Turning Data into Gold - William McKnight of McKnight Consulting Group - Eversprint

Turning Data into Gold – William McKnight of McKnight Consulting Group

William McKnight, President of McKnight Consulting Group

William McKnight, the President of McKnight Consulting Group, grew his company’s revenue from $372,000 in 2014 to $2.2 million in 2017, a 492% increase.  

McKnight Consulting Group provides the strategy and implementation to make data a competitive asset.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, William shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Leveraging his network with vendors and clients alike to find and win new business.  
  • Transitioning from a solo consult to a practice with a team.  
  • Riding the growth of data monetization.  

Computer generated transcript - McKnight Consulting Group Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the "Computer generated transcript - McKnight Consulting Group Interview" audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by Sonix.ai below:

Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the managing member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with William McKnight, the President of McKnight Consulting Group, who provides the strategy and implementation to make data a competitive asset. Welcome to the call William

William McKnight: Thank you Malcolm. Great to be here.

Malcolm Lui: William , you grew your company's revenue from $372,000 in 2014 to $2.2 million in 2017, a 492% increase. Before we talk about you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

William McKnight: Yeah sure. OK. So companies increasingly are realizing that information is an important asset to their business and it informs just about every thing that they do every application is based on data. Every strategic objective has data as a strong component of it especially as we go forward into the years to come when data is going to be the basis for artificial intelligence. Obviously now it's the basis for a lot of reporting but it's also the basis for analytics which is where leading companies are going with their business and with everything about their business so we bring that discipline of data and we handle the data layer for our clients which means historically we've put that data into a lot of data warehouses. But in the past decade we've turned our attention to building data lakes building master data management environments building Hadoop clusters or big data clusters. So it's capturing all the data within the business and then some because we're bringing and also third party data and we're putting this this data to work in the business in places where people can access it when they need it. And also so the data is working behind the scenes to generate what that business should be doing next whether it's in their promotions in their product development in their supply chain et cetera et cetera.

William McKnight: It really informs everything about the business. So as this has become a strategic objective of the company that is to get their data under under control we stepped into that fray and and really done a great job over the years with a lot of Global 2000 clients. We bring a multidisciplinary approach. We bring people that can do it all and can be flexible as you need to be today and move in many different directions with many different disciplines as the needs present themselves at the client. So it's just it's a lot of experience it's a lot of knowledge leadership and that sort of thing that we bring. And but I think all that being said the bottom line differentiator is that we really get things done inside of business and that just doesn't mean just standing up a technical environment with data. It means getting people to use it. It means organizational change management. It means driving to the bottom line of the business all the way not just stopping. Once we've built the data so really getting that data completely embedded inside the business and put to work is one of the things that we do

Malcolm Lui: Okay. Now how do you differ from your competitors who do something similarly

William McKnight: So well. There are large competitors that have a a different approach than a boutique like us right. So the larger competitors which we all know their their names they're everywhere and they do a great job at what they do. But when push comes to shove and you really need to get things done you've got to look at the people that you're getting and making sure that you're getting great value from those people and getting the real knowledge and real really people that are in the shoes of your customers. And on the side of your customer when it comes to meeting the business objectives. So we don't come in with a list back up the bus kind of an approach and we all come on day one. We want to set the methodology set the architecture set the tool direction etc. in place with a few key people with that client first and those key people are going to be people like myself that are very experienced very knowledgeable about what the industry has to offer. We bring a lot of ideas because we have a lot of experience and we've seen The Good The Bad And The Ugly and we've drag the good forward from all our other clients you know to this client and we put those things in place.

William McKnight: And so that's a different approach then to have a lot of people coming in that may or may not have the right levels of experience or be in the right mindset to handle client effectively. And down in the boutiques again we just really get things done and we handle the whole the whole complete aspect of getting data activated inside an organization. This stems from I was an I.T. vice president before I started the consultancy. So I've dealt with the budgets I dealt with the culture I dealt with the the politics if you will of an organization and I know what it takes to really get things done. And and there was a knock on effect in all of our projects from that experience that I have and I attract people into the concept here that are like minded and also have the same kinds of experiences. So you can be assured that we're not going down a a black hole path here with our clients we're doing something that is going to work. And

Malcolm Lui: Right.

