FluidIT sets sights on changing the perception of consultants

Leeds-based FluidIT was launched in 2015 by Jonty Abbott (right) and Gareth Murphy (left).
Leeds-based FluidIT was launched in 2015 by Jonty Abbott (right) and Gareth Murphy (left).
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An IT change management consultancy is looking to more than double in size over the next year as it aims to change the perception of consultants.

Leeds-based FluidIT was launched in 2015 by Jonty Abbott and Gareth Murphy. The consultancy looks to help businesses improve performance by adopting IT better.

Waleed Shihadah, change management consultant at Fluid IT, said: “Gareth was a former blue chip consultant before he founded FluidIT.

“He was just getting sick of the way consultancy was done often. He was brought in with an agenda. There might be a certain software system that the consultancy that he worked for had a relationship with.

“There would be pressure on him to push solutions that were not right for the client for the commercial gain of the consultancy.

“Eventually he found that he couldn’t carry on doing that in good conscience and he believed that there was a better way to do consultancy. One that puts the client first instead of profits and implements the best solutions for them.”

The consultancy profession has an issue with its reputation, says Mr Shihadah.

He added: “There’s an old phrase that a consultant will steal your watch to tell you the time. Or that they’re overpaid people who come in and tell you what you already knew. Or they’re working in the best interests of their consultancy.

“What we’re trying to do is flip that on its head and implement solutions that might not be in our best interests.”

FluidIT is based at the Digital Hub, run by Leeds Beckett University in partnership with The Yorkshire Post. The business has 13 employees and a network of 10 associates.

Being based at the hub has enabled the firm to unlock collaboration opportunities it may otherwise not have had.

“It’s almost like a little digital village in here,” says Mr Shihadah. “We all have our different service areas. We kind of cross pollinate and help each other out.”

The firm has enlisted the help of a creative agency for its own branding and has also referred its clients to businesses based at the hub.

Mr Shihadah said: “Technology is obviously a great enabler for collaboration but nothing beats face-to-face. Having the creative agency that is doing your branding sit a few desks down from you is valuable.”

Mr Murphy, pictured, says he and his business partner now have the challenge of ensuring it provides fulfilling careers for ten employees.

He said: “It was a very serendipitous start to the business because essentially it began with an opportunity. In my role prior to setting up the company I’d helped a client to scope out an 18-month IT programme and help them understand what they needed to achieve.

“They said, ‘well we’re looking for somebody to partner with now to deliver this. Are you interested?’

“It was actually probably an easier start than most to get the business up and running. The challenges come later when you try and grow that business.

“That’s been the more difficult piece because suddenly you start to take on more permanent employees. You have to balance delivering client work with going and finding new work. Staying current with emerging technology trends and things like that.

“We’ve got ten people now who we don’t want to let down and provide a brilliant career for.”

Mr Shihadah said: “We want to build a company that people love to work for and love to work with.”