Providing Information Technology Consulting Services to Public and Private Industry
Source: CIO Bulletin; "50 Most Innovative Companies to Watch 2021"
(CIO Bulletin, Sep. 3, 2021)
Success in today’s information technology environment requires an intelligent IT strategy and infrastructure. A strategic framework reduces the inconsistencies and communication barriers inherent in an organization’s structure and operations, establishing crossfunctional and interpersonal communications.
Dfuse Technologies is a worldclass consultancy with nationwide footprints in 16+ states across private and public sectors and numerous government agencies. We interviewed Jeff Bertman, Dfuse’s CTO & COO, to know more about the company and its services. Here are a few excerpts from the interview
Business and technology consultants do not come with guarantees, so there is always a possibility that you might not achieve the results you had planned when you had hired them, irrespective of the cost. How can businesses overcome this uncertainty?
A short answer here is to hire people based on How they work, not just What they know. The details are simple but multi-faceted. When interviewing, this means asking people to solve problems, determine root causes, ask for mitigations, and of course, ask about approaches to build something. For example, don’t just ask textbook questions like what does the DENSE_RANK() function do in Python or SQL, or what purposes are served by Amazon AWS Lambda, Microsoft. Azure Functions, or Google Cloud Functions. Ask which components and algorithm(s) would efficiently accomplish a specific use case, and why. Also ask soft skill questions about managing time, dealing with unexpected situations and challenging people, etc.
References from proven achievers in your business circles are generally a fantastic source of finding more achievers. But don’t take the candidate for granted. Even employee referrals should be thoroughly interviewed. And there’s nothing wrong with tactfully interviewing existing employees when they want to learn and grow outside their comfort zone. So yes, interviews are a tool, not just a process. One other thing I’ll add here is when you find good people, retain retain retain them. For small organizations, that seems easy since you can provide raises beyond the normal grade or band level system imposed by many large companies. But there is a lot more to retention than money. At Dfuse, we have a multi-pronged approach to employee retention and cultivation.
Meet the Leaders
Jeff Bertman, CTO & COO, Dfuse Technologies
Jeffrey Bertman is an advanced technology executive with heavy business expertise and significant success stories in small to huge Fortune 100/1000 and government organizations. He also serves as Lead Data Scientist/ Engineer for Dfuse Technologies, a world-class consultancy with nationwide footprints in 16+ states across private and public sectors. Mr. Bertman is a popular speaker and author on a wide range of technical, business, and management topics. He leverages leading-edge technologies to deliver high yield, enduring success stories that actualize real-world improvement in market share, revenue, profit, quality, security, efficiencies, effectiveness, and more.
Sonny Suri, CEO & Founder, Dfuse Technologies
Sonny Suri is Dfuse’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder. He brings more than 23 years of consulting industry leadership, technology expertise, and executive management experience to his role with the company. Mr. Suri is responsible for leading all corporate, business, and client delivery operations and developing and executing Dfuse’s long-term strategy for growth. He has had a long and successful career delivering technology-focused consulting services to Fortune 500 companies and the Federal Government.
What makes Dfuse Technologies different from others in the space of business and technology consulting?
Being different in a sea of thousands is challenging. Dfuse’s ranks of #84 and #107 in INC 5000’s IT Services and Development for 2019 and 2020 (respectively) are signs that our differentiators are effective. To get there, we employ the heart of your question: we blend business and technology in a triangulated fashion. Dfuse treats business as the end game in our “Value-Scape” pyramid that naturally puts Business Goals at the top. Our solutioning is driven from top-down business goals, OKRs, and KPIs. But we formulate, cost, and validate from the bottom up. Meeting in the middle, like the Golden Railroad Spike so to speak, helps ensure our plans and timelines are consistently accurate.
Optimizing this “Big Middle” is essential to avoiding typical syndromes such as “the last 10% of a project is 90% of the work.” We employ key industry standards juxtaposed with novel techniques we have invented and proven successful in small to huge organizations. For example, in data science projects we leverage “SEAL,” our Scalable Enterprise Analytics Lifecycle. And our ROI Ascendancy Model is distinctively effective at maximizing ROI in Big Data environments. Dfuse exercises simple innovations in building and sustaining high quality, performant, secure, cost-effective solutions that endure for many years.
Why are your solutions relevant in today’s age? Could you give us some context?
