January 4th is a tough day to go back to work. Semphonic closes for the week between Christmas and New Years and while I don’t exactly stop working I do take it quite a bit easier – especially on the alarm clock front. But this year there was a nice, belated stocking stuffer for all of us at Semphonic– Greg Dowling started his new life as a Semphonic VP, Head of New York Office and unofficial leader of our Mobile Practice. This is a huge step forward for our practice and it made rolling out of bed in the January dark quite a bit easier!
We started the New Year with several days of all day internal management team meetings – so the whole executive team was on hand in Novato to welcome Greg and talk about our plans for this year. There is so much going on that I don’t know how I’m going to keep up. But I don’t think anything is more important or more exciting than adding Greg to our practice.
I’ve known Greg for quite a while – back to his days as an Analyst for Jupiter. He is, in many ways, the perfect fit for Semphonic.
We’re a hands-on consultancy that focuses on actually doing web analytics for large enterprise. Greg has spent the last couple of years building a large, enterprise-wide analytics team for Nokia. He’s a real practitioner and an experienced large-enterprise manager. He knows what it’s like, first hand, to create a sophisticated analytics team inside an organization.
Greg has the consulting angle covered too. He was Vice President of Strategy & Analysis for Digitas where he led their Web analytics capability supporting clients such as Delta, Kraft, Heineken, and Time Warner Cable.
As our practice has evolved and grown, we’ve also become increasingly concerned with helping our clients do web analytics right and deepening our own practice understanding. This broader, strategic practice is closely tied to our hands-on consulting – the two are inseparable and driven by each other. We want our strategic thinking to be grounded in our practical experience and we want it to go beyond that practical experience in much the same way that a good scientist builds deeper, more explanatory theories from simpler, more observational hypotheses. Greg’s background as an Analyst helps him provide that broader industry perspective flavored with the experience of what’s it like to be doing or managing the work.
I think it’s going to be just great having him on our team. You can read Greg's thoughts about this at http://dowling.typepad.com/dowling/2010/01/a-new-beginning.html.
So that’s Greg, and while he fits perfectly into the business as usual of Semphonic, he’s also going to change some aspects of our practice. First, we’re going to grow a New York office around him. We have quite a few clients in New York right now (including our largest single client), and they are handled by people in Washington and Boston. That’s never made a lot of sense, but it just kind of happened that way because of the people we had and where they wanted to live.
We’ve found that having an office in a city makes a significant difference. We’ve built up a pretty substantial office in Boston around Paul and we’re building a strong presence in DC around Phil. That local, hands-on, in the community, and there for the client presence really does matter. New York has long been number one on our list of cities to cover and having Greg in New York to build an office around is icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.
Finally, we’re going to take advantage of Greg’s deep experience with mobile strategy and measurement. We have several significant practice efforts this year: data warehousing, application measurement, open-source universal tagging and mobile strategy and measurement. Each is, I think, vitally important in today’s enterprise web analytics world.
In our work with Nokia and other clients over the past two years, we’ve seen first-hand the many challenges with mobile measurement. But we’ve also seen that quite a few of our clients are struggling with more basic issues with mobile – what to do, how to get started, how to balance apps v. web, and which technologies to invest in. Greg has deep insight into both the problems and opportunities around mobile and one of his first tasks with Semphonic is to build out a more formal mobile offering. We’re already deep into these discussions and I expect that I’ll be talking about this quite a bit more in the weeks to come.
I’d also like to welcome Naydja Bell who started late last year in our D.C. office, and Wes Yee and Ray Piccolotti both brand new to our San Francisco team. Naydja will be providing more analysis, project management and reporting support to Phil in D.C. Wes is going to be helping with our marketing, website, press, etc. And Ray deepens our technical staff – especially around mobile development and measurement integration.A very full stocking indeed!