It has been just over a decade since Patrick Siconolfi and Phil Chen started questioning the way traditional data consulting was done – and realized they could transform how companies look at data and analytics.
The pair had just completed a large data project for Cryptologic, an online gaming software developer (now part of The Stars Group), when they noticed a large proportion of data and analytics providers believed that implementing new technologies could solve their clients’ problems, rather than taking the time to truly understand and align to the clients’ business needs and priorities first.
Together they launched Gensquared Inc. in 2010, a modern boutique consulting firm that’s challenging the status quo of how data and analytics initiatives are traditionally delivered.
“At the time, the ability to deliver data and analytics in a meaningful way to the business was broken,” says Mr. Siconolfi, Gensquared’s chief executive officer. “Our approach is unique because we take a business-centric approach, rather than a technology-first approach to solving large data and analytics problems.”
Growth was conservative in the early days for Gensquared, which Mr. Siconolfi says was intentional. For the first year, the two co-founders were the only employees, which allowed them to build the company they envisioned, one that would be different than typical consulting firms. To do this, they needed to make their own decisions, which is why they never took on outside funding or loans. The approach also enabled them to spend time refining processes so they could be prepared to scale in the future.
“When you look at consulting in general, it is usually diametrically opposed to that because, as a consulting company, you are trying to maximize the number of people you can put on a project,” Mr. Siconolfi says. “We were actually doing the opposite, minimizing upfront costs for the customer and still maximizing the value of what we were delivering. That helped us lay a pretty strong foundation to now be able to grow the business much more rapidly.”
The strategy started paying dividends in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic tested the strength of Gensquared’s business model.
“When the pandemic hit, we started looking at contingency plans, Mr. Siconolfi says. “We did have a couple of customers who had to shut down and we started expecting the worst, but we’ve been hiring like mad for the past year and a half.”
The company’s headcount has tripled since the start of the pandemic, growing from 15 employees in early 2020 to 45 as of mid-2021. As the pandemic forced traditional brick-and-mortar businesses to focus more on their digital assets, Gensquared landed several new contracts, including large corporations such as Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. and Hudson’s Bay Co.
Despite having a small marketing and sales team until 2020, Gensquared’s annual revenues are on track to double for a third consecutive year in 2021. As the rapid digital transformation of the economy continues, Mr. Siconolfi doesn’t see that pace slowing anytime soon.
“We like to look at ourselves as the elite of the elite when it comes to data analytics,” he says. “That will continue to be our vision.”
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Gensquared. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.