William McKnight: You know it's very important to set the direction effectively early on get the right tools get the right architecture get the right methodology get the right people in place because if you don't you're going to pay that price. You're going to pay it for a long time and you may not even know it but eventually that stuff does get smoked out. I should know because I come in behind a lot of those projects were where they weren't exactly firing on all cylinders and they do get smoked out. And

Malcolm Lui: Right

William McKnight: So I don't want that to happen with our stuff. So we try to do it right the first time.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. Nothing. Now you grew your business pretty rapidly three hundred seventy three thousand in 2014 to two point two million in 2017 a pretty big increase almost 500 percent increase over three years. Can you share what the three biggest drivers were of your sales growth over those three years.

William McKnight: Well I don't know exactly what the numbers are I guess you got them there but you know it's really I was just turning began to turn my attention from being solo independent operator to leveraging myself through my network and growing up a company of it. So that's really that was the really big driver is I've done this before by the way I back in when was it when was it now in the before the year 2000 I began a consultancy and I sold it in 2005 and I had done the same thing. I mean we're we're just it's just history repeating itself except now the technologies are much different of course and the approaches are much different that much more efficient and data is that much more important today to companies so it's a great space I'm in encourage everybody to think about data and their relationship to data and doing a great job with their data. And that's the discipline that we bring so it's really the growth of data. My turning my attention from solo independent operator to running a practice again and so we build up a bit now we're doing it that way again and I couldn't be happier.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. So one was that you leverage your personal network and then the second one would be transforming your company from a solo operator to more as a practice with the team behind you or with you. And the third one is the growth of data. Would you say those are the three drivers

William McKnight: That sounds good. That sounds

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

William McKnight: Good.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. All right. To talk a little bit more about leveraging your network. Is this an existing network that you had from your previous career or is this a network that you that you nurtured and grew you proactively sought out people and developed the relationship over time. Can you talk a bit more about how you leverage your network

William McKnight: Well I've been in data my whole career so that's given me you know so many different opportunities I've had so many different experiences. No no two months of the same in my business and you know one month I might be working on analyst reports and benchmarks and white papers and webinars and stuff like that with my vendor clients and another month I might be heads down with with a client in insurance or banking or health care or some such thing and you know working on their data strategy. So these two sides of me work together very well because the one side the let's say the vendor side that informs the client side very well because I'm getting leading edge stuff I'm learning what the vendors have to offer in depth and I bring that to bear on my clients and my clients are giving me the real world the real world experience where the where the pedal meets the metal and I'm bringing that back to bear and my vendor works because I'm giving them the real world experience that they don't have that you know they're they're building products and they're they want to get it sold right. But you have to sell it out there in the real world which is the sometimes the perception is different than the reality. So I bring that bring that to bear make the two worlds work together

Malcolm Lui: Right. And I see how both sides would appreciate that. Right. The vendors appreciate

William McKnight: Absolutely

Malcolm Lui: Hearing what real world experiences up there are with technology or if their product or service and vice versa. Clients like to hear

William McKnight: Absolutely.

Malcolm Lui: What's out there it's changing so yes. And I spot being so good. And when you say that you been in data all your life. Can you give a little bit more details on that. I know it has been a common phrase of big data. But other than big data I mean how can it be categorized as are small data enormous data. What are the categories of data

William McKnight: Well I tell you this industry has not done a great job at customizing or say standardizing its its definitions and its terminology. So you know one of the things about working with all the vendors is all the different terminology that they they bring to bear and they want. They want us to use out there in the real world and sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't but you know yes you've been hearing about big data we've all been hearing about big data. I think it's a real thing. I think it's a real competitive differentiator not a bunch of fluff. It's data. It's you know a lot of ways we want to treat it like the data that we've always had and we've always thought we were working on big data is just that we've taken it to another level now with all the click stream off the Internet all the sensor reads in our supply chain network get capturing being able now as opposed to five years ago now being able to capture every voice you know voice mail if you will every e-mail every because we have the capability now to store it all cheaply relatively speaking and now we also are growing our data science out there to actually deal with that data. And so what I like to say is that the depth of data to which the client can actually go and make sense out of that and turn that into a real business that is the that's a real competitor there that is what is going to win the day as we go into the next decade. So you have to be a data competitor in order to stand out and really in order to hold serve. Right now you've got to be a data competitor you've got to get your data act together. We have a maturity model for data one two three four or five and it's very multifaceted. But I like to say that everybody needs to be at a three now or they need to be sprinting to get to that three point and some of you need to be at a four.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

William McKnight: And by the way the criteria keeps changing. So next year my four is gonna be a three my three is gonna be a two and you've got to keep going and by the way you can't skip. You can't go from a one to a five. You have to go through the process of two three four and five and we have that in mind. We've we've learned the steps from our clients. It's not a linear model but there are certain hallmarks of being in the different levels. And

Malcolm Lui: Sure.

