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[Article] - The art of the double I : a heightened issue in a COVID-19 context

July 9th 2020

If we think that the implementation of an IT tool is obvious, that it only takes to put a team of IT specialists in front of a business team to get the job done ... we are sure to fail. This is why an intermediary link, responsible for translating the needs of one into the language of the other, is often added to the system.

In the 2000s, they were called Project Management Assistance/ Support (PMA), now it is more prosaically called a functional consultant. In Agile projects, this role is performed by the product owner.

What qualities are expected from such individuals ?

Firstly, we expect them to have a proven ability to empathise, an ability to turn their brain and their way of thinking upside down to be able to slip into the skin of their interlocutor, to understand their point of view. They must understand the business language of the future user of the IT tool and the technical language of the person who will program it. It can therefore be said that they must be good translators. Cervantes once said that a translation is like a Flemish carpet seen in reverse : the design remains the same but the colours are different.

Are they diplomats ?

Language is a set of signs with two sides : the signifier (form) and the signified (meaning). Although it is obvious that consultants primarily deal with technical matters, hearing the underlying speech, detecting inherited beliefs, interpreting against a language learned elsewhere and expressing oneself with the language of one's interlocutor is mostly an emotional skill.

Mercenaries ?

This ability to play both sides of the fence does not come by itself. You need to have worked in many companies and taken part in many not-so-secret missions in territories of varied geography to be able to recognise the subtleties of the speech and avoid the struggle of misunderstanding. In addition to this ability to decode, they also are good prescribers of solutions because adventurous consultants also have a number of solutions in store that are already used in foreign territories.

Where do they belong/ come from ?

Strada Conseil, a long-term partner of many insurance and reinsurance companies, has been working for many years on both sides of the IT project, whether it be IT or business support or even project management. Its multi-skilled consultants are therefore in a perfect position to play the role of intermediary as described above. In an optimal configuration, positioned on each of the banks, on the flagship of the same project and united by a common commitment, Strada Conseil is a real facilitator for the implementation of your IT projects.

Sylvie LONGEAU Reinsurance Expert Consultant

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