2014 Year in Review
By many accounts, 2014 was the most successful year in Slalom’s history. We achieved over 40% growth to the bottom line, had record revenue in many of our established markets, opened three new markets in the United States, and launched our first international office in London. It was a very good year.
More importantly, I continue to be impressed by the men and women at Slalom who represent us so well. Our people step forward to create better outcomes for each other, our clients and our communities on a daily basis. This is ultimately our purpose.
Our core values ground us in who we are, and are an active part of everything we do. Last year, we asked our employees to help us realize our strategy by making an intentional and personal investment in the core values that drive it. What transpired from there was inward and
outward reflection of how we can all become better, and make those around us better.
The incredible year we had in 2014 started with the rollout of our 2015 Strategy. This short two-year plan is intended to position us for a bigger leap towards 2020. Each of the six pillars in our strategy are framed by a long-term vision statement: our guideposts for what we want to achieve together. Throughout 2014, I believe we embraced the long-term potential of these visions and truly considered the possibilities each presents.
This year we’ll begin to build our 2020 Strategic Plan, bringing us closer to realizing the ambitious visions we’ve set. We’re on our way to achieving amazing things together.
It is truly a great time to be at Slalom. I am so grateful for the journey we are on, and all that has taken place. I am even more excited about the future.
We create amazing outcomes every day with our clients. In 2015, we are excited to share our new brand promise.
2014 was a pivotal year for The Studio, Slalom’s internal creative and publishing team. The re-launched Slalom.com has elevated the way we tell the stories about the positive impact we’re making on our clients, people and communities. We’ve shifted to an article-based publication model, similar to a magazine, to keep the content fresh and relevant to our viewers. The new site is more responsive, engaging and informative.
The Studio team also initiated the refresh of the Slalom brand in February 2015. The result is a brand that represents the company Slalom is today, and where it’s going in the future. From the brand promise and logo, to visuals and sales collateral, it’s an opportunity to expand how we connect with the people and clients who help make Slalom one of the best companies to work for in the U.S. and abroad.
Feel free to reach out with story ideas or thoughts on how we can continue bringing our brand to life.
Slalom’s backbone is – and always will be – our intimate, local model. Working where we live enables stronger relationships with our clients, our communities, and each other. The depth of relationships we build drive our culture and our business. Slalom’s established and newer markets all grew in 2014 because of these relationships.
Every market has its own personality while also feeling very much a part of the global Slalom family. We believe this is because every employee is uniquely grounded in our common core values.
We have literally hundreds of stories about the incredible work our men and women are helping our clients and communities do. Learn more about them by clicking on the images below.
*Numbers shown as of 12/31/2014
Made up of over 320 Slalom employees, 280 of whom are delivering for clients from the Delivery Centers, the National Delivery Network grew more than 30% in 2014. This growth allowed the team to be leveraged by every local market and support projects for nearly 300 clients. More importantly, every local market was able to support their clients’ most strategic projects with a combination of local expertise and remote project delivery using the National Delivery Network.
Our National Delivery Network expanded capabilities and resources in 2014 to support our growing local offices. Both Delivery Center locations in Chicago and Seattle saw tremendous growth with increased demand coming from established and new local markets and their clients.
We are entering 2015 riding great momentum. With the addition of Strategy and Operations, expansion of Delivery Leadership and User Experience practices and significant growth of Information Management and Analytics and Customer Engagement, 2015 will continue to elevate the type of strategic projects we are able to deliver and level of support we can provide.
We are seeing larger and longer term commitments from the marketplace and will open an additional Delivery Center on the East coast in the second quarter to compliment the Centers in Seattle and Chicago. With expansion into international markets such as London and Toronto, Slalom’s Delivery Center model will support clients around the world from their local countries.
Our National Industry teams help to solve our clients’ most important problems by bringing an industry perspective and by connecting like-minded local resources across the company.
In 2014 we continued to grow our National Financial Services team, adding additional experts in Payments, Capital Markets, and Life. We stood up our National Healthcare team, which is a combination of existing Slalom talent and new hires that were added to the team. We also added the Digital Strategy capability and team who bring exciting new skills and experiences around all things digital that we can apply to all of our industry teams.
One of the key reasons for Slalom’s continued growth is our tremendous sales engine. We employ a team-based approach where account leaders, practice leaders and our business development team work together to serve our clients. Our customer-centric approach fosters long-term relationships by delivering unique solutions using a sales process that is consistent, smooth, and responsive.
As we close in on being a billion dollar company, we have an opportunity to truly create a world-class sales organization. The National Sales Organization is an intentional investment, led by a small team focused on helping our leaders and business development community grow even stronger. We are building a rich, cross-market sales community that rivals any team in the industry.
In 2015, we’re enhancing our training and professional development capabilities for our leaders and business development team. We’re working to drive best practices in process and tools. We’re partnering with our Alliances team and marketing organization to facilitate additional impact for local markets. We’re assisting the National Delivery team and cross-market communities in their sales pursuits. We’re additionally working with local teams to support existing sales efforts, market campaigns, and new market acceleration.