William McKnight: We push our clients up to the next level as appropriate for them.

Malcolm Lui: Ok. And when you're when you're talking about the about the idea of big data about how there's more data out there and how it's simpler to store less cost this store. Another aspect that came to light to me more recently this is just to the extent that our data is being sold right. I wasn't aware until recently that the. And I'm sure that they've been doing this for a long time but they don't really talk about it.

William McKnight: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: I wasn't aware too recently about to the extent that my cell phone carrier sells my data

William McKnight: Yeah yeah we're a little bit of the Wild West here in the United States. This doesn't happen quite as much in Europe but it's it's all because we it's all because of data science and when we can we can learn how to manipulate that data and turn it into business gain and

Malcolm Lui: Right.

William McKnight: That's what we're doing. And for a lot of companies growth has leveled off in terms of whatever it is they do but they have this great asset of their data you

Malcolm Lui: Right.

William McKnight: Know and

Malcolm Lui: Right.

William McKnight: You know you bring up telecom that's a great example you know. And obviously a lot of Internet properties are great examples of this as well. So you know

Malcolm Lui: But Internet

William McKnight: That's

Malcolm Lui: Ones are a little bit more obvious about it. You know they're providing a service for free. Yeah of course I know they're going to they're selling my data right that's how they pay the bills. But when you when I learned that cell phone my cell phone carrier is selling information you know you might say that it's obfuscated it's not personally identifiable and so on right. But you know they're selling information of where some users are using their phone and you know what sites they're visiting and so on. In aggregate it's a bit of a surprise. You know I

William McKnight: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Do a bit uncomfortable as well

William McKnight: A little unnerving isn't it. But

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

William McKnight: It's

Malcolm Lui: And

William McKnight: All

Malcolm Lui: Early

William McKnight: On it's all in the fine print.

Malcolm Lui: It is no doubt

William McKnight: It's

Malcolm Lui: The

William McKnight: All legal. We can talk about the ethics of it

Malcolm Lui: Yet

William McKnight: And and we will. I believe we will as we go forward. Now Europe has regulations now which you may have heard of GDP are.

Malcolm Lui: Yes.

William McKnight: That something like that could be coming our way and I hope it is because as a consumer you know I like the fact that I have control more control over my data. Now what GDP is for everybody else is you know in the European Union citizens of the European Union have rights over their data and they can. They have the right for example to be completely erased from companies database. Everywhere they are. And you know as they leave the company you know the company has to have has to be able to keep data that it needs to sustain itself and keep operating. Of course but all this superfluous data all the detailed data they have the right to re race and there's a lot a lot more going on in GDP. But it's all on the side of the consumer.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

William McKnight: And we don't

Malcolm Lui: That's

William McKnight: We

Malcolm Lui: A

William McKnight: Don't have that here but a lot of companies now are trying to get their data catalog completely in the enterprise so that they can react to that day so it doesn't bring the company to its knees. You know when something like that happens

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Yeah. Think back at that topic and actually be a totally separate entity.

William McKnight: Yeah yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Going back to your growth drivers case so the first one you leverage your network from your career of being in data and the second one you transform your business from a solo practitioner to more of a practice with a team. Can you talk a little bit more about that transition

William McKnight: I mean I look at projects kind of one by one and will. Well I enjoy it. You know at this point and and and so that's let's just sort of lead me to hey I want more leverage and I could talk about you know when this happened back in around the year 2000 for me as well. I mean it's the same thing. It was the same thing. I just wanted more leverage. I wanted to touch more clients and was opening myself up I guess a little bit more to to to trust certain individuals that I have longstanding relationships with that I know will do a great job with the client and in some in some cases obviously they're going to do a better job than me because of their availability and and their experiences you know. So it's all about running the business. I enjoy running the business. No problem with that aspect of it. I do that a lot on a day to day basis you might say that some days I I have to run the business. I'm not you know out there with clients it's not as fun but I'm doing it and I enjoy that too. So

Malcolm Lui: Now.

