The journey so far – responding to demand – a long time in the making
Since Doug and I started The Ferryfield Group, I’ve had lots of conversations with potential partners & clients about our plans for the business. There has been a lot of positive feedback about our vision for the company, and interest in the different services we’ll be providing. So, for my first blog, I thought it’d be a good idea to give some background as to where Ferryfield has come from.
I spent 16 years in charge of the European operations of Palisade, a company that provides specialist software for risk and decision analysis, as well as training & consulting services to help clients embed the tools within their organisations. Over time, I oversaw the expansion of the operations to include the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Asia-Pacific. Although Palisade grew to be very much a global company, it operates within what is still a very niche area of business.
The space looks very different now, to when I started at Palisade back in 2003. Since then, there has been a gradual, but growing, acceptance of the need for risk & decision analysis from many different industries and geographies. Watching and understanding what’s driven the different rates of adoption has been an interesting and rewarding journey.
During our time at Palisade, and since we both left the organisation, Doug & I attended countless trade shows, seminars, conferences, symposiums, training events, and sales meetings. Sometimes it was as an organiser, sometimes we were able to sit back and relax a bit more, as an attendee or delegate. I always felt fortunate that my position provided the opportunity to understand how the techniques were applied across many varied industries and applications. One conversation might be with a cost estimator, looking to understand how much contingency to add to their estimate. This could be followed by a chat with a geologist trying to figure out how much oil was likely to be in a particular reservoir. Then there might be a discussion around building up a demand forecast for water demand for a region of the Gulf, with associated capital investment decisions about building new desalination plants and so on. The labels, individuals, industries, and applications may all have seemed very different on the face of it, but the methodology which underpinned them all – probabilistic analysis – was the same throughout.
Throughout the whole of this time, there has been a constant stream of questions at the various engagements. Sometimes from professionals already working in the field as risk managers on large projects, some from those about to embark on a journey into the world of risk and informed decision-making, and then others at a more senior level, who needed answers to questions, that can only rightly be answered with probabilistic analysis.
Some questions were very technical in nature, about the specifics of a particular probability distribution. But then there was a whole load of questions that were more business/person-centric:
“Do you know of any risk jobs for someone of my skillset?”
“Do you know any good risk people we could recruit?”
“What is the best risk software to do X?”
“Do you know any risk consultants who could help us with Y”
“Can you advise someone to train us on Z?”
All of these have really fed into the vision for Ferryfield. We are a company that has grown out of the software space, but are not limited to software. We have consultants and trainers who work for us, but we are not just a training and consulting company. We have expertise in recruitment, but are not solely focussed on recruitment.
What we are, is a company that provides answers to all those questions we used to get asked. What we are is a company that finds solutions to our client’s problems. What we are, is a company that is all about risk.