The first thing that comes to mind here is that we don’t just know technology at Dfuse – we help shape it. And we excel in predicting which technologies will disrupt and endure, not just splash. For example, to help maximize our clients’ ROI and maintainability, we recognized that the leading vendors in one technical domain would eventually face architectural limits despite their recent booming successes. So we approached technology vendors in a neighboring space and explained how they could attain a whole new market via targeted expansion. This expedites our customer missions while trimming costs since, in this case, a universal tool is more effective than integrating two disparate tools.
Additionally, we “eat our own dog food” at Dfuse. For example, the Preemptive Agile Roadmapping (PAR) approach we devised for clientele is also used internally. Part of this involves coupling roadmaps and associated OKRs/ KPIs for Business, Technology, and Product Development. We are masters at eliminating technical debt while maximizing outcomes.
Strategic business consulting and planning is necessary for a competitive advantage over your competition. How do you help businesses stay ahead of the curve?
Two Dfuse innovations stand out for this question. One example with years of success stories behind it is our Growth Opportunities & Actualization Lifecycle, slated to brand as “GOAL” upon debut at Data Con 2021. Starting with creative brainstorming, GOAL narrows down the most lucrative ideas, compares and contrasts with industry competition, complementary solutions, and your enterprise repository, which iteratively grows in value. It then translates the roughage into real solutions to attain your organization’s key objectives and measurable goals – along with simple ways to ensure “by design” SLAs such as scalability, reliability, quality, security, and interoperability. Success sustainment is a core tenet of GOAL, although it also accommodates one-off silver bullets. The GOAL dashboard features at-a-glance panes for focal points such as cost-benefit, value proposition, SWOT, and blockers.
Another callout is our PAR roadmapping approach mentioned earlier. Perhaps the real secret sauce, however, is that Dfuse knows keenly what’s over and under the hood. This allows us to converge from the bottom up on top-down business plans.
Tell us about the company’s work culture. How do you provide value to your employees at the workplace?
Dfuse cultivates a cohesive work culture even though our geography spans 16+ states and many sites are government-owned facilities. We also serve many Fortune 100/1000 and other companies where people work at client sites or remotely, even for projects we manage.
One cultural cornerstone focuses on a triple-pronged “Success” paradigm that bolsters our people, clientele, and Dfuse as a company. Our staff prospers from the combination of our customers’ success plus their own career plans and kudos from coworkers of all kinds. People are encouraged to recognize each other via credo badges, such as “Be the Boss,” “Be the Solution,” “Above and Beyond,” “Executional Excellence,” and more. These compelling callouts foster camaraderie that cascades across workgroups.
During our monthly syncups, employees highlight accomplishments, challenges, plans, sharing opportunities, etc. We triangulate this with customer feedback. These and other practices are integral to our Employee Retention program, which currently yields a 96% annual retention rate. This, in turn, improves workforce stability, bringing us back to what is suitable for our clients, and therefore good for Dfuse overall.
How have you innovated during these times COVID-19 pandemic? How has the pandemic affected the company?
“Necessity is the Mother of Invention” as a common expression surfaced big time during this pandemic. Thankfully we already had the most obvious bases covered in Dfuse, such as remote work and communications. We trained more people on effective remote collaboration tools and practices. Additionally, we amped up and socialized our training program, including personal (remote) mentoring and tutoring. This has allowed us to fill some gaps in the field by increasing the value of Dfuse’s strongest asset: our people. One of our more creative initiatives involved increasing client touchpoints to compensate for reduced face-to-face contact. Augmenting our partnering and reseller programs helped a lot here.
How do you source the right talents to maintain the quality of your services?
“People, Processes, and Technology” is a common, multi-word mantra in our business. While hyperautomation is growing in many industries, humans remain as primary innovators and builders. Since people are so integral in our organization, we address Talent Acquisition from various angles: sourcing, recruiting, socializing, nurturing, and retention. We apply common and not-so-common best practices.
For example, in addition to sourcing previously unknown talent and recruiting people with targeted skills, we find a large part of our staff through warm relationships – via employee references and industry colleagues, as well as forums where achievers and knowledge-hungry enthusiasts participate. Then we nurture our people through learning, career planning, and guidance. Finally, we “retain retain retain,” which is a win for our staff, and our clientele,… and for Dfuse as a fulcrum. We place our company last in the Triple Win paragon to reflect an old adage we “fuse” into every day at Dfuse: “Take care of the means and the ends will take care of themselves.” I’ll just add that the means must be managed via solid road mapping and ethics.