William McKnight: I just look at it that way.

Malcolm Lui: Right now you have a team now of people who work with you. Are they seeing with you and in your office in Plano Texas or do you have the remote workforce model

William McKnight: Well hopefully they're not sitting with me because then they're not out to out with their clients with our clients. So actually the they're out with clients for the most part and you know

Malcolm Lui: You

William McKnight: Doing

Malcolm Lui: Work onsite.

William McKnight: What

Malcolm Lui: Typically

William McKnight: Onsite typically and when they're not there they may be at their homes recovering

Malcolm Lui: Right

William McKnight: As the case may be or doing some additional work there. But we do a lot on site a lot of our work is strategic every class and face to face. And it requires meeting a meeting with a lot of people it's just best served in person we're not exclusively onsite of course but we're not one of these offshore models where we're doing you know work that programmers can do office spec you know we're thinking we're thinking for our clients we're a strategic firm. So that does require a lot of in-person I do a lot of it of course but so do my people

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. And your people are they based. Are they living in Plano Texas. Or does he say that they're on site often city. Theoretically they live anywhere and they just hop on a plane and fly to where their clients are and live in

William McKnight: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: A hotel for a while

William McKnight: Yeah. I mean what know one of the things I've always said about this businesses you know I've been consulting now for 20 years so you know one thing I've always said is you know I may or may not be the very best at it but I've become very good at it just because I've been willing to travel and willing to do what it takes to have the experiences that I've had and that is that has set me apart. So that willingness is very important for consultant. So our consultants are all over.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

William McKnight: Of course you know we we prefer the the less miles in the air the better

Malcolm Lui: Jerry

William McKnight: But you know inevitably clients want the best and they're willing and we're willing we we enjoy the experiences that we have with clients. So it's a win win.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah I remember my business school days one of the one of the major consulting firms right. The thing was you could live anywhere you want as long as you near an airport. How is that. Thank

William McKnight: No

Malcolm Lui: You.

William McKnight: That's I'm sorry but that still sounds about right.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Okay. So the third driver of your business the growth of data. Sounds like you're your in the right company in the right place right because the the as you entered before the access to data the utilization of data the computational power to analyze the data has just been growing and allowing businesses to better monetize it. And you're just able to ride that wave would you say that's a correct assessment.

William McKnight: Well that's right. And to make a long boring story short I started my career at IBM and I interviewed in four different places on that day and they said I could have you know whichever one I wanted and I didn't know one from the other. But the one I picked was called D.B. too. And that's a prominent database product. And I randomly picked very well because that started my career in data and I'd stayed with it ever since of course the industry has moved we've moved so far from you know where we were. But DB two and those databases people may have heard of Oracle or Teradata or Sequel Server

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

William McKnight: They're still very I mean they're so prevalent throughout organizations still. Of course they've come a long way. But the point is that it's still all about data and if anything it's more much much more about data than ever before. So we enjoy it. We've enjoyed riding that with a but we haven't just writ rode the wave. We've also led that wave quite a bit with our knowledge leadership and our thoughts and our experiences and putting them out there and doing less speaking right writing about it and moving the industry along in that way.

Malcolm Lui: Right now a classic maybe not classic but a well well popularized story of big data usage was a target analyzing

William McKnight: Now

Malcolm Lui: Their customer buying behavior and sending a a flyer to a family's home address to their daughter who had signed up for their red card or a loyalty card and ended within it. It has all the other discount coupons for people who are expecting a child right. And the guy got really upset that target was sending in this stuff for their high school kid and then later on he went back to the target store and apologized because it turns out his daughter was pregnant and at Target's big data analysis was quite spot on determining that by what she was purchasing. To what degree is that happening today. Perhaps a bit more subtle because I was a little bit of a PR disaster due to a small degree for Target as well.

