best product possible.

Client relationships are built with honesty and dialogue. We’re brought into a client situation because they know what we can bring to the table. It’s important for our teams to do the appropriate industry research while also bringing their own creativity. We combine that with constant conversations about customer needs and feedback to get the client on the same page.

 

What advantages does having two areas of discipline provide?

My major is in solution delivery — with an emphasis on agile projects — and my minor is in software engineering. This allows me to focus my time and energy on growing different skills across two areas of interest and spread my knowledge across practice areas. This is a flexibility that a technologist would not have had before.

 

Employee at work

Chuck Portrait

 

Chuck Kirchner, Senior Director of Technology, Cloud and Infrastructure

Chuck leads a team that solves difficult technical problems for clients involving strategy, planning, design and execution. He partners closely with the shared services teams, and works on cross-practice project teams.

BEYOND WORK: Chuck enjoys sharing his passion for music and sports with his family and friends.

 

What problems are you solving with technology?

We deliver end-to-end network, end-user computing and cloud solutions to our clients in industries like financial services, healthcare and energy and utilities. Our consulting includes strategy, planning, migrations and operational improvements. These may be delivered under compressed timeframes due to merger and acquisition activity, or as long-term migration planning and execution projects.

 

Exposure to multiple technologies helps our consultants be more effective.”

 

What opportunities does working with a wide array of clients provide for you?

There are a lot of firms that focus on one thing and do it well. We focus on solving unique business and industry problems with technology. This requires a more creative problem-solving approach. Exposure to multiple technologies helps our consultants be more effective.

 

What do you enjoy about your job?

The success of our firm depends on the strength of our people, their skills and their growth as leaders. I love working with our team and developing them. Supporting their development and watching them succeed energizes me.

 

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