11th April 2019
A Week in the Life of a (newish) Microgen Business Consultant
Jeremy Williams recently moved into our Professional Services team, the team responsible for ensuring new and existing customers are setup to get the best out of Microgen 5Series. Collaborating with our customers face-to-face, no matter where they are, is a key feature of how we partner for the best outcome. Read on to hear what a week in the life of a Business Consultant looks like when Jeremy headed to Malta back in February.
On a dark Monday morning I boarded a plane from Gatwick to Malta. My three-hour flight transformed a cold and wet runway to a sunny afternoon. Tropical trees welcomed me outside of the airport and I paused to comprehend the sudden reality shift. I got a taxi to the Waterfront Hotel – seat belts are not mandatory, but I recommend them.
The Waterfront Hotel looks onto the water – no surprise there! The receptionist handed me the key card to my room and a short elevator ride introduced me to the wonderful world of king-sized beds. I fell back onto my new bed, splayed my arms like a starfish and then noticed the balcony. I walked out to face two conflicting views; one of the peeling backstreets of Sliema, and one of a boat laden sea joining onto Manoel Island.
I ditched my bags and headed to the customer’s offices, which involved a ten-minute walk along narrow sidewalks and slow-moving tourists. Once inside, business and product discussions quickly pulled me back to the working world.
I left the customer site in the late afternoon, and having been awake since 2am I retired to the hotel with no intention of exploring the city. A hotel burger and flopping on a bed three times my size felt well-earned.
Tuesday started with a late-as-possible wake-up and the standard hotel breakfast. I used to work the breakfast shift at a hotel and one piece of advice I’ll give anyone is to avoid the scrambled egg. That stuff comes from powdered egg and, if it’s been sat out on the buffet trays for too long, it turns from a watery sponge to a crusty sponge.
It was the first day of “full-work” at the customer site, and after some IT issues on their end and ours, we got into the meat of the project issues. To give a broad idea, their issues revolved around duplication – it’s like creating a new Instagram for each photo you upload.
To end the day, I ran from the hotel to Valletta. Picture beige, sandy walls and the film “Aladdin” and you’re with me. The route had been promised as “flat”, which for the most part was true… apart from one hill that seemed to have no peak. It was worth the trip and made me forget about the return journey. It was a brief escape that allowed me to enjoy the perks of travelling for business – squeeze in all the adventure you can get.
I admit I was boring and ate in the hotel bar. Again. But I tried two cocktails, which had been on my bucket list for a while (if someone drinks it in a movie then I probably want to try it). Sleep, rinse and repeat.
On Wednesday I woke to regret the previous days run. I nourished myself with another cooked breakfast and walked to the customer site. The run had taught me a “secret”, yet obvious, alternative route to work. Instead of walking down the cramped streets and having to wrestle with the world and their children, I crossed the road. The other side of the road skirted the water and boasted spacious walkways with far less people – I did struggle with changing my route because I’m stubborn and didn’t want to admit I had missed the obvious.
A lot of the work that day involved demonstrating the power of 5Series and discussing the various options that the customer can use to fit the product to their operating model. It was great to introduce the customer to the benefits and use of the product. Seeing why a customer wants to do things a particular way, or how it can be improved, is a great part of my role.
In the evening, I visited an Italian restaurant overlooking the water. I recommend Piccolo Padre to anyone visiting Sliema. It sits on the edge of the island, with a balcony hanging over the water’s edge. In the evenings they have outdoor heaters on and I chose to sit with the waves chasing my feet. I’m a big fan of fish pizza (controversial I know) and they did a squid, octopus, muscle and prawn pizza that was divine. Meeting interesting people is another benefit of travelling. Sat on my own eating dinner and reading a book, a Canadian called across from a neighbouring table. We talked about travelling, and how he was retired and spent six month’s of the year spontaneously bouncing from country to country. It was interesting to see the Canadian friendliness mix with the British over-politeness.
The final day of the engagement focused advanced workflows and document generation, as well as cementing the data migration plan – a sense of accomplishment once we ticked those items off. Heading back to the hotel for dinner felt like the end of a long run and I could finally release the tension in my shoulders.
Following a hard but enjoyable week, I was eager to get home. I think the universe took this desire to get home, twisted it and then laughed because my seven-hour journey home took fourteen hours. I had hoped to get home before 6pm, but a combination of snow and jack-knifed lorries saw to that. It took nine-hours to get from Gatwick to Winchester.
No rest for the wicked, as they say, and I was back in the office documenting follow up and organising the next series of meetings with the customer.
As a relatively new consultant, I really enjoyed this overseas trip and the opportunity to experience a new country I hadn’t been to before. I met some interesting people and built great relationships with our customer. Yes, the work could have been done remotely, but it’s not nearly as productive. If you get the opportunity to travel for work – do it!