William McKnight: Yeah well I think I don't think it would be the same PR disaster today because we're more used to the fact that companies do these things and you know they may or may not be right but more and more often than not they're they're getting it right. But absolutely things are going in that direction in a hard way. And not only not only is are our companies collecting now and have the ability now to collect every piece of data. So if you're if you're walking through the story you know they can they can map your journey now if you have your phone on that sort of thing. But you know we're getting to the point or we will get to the point I think in the next few years where our bio data will be also up for exchange in the marketplace and that if you if you think about that that's really where our next actions are are coming from. And all this collection of data what is it for it is for understanding the future predicting the future accurately. And then once a company can predict the future accurately it wants to get in front of that future and steer it towards what it wants you to be doing in that future for them of course but bio data that that's the real truth that is that dictates what you how you're going to respond to different events. Now of course everything's multifaceted. No two things no two events are ever the same exactly but just as we've done with analytics we're going to be able to do that with bio data and we're going to be able to very very accurately predict with it's a little bit of data you know how customers are going to behave in certain situations and get in front of that. So that's the future

Malcolm Lui: Right now for that kind of data work you do. How big a business have to be to have the essentially the budget and the cash flow and the technology to do the data analysis to and monetize that data.

William McKnight: Well that's a great question. I work with some startups but startups today are not like startups of yesteryear and startups today are very data centric

Malcolm Lui: And

William McKnight: So

Malcolm Lui: They're well-funded too right.

William McKnight: Yeah. Well some some they all would like to be but you better have a data story if you want to be you better have an artificial intelligence story if you want to be funded well today and

Malcolm Lui: But

William McKnight: Some

Malcolm Lui: I mean there has to be some minimum level of investment required to collect store and analyze the data. Right.

William McKnight: Yeah I mean what I was gonna say is consequently some of these startups are really big data companies even though they're not so big. But in the enterprise in the more traditional companies a lot of the ones that I work with are big. They're they're big because they have big complex problems. And that's what attracts them to people like me that can solve those big complex problems. So we work kind of upper mid-market through the Global 2000 but these things we're talking about here data warehousing master data management and even big data that goes that permeates all the way through the so-called mid-sized companies as well today. So the more that a company can step up to becoming a data leader the better off they're going to be because today data leadership is Business Leadership and vice versa. So that is that's where companies are going to differentiate themselves in the marketplace through their use of data not their everyday low prices their supply chain their great customer service. That's all a given you know anymore it's

Malcolm Lui: Right.

William McKnight: Their data where they're differentiate themselves so

Malcolm Lui: Okay

William McKnight: No matter

Malcolm Lui: Now.

William McKnight: What size

Malcolm Lui: Now you mentioned before you work with the Global 2000. I'm not familiar with that index but I've looked at the Fortune 1000 here at the 1000 level Europe you're a billion dollar plus company in revenue.

William McKnight: Oh yeah

Malcolm Lui: What kind of revenue was number two thousand on the Global 2000

William McKnight: I don't know but

Malcolm Lui: Mean it's partly to billions

William McKnight: It's

Malcolm Lui: As well.

William McKnight: It's

Malcolm Lui: I would imagine.

William McKnight: In the. Yeah it's in the bill the definitely

Malcolm Lui: Ok

William McKnight: In the billions you know

Malcolm Lui: So

William McKnight: There are. This world is run by some really big companies.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. So it sounds like from what you do at least it sounds like you're talking about billion dollar companies really being able to take advantage of

William McKnight: Well I

Malcolm Lui: Monetizing

William McKnight: Wouldn't

Malcolm Lui: The data

William McKnight: Know. You know what we can we we for example you know we adjust for for the companies budget and in the companies needs and my maturity model by the way for example my maturity model. If you're if you're midsize or below you actually get a you actually get a one at one additional point as a bonus in the model. So I don't expect the coffee shop down the street if it's a solo practice not Starbucks but

Malcolm Lui: Right.

William McKnight: If it's a small practice I don't expect that to have the same tech footprint as say a global giant down the street. You know Walmart or something. Right. But nonetheless they still have data needs. They still should be collecting all their data and getting on top of that and growing their data science out obviously at a different level. But at some level.

Malcolm Lui: Right. So what's the minimum sized company that you work with

William McKnight: Well like I say I mean I work with some startups so

Malcolm Lui: At the startups I imagine have to be well-funded enough to be able to store the data acquired the data analyze the data. Right. It doesn't sound like it's a trivial process those three items

William McKnight: No it's not. It is essential to the business. And it's it's what the business is what businesses are largely about today that are starting up. So yeah you want to you want to have some millions of funding that's for sure but you know we work with you know like United Healthcare is a client. You know these are big really big companies France Telecom. I mean these are really big companies

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Yeah. Some big ones I can see for sure. Right I mean not only do they have the cash flow to support it but they also have the transactions right.