The Alliance team combines market-leading software solutions and Slalom’s consulting services to help our clients with some of their most complex business challenges. In 2014 we saw tremendous returns leveraging our partner tools. We saw our clients start to adopt newer and more strategic environments, reporting methods and large scale applications.
Our partnerships for businesses create and give access to new products, extend the reach of new markets as each builds its business, surpass competitors and bring a new level of customer loyalty. Last year we earned the new partner classification of Microsoft US Alliance. We earned the highest partner category for Amazon Web Services (AWS) of Premier Partner. We also expanded our status with Salesforce to US Gold competency.
In 2014, we successfully completed technology projects with 64% of our clients. We know our business can only be as strong and sustainable as the level of investment we put into education and certification. We grew our certification portfolio across all of our partners highlighted with 358% growth in the number of certifications at Salesforce.
Slalom now has 69 registered partners within our portfolio, each providing a unique opportunity to serve our clients. We consistently marry our services with firms with common values, vision and mission. We understand that partnerships are fundamental to our global growth and will provide more avenues to support our mutual clients.
Launched in 2014, the National Products & Innovation practice was established to help clients rapidly and efficiently build innovative interactive engineered prototypes to validate business opportunities at a reduced initial investment. This approach has proven to deliver an exponential return across many Slalom business lines after the initial modeling phase is completed.
The team devoted the first half of 2014 to driving out this message to as many Slalom markets as possible. In the second half of 2014 the practice delivered key projects for our clients, which led to significant additional business for Slalom. We have strong momentum heading into 2015 with an increased emphasis on strategic Slalom market engagement.
Slalom Talent Acquisition is a core component to our growth and is tasked with hiring the best. They are the tip of the spear into new markets and a foundational pillar of mature markets. They build relationships into the community so we can hire consultants and leaders who live our core values and purpose. We have the best job in the world, bringing together a team of people who are passionate self-starters that embolden, inspire, and help create work environments that are infectious, exciting, and exhilarating.
In 2014, our Cross Market Communities evolved substantially. Each is focused on developing assets and thought leadership while enabling better collaboration among each of our local teams. We also added two new communities in 2014 to grow our business in Financial Services and Customer Engagement.
|Application Development||2014 saw the Application Development community deepening their usage and evangelism of the Atlassian suite for improved development collaboration. We launched a new community site to capture and share our signature projects, deliverables and best-in-class project artifacts. With help from our National teams, our 2015 plan includes building upon that foundation through the development of technology guidance, reference architectures and solution offerings that drive reusability and consistency across our market teams and their client solutions.|
|Customer Engagement||2014 was the launch year for our Customer Engagement community. We had a fantastic summit to define what Customer Engagement means by market and to share our best work. We now have 125+ people in our active community and consistent engagement on our monthly board and all-community calls. In 2015, we’ll see further advances in creating true products from our offerings and the continued evolution of how we work together effectively.|
|Customer Relationship Management (CRM)||Our focus in 2014 was on collaboration and access to the right information. We completely rethought how we will collaborate this year and beyond, and built a new community site as the place to go to get the best of the best across the markets. In 2015, we’re implementing a quarterly content curation process to ensure that we’re harvesting and publishing the best templates, deliverables, and work samples. This will allow more powerful and productive searches for content. We are additionally invested in integration between SharePoint and our Talent Management system to allow a more detailed search of consultant skills and experience.|
The Delivery Leadership community exists to inspire and enable the sharing of sales opportunities and challenges amongst the Practice Leaders from every market. Last year our efforts included a new collaboration portal and the harvesting of 25+ ‘best of’ collateral items across sales, delivery and marketing. Our 2015 plan is framed around 5 key initiatives: career path development, engaging marketing material, unique and packaged offerings, accessible sales collateral, and growth in shared ‘best of’ content on the collaboration portal.
|Financial Services||The Financial Services community launched in late 2014 adding an important lever to provide a more scalable content distribution outlet for activities and knowledge of the National Financial Services team. In 2015 the community will enable a self-service vehicle for Local Market resources to quickly search and locate the right information they need (client success stories, “hot topic” POVs, educational materials) aimed at accelerating and amplifying Slalom’s growing traction at Financial Services clients in all of our markets.|
The Healthcare Community has rallied around three major objectives: consultant education of key industry trends and client business drivers, networking across our local offices to leverage successes and subject matter expertise, and sharing our thought leadership in perspectives, offerings and solutions, and speaking engagements at industry conferences. In the past year we have gained participation in 15 of our markets, presented at 3 national conferences, and had active involvement at a local industry level in 6 of our markets. As we look to 2015, we see great opportunities of leveraging our National Practice’s offerings and continuing to develop the career paths of our locally based consultants.
