Next up in our Spotlight On series is another of our Client Partners, Alex Buchanan. Alex is a seasoned business consultant with smart/tasking, bringing over 20 years of experience helping organisations optimise and automate their processes to drive operational excellence.  

With a deep expertise in the tech sector and his innate drive to constantly challenge the status quo, he has guided numerous clients across industries to streamline workflows, enhance productivity, and unlock new efficiencies. 

Can you share a bit about your background and what drew you to business consulting? 

I was lucky that when started work in the 1990s, my first job was with a startup which was disrupting the corporate events market, so at the start of my career I found myself in an environment where success depended on challenging the status quo, finding new and better ways of doing things. So, in the interview for my second job, I found myself saying “wouldn’t it be great if we tried doing this differently…” And I got the job, we implemented the change and it’s been that way ever since.  

Business consulting gives me license to think differently and challenge the norms with a great variety of clients in a range of industry sectors. It never hurts to have a fresh pair of eyes and a challenging opinion in the room. There’s nothing more stagnant than an echo chamber.   

What industries or specialties do you focus on, and why are you passionate about those areas? 

My speciality is technology that enables the media and entertainment sector. I started out as a graphic designer for events and spent most of my career developing and managing the technology behind the creative and production departments of advertising agencies and television and film companies. 

It’s a sector which needs to evolve quickly, and is faced with constant challenges, which means that it’s a very rewarding business to be in. There’s also lots of famous work and brands that people recognise, and it’s satisfying to be part of such a vibrant industry.  

However, media technology crops up in all sorts of industries, beyond the obvious broadcast media and advertising companies; from corporate communications to energy and utility companies that use video to monitor critical physical infrastructure. 

Can you give an example of how your consulting work has helped a client overcome a significant obstacle or drive growth? 

The one thing you can’t make more of is: time. So, looking for ways to save time and increase efficiency will usually contribute to growth, in one way or another. I worked on a project with a client who had a weekly deadline, but whenever the deadline approached there were inevitable changes that meant production people were always working late and over the weekends, and they were getting burnt out. We studied the business process and automated as much as we could, which was almost everything apart from the creative origination stages and parts of the workflow that required human interaction. 

The impact was genuinely transformational. Creative and marketing people could focus on the quality of the work, and not worry about the technical activities that could now happen in the background and much faster and more reliably and consistently than had ever been possible in the hands of people. The talented people doing the work were able to reclaim their evenings and weekends. The client was very satisfied and received industry recognition for the work. 

How would you describe your consulting philosophy or approach when working with clients? 

I’m collaborative and curious. Whilst, yes, we are using technology and proposing technology solutions to business problems, people are paramount to success, and we need to collaborate to get the best results. I have a deep passion to learn and enquire, which means that I’m able to get deep into any problem to find better solutions. 

What initial steps do you take to understand a client’s business, goals, and pain points?

The first step is to listen… then ask questions. As a consultant it’s of paramount importance to be clear about what the client is trying to achieve and the key to this is being a good listener and being inquisitive.  

What do you think stands smart/tasking apart from others? 

The people. Without doubt, people make a company and the people at smart/tasking are a delight to work with; from the talented degree apprentices who do a remarkable job with passion and enthusiasm, to the skilled and reliable operations team, to the founders, who are as involved in the business as everyone else. 

Can you share an interesting fact about yourself outside of work? 

Outside of work, I like to keep things as analogue as possible; trail walking, mountain biking, and cooking (indoors and outdoors).  

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