William McKnight: That's

Malcolm Lui: Any

William McKnight: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Company

William McKnight: That's

Malcolm Lui: Has

William McKnight: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Tons of data transaction wise service wise I'm just kind of wondering at what point as you said you said you talked about working with medium sized companies and the definition of medium sized companies is a profit perhaps similar to the definition of big data right. It's always moving

William McKnight: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Up

William McKnight: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: With a medium sized company

William McKnight: Well I'm going to let I'm going to let each company decide for themselves kind of what

Malcolm Lui: Okay

William McKnight: They are but I don't give a medium sized company a complete pass in terms of in terms of data you know in terms of handling their data and getting their data act together I don't I believe that it's a competitive force at all levels of business today

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. I mean we took my data. You're talking much beyond the typical CRM data for example right.

William McKnight: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: I

William McKnight: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Mean

William McKnight: I mean

Malcolm Lui: Orders

William McKnight: We're talking.

Malcolm Lui: Of magnitude

William McKnight: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Beyond that

William McKnight: Absolutely. Terabytes to petabytes now of data that we're collecting and we're keeping all history now. You know we're bringing in third party data sets and we're getting at a very granular level which we didn't do before. So consequently the amount of data in this world is just growing exponentially the numbers are mind boggling. And the device is out there you may have heard of the Internet of Things

Malcolm Lui: Right.

William McKnight: Which you know has to do with devices being censored up

Malcolm Lui: Right

William McKnight: And

Malcolm Lui: Now

William McKnight: Having

Malcolm Lui: The source

William McKnight: Their own.

Malcolm Lui: Of data now

William McKnight: That's a tremendous source of data now and going into the future. I think people would be most people would be very surprised at how many devices have an IP address connected to them.

Malcolm Lui: Right. And as I mentioned before it's not just the data that a company is generating on its own by providing its services is also data that you can acquire and commingle with your own data right. To give you a fuller picture of what's going on

William McKnight: That's right

Malcolm Lui: Yeah it's a bit it's a bit mind boggling. Thinking about the possibilities

William McKnight: I mean it can be for for a layman who is not in it. In technology the world has changed in the past couple decades so tremendously in terms of what business. What it takes you know to be successful in business today.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

William McKnight: And it's a lot about data.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. I mean oftentimes for the smaller businesses right. And oftentimes when I'm talking to prospective clients this simple data perspective right. And this is you know this is a very simple concept but I mean a lot of businesses don't collect your customer data as simple as that. And that's

William McKnight: Well yeah I mean they're gonna miss out. They're just they're just going to be running on the treadmill in the near future and possibly it's gonna overwhelm them when the competitors are able to actually use that data to their advantage.

Malcolm Lui: Yes definitely. So in terms of 2019 what can you share about your 2019 growth plans for your company. There's a sales in terms of clients in terms of your service offerings

William McKnight: Well still still a hundred percent in

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

William McKnight: Enjoying it enjoying every day and kicking off the year. The tremendous January here. Do you know working a lot right now. Working a lot with with vendors and getting a lot of great knowledge under our belts as a foundation because the world is changed as I say and the vendors are not sitting still and it's important for us to bring up to date active knowledge to our clients so we're getting a lot of that in some of the work that we're doing this month. So you're going to see benchmarks you're going to see reports you're going to see webinars and white papers and stuff like that coming out of us in the first month. And we have our clients of course we love our clients and we've been with some for a while and some are new and but everybody's trying to make data into a competitive asset.

Malcolm Lui: Sure. Can you share some hard targets that you have. Then once you're comfortable sharing the percentage revenue growth you're looking to do the number of new clients looking to add none of additional business. You want to do with existing clients instead of objectives that you're looking to accomplish in 2019.

William McKnight: I mean we want to have a lot of fun and we want to make a great impact on the clients that we do have. So we don't have hard revenue numbers. I'm not you know my clients can rest assured we're not trying to get every last dime out of them. What we're trying to do is serve them well and to that degree you know we hope we take that kind of mentality into the future. I love helping people and I feel like that's a lot of what I do I help people in this industry be better have a better foundation for their business and let's face it. You know we we enjoy our lives. If we enjoy our career we enjoy our work and I want to help them help a lot of people make a tremendous impact this year helping a lot of people do. Do you do just that. Because I think I sit on a goldmine for them and so you know I'm just excited every day about the opportunities

Malcolm Lui: So what are your plans on the new client development front.

William McKnight: It's gonna be. You know it's going to be the same. I'm the number one global influencer in data warehousing and the number one global influencer in master data management. So I'm out there and I am I attract our clients and I will continue to attract our clients as long as I want. I'm pretty sure of that and it'll be a lot of the same things. We're not sitting on our laurels We're not preaching a 1990s dogma about how things should be. Like I say we're ahead of the game and our clients like that about us and we're visionary but we actually get things done as well so I just look forward to that. I look forward to another year but my 21st year in consulting I you know no time in all those years has it been as exciting as now and it's always been exciting but but now it's like data is really taking off and we're really at the forefront of that. So it's just a really exciting place to

Malcolm Lui: Sure.

William McKnight: Be

Malcolm Lui: So for your marketing and it's all inbound marketing then no outbound marketing

William McKnight: I would say 90 plus percent is in doubt. I mean we we have a newsletter but again those are those are warm people that have signed up so I don't know how you want to categorize that but we don't do a lot of outbound you know you know flogging the Flogging to the masses knocking on doors and and all this sort of thing and and throwing the phone the lines out there. And you know doing marketing lists and things like that. I must get two or three meals a day of people who apparently are there. Apparently they're great at doing telemarketing for me you know. But I just don't just don't

Malcolm Lui: Right. Why is that. I mean I imagine I can show how many clients you're working with now in the Global 2000

William McKnight: We're working with probably four or five

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

William McKnight: Right now

Malcolm Lui: So

William McKnight: And it's enough. You know

Malcolm Lui: That's enough. Okay. Because I mean there are still one thousand nine hundred ninety five of them that can potentially use your services right. And the Global 2000

William McKnight: Yeah they could and some of them will you know overtime but I I don't I don't need every last client to be happy and that's what I'm. That's what I'm going for. So of course I want to make a bigger impact but I feel like what I'm doing is is it's allowing me to do what I want to do and that's that's where I'm at

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Now for the image before that you're the number one influencer when it comes to data warehousing and other technical terms you mentioned. Have you found that the inquiries you're getting as a result of that are you finding that the people who reach out to you are good leads for new business.

William McKnight: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Or do you find that many of them reach out to you. Yeah they can. They're just not really a good fit for you.

William McKnight: No most of them are. I mean that's the beauty of this business which is I'm not working on low percentage. You know I'm not I'm not spending lots and lots of time on RF and things like this when I get called it usually it usually makes sense because people know me they know what I'm all about. They know what my business is about. They know what we do. I'm not interested in you know with an RFP that's cast to win three different properties. You know even though I look at and go wow you know what. I think we would be the very best for them. Unless there's something special that that client finds in us and there's a lot to there's a lot to like. If you if you want to look but unless there's something special about us that they can articulate I'm not doing these blind you know RF RFP or cattle calls as I call. I'm I'm working in a very much more targeted fashion and yeah that's how we work

Malcolm Lui: Okay. So what would you say your biggest marketing and sales challenges.

William McKnight: I mean we are we are so many things to so many different people or a lot of people are pigeonholed in this industry. They're either data warehouse people or they're data mart people or they're you know data like people. That's a new term but

Malcolm Lui: Data Lake.

William McKnight: It's

Malcolm Lui: Yeah they

William McKnight: Definitely

Malcolm Lui: Want

William McKnight: Out

Malcolm Lui: Me

William McKnight: There. You know they're mastered imagined people in and they may or may not be able to fathom the fact that we do all that and if they have needs in other areas of their business other than maybe what they thought about us at first that we can do that you know. And we'll do a great job at it. And by the way we're probably you know might might be even better at that but you know what we were we were what you call us for you know. So it just continually getting the word out I guess. But you know day to day right now like this week there's been none of that. It's been getting the work done meeting deadlines and keeping current clients happy

Malcolm Lui: Right.

William McKnight: And that's that is perfectly fine. That is priority right

Malcolm Lui: Oh

William McKnight: There.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

William McKnight: You

Malcolm Lui: They

William McKnight: Know

Malcolm Lui: Pay the bills. So you said before the biggest marketing challenge is that people don't know that you can do all that might be of interest to them on the data side. Why is that right. Because I've mentioned before that you're the top influencer in that space. What about your business. Are they not able to see

William McKnight: Well

Malcolm Lui: Or easily able to find or

William McKnight: There's a there's a spectrum of understanding of of of myself and my business out there. And you spend a little time with the with me and you know whether it's in a webinar or you read my writing come to my come to a talk I give or I do some consulting with or around you. You get it. But until that point happens you may be only marginally exposed to me. Right. And so you get a perspective that way. And and you know it takes two or three exposures to get the full picture of what it is that we do and appreciate that and just make sure it's right for you because you know there's a lot of consultancies out there but very few of them work the way that we work which is strategic truly strategic and understanding all of these disciplines. And by the way and this is important I'm surprised it hasn't come up in the hour. We're not beholden to any individual vendor out there. We do not take any money from the vendors for resale or recommendation. So if you're looking for you know Oracle jockeys that's what you want because you know what you're doing and you just need some jockeys to to do it. We're not that far right. We we are not in one eco system. We're across the ecosystem from a database perspective. We know Google we know Microsoft we know Oracle we know IBM we know ACTA and we know Vertica we know several others Teradata et cetera et cetera.

William McKnight: Right. And so we're that kind of person. So if you're if you're exposure to Consulting has been well consultants there they're tied to one vendor and and you know they we sell products of that vendor and they have people they're certified in that vendor products and we use them when we need some help on the products. That's then I have to disabuse you of that to get you to understand what it is that we do to to really introduce you to a strategic firm that gets things done really. And by the way I keep saying strategic but I'd like to say that even these global 2000 organizations for many of them if they have not attended to their information management infrastructure and done a good job at it the first year is of starting to is really still all strategy. There's that much to it. You can't just you know engage us and then you know turn it all loose back to programmers that have been doing such and such for a long time and maybe they're maybe they're right maybe they're not right. You know to carry forward the water in the organization we help you with that we help you determine whether that is true or not for your organization. But it's not everyone that can actually execute it. So

Malcolm Lui: Write

William McKnight: I think I think I've gone full circle on your question Malcolm but I wanted to point out that we are not that that kind of firm and we just have to educate the market

Malcolm Lui: Sure.

William McKnight: Sometimes.

Malcolm Lui: Three last questions for you. You know say you're driving between Plano Texas in Austin and you know the freeways can sometimes get wide open and it's a 90 mile per hour speed limit on some stretches and there's a billboard on that freeway. And typically people only have six seconds to read a billboard. What would be your billboard strategy. Your billboard message your six second billboard message.

William McKnight: Well I'm making that drive tomorrow Malcolm So what do you know. Well I would say you'll make information into a true asset not something. Well I'm starting to ramble but I only got six seconds six

Malcolm Lui: Right

William McKnight: Words right. So

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

William McKnight: I'll stop there and hopefully I've elaborated enough on on that point throughout

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

William McKnight: The rest of our

Malcolm Lui: Get

William McKnight: Talk

Malcolm Lui: In it and I know we kind of touched on this throughout the conversation again. But can you recap again. Who your ideal clients are. And the best way for them to reach you and your team.

William McKnight: Well our our ideal clients are businesses of mid-market and above that understand that already understand that information is important to them and already understand they may be behind the curve in terms of the possibilities and they or they are ready with open arms and by the way nobody is fully you know that way but they're ready to do something about it. And we are certainly ready to help them do the right thing about it and we love it when the client says Come in. Look at our data. Help us out. You know we're an open book but sometimes it's a little more focused and that's OK too. You know

Malcolm Lui: Right

William McKnight: It's a little more like we want to build a data lake. Can you help us specify that data lake and you know give us a business justification for it and so on so forth. We're great with that too you know. So Enterprise Data needs are basically our ideal clients.

Malcolm Lui: Ok. And that's the best way for them to reach you and your team

William McKnight: So the Web site is McKnight C.G. Sanford consulting group Aecom and my email is W. McKnight at

Malcolm Lui: Ok.

William McKnight: Mcknight C.G. Doug

Malcolm Lui: Would you then perhaps spell out your website domain for the

William McKnight: Sure

Malcolm Lui: To make it easy for people to find you easier

William McKnight: M.c. Yep. All right. M.C. K. And I G H T. C as in Charlie G as in good dot com.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Fantastic thanks so much for joining us today and in Shanghai you grew a business so fast. Appreciate we

William McKnight: You got it. Thank you Malcolm.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with William McKnight, the President of McKnight Consulting Group, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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