|Information Management & Analytics (IM&A)||IM&A made major contributions to Thought Leadership in 2014: platinum sponsorship and a speaking engagement at the Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit, more than 50 blog posts to Slalom.com, multiple visualization contest wins for Tableau and Qlikview, dozens of speaking engagements and published whitepapers, and the launch of the Advanced Analytics Center of Excellence. This talented group published three articles highlighting our Slalom Point of View (POV) on Text Analytics, the Internet of Things, and Customer Analytics. We have additionally grown our Tableau community to 137 members, and an incredible 3 of 20 global Tableau Zen Masters are now Slalom employees.|
|The OE community had a number of accomplishments in 2014. We launched the OE Editorial Board and published 12 new articles on Slalom.com. We released the new OE National portal including active content curation. We developed a new offering focused on 14 ‘spotlight’ projects where sales materials, deliverables, and credentials are available to all OE community members. We additionally supported the startup of 3 new OE practices in various stages of development in New York, Houston, and very recently London.|
|Portals & Collaboration||In 2014, we drove learning and innovation through gamification and competitive challenges across three different areas: additional harvesting of intellectual property, development of project stories along with a curated repository, and improved communications to the community through additional channels and a regular cadence. This year the community will concentrate on commoditizing repeatable solutions and investing in additional technology platforms, with a heavy emphasis on Sitecore.|
|Retail||2014 included a re-launch of the National Retail Community with a commitment to having a diverse and active community in which people can connect to share stories and knowledge of the retail industry. In 2015, our community goals include developing a knowledge hub to share our stories, highlighting the many capabilities being built by local markets, and sharing educational/training opportunities in retail with the community.||User Experience (UX)||In 2014, the UX Community drove two key initiatives. First was the successful completion of an internal realignment exercise in each market to infuse UX into more strategic client conversations. This has resulted in some markets rebranding their teams as Experience Strategy and Design (XSD). The second initiative focused on identifying and beginning to implement best practices surrounding practice operations, particularly those related to growth and development of XSD consultants across the world.|
Our methodology for opening markets domestically continues to flourish. In 2014 we established new markets in Phoenix, Silicon Valley, and Houston. Houston’s exceptional growth was record-breaking for Slalom.
We opened our first international office – London – in autumn 2014, with an initial focus on building the local leadership team. We’ve made great strides in hiring a talented group of senior professionals including leaders for Information Management & Analytics (IM&A), Software Engineering, Technology Enablement, Digital, and Organizational Effectiveness (OE). Additionally we added marketing, recruiting, and sales to our growing UK family. With the right leaders in place, in 2015 we’re turning our attention to growth both in terms of consultants and client work. We’re excited to be up and running across the pond, and in sharing the lessons we’ve learned with our next international market in Toronto.
In 2015, our market growth will continue as we venture into Canada and Philadelphia.
According to our research, Toronto is the largest market opportunity for us in Canada with similar demographics and opportunities to our largest U.S. cities. Over the past six months we have met many strong leaders there. Our executive leaders are making regular trips there to help launch our 2nd international office. Our plan is to open Toronto in Q2.
Philadelphia is the 12th largest market in the US, and a strategic investment for us. We have officially hired our first Philadelphia employee as part of the National Recruiting team. We are focused on identifying our General Manager and market launch team, and plan to open Philadelphia in Q3.
In 2015, we will concentrate on early market research in the Washington, D.C. area. We’d like to launch D.C. in early 2016.
Our people bring their best selves to work every day, delivering with passion, commitment, and great ideas to help their clients succeed. We strive for our people to experience personal and professional growth, support, and challenge as they do so. Slalom Talent supports the Career pillar of our 2015 strategy, enabling our consultants to thrive professionally and provide even greater value and service to our clients.
The Career portal on our company intranet was reimagined in 2014 as the home of all professional development resources at Slalom. It provides a variety of ways to develop skills and expertise on-the job or in a class. Content is organized by consulting skills, practice areas, project disciplines, and the Slalom competencies. 95% of users say they would recommend it to others at Slalom.
In 2014 we rolled out several new classes and established a core curriculum of both classroom and virtual learning programs that include Consulting the Slalom Way, Introductory Client Meetings, Building Client Relationships, DISC, and Executive Presence. Content from our Integral Leadership Program (ILP) has been customized for everyone at Slalom and began rolling out in Q4. 113 volunteer facilitators were instrumental in contributing to the development of our people. Employees all over Slalom also leveraged the Professional Development benefit for external training.
Our leaders are critical to Slalom’s success; we continued our investment in ILP for our director-employees with 7 classes, and launched Slalom Lift for all other leaders in September. This 8-month cross-market program brings participants together in cohorts of 36, and includes 360° feedback, in-person workshops, and coaching from senior leaders. Over 400 leaders will participate over the next few years with long-term positive impact on our consultants and the business as our leaders become even stronger.
2014 was the first full year of focusing on employee performance. At Slalom that means lots of feedback and ongoing conversations about how our employees are doing. Slalom Edge, our performance management system, has continued to help both individuals and People Managers better manage the key areas of employee development: goal setting, recognition, performance feedback, development planning, learning registration, and compensation management.
In 2015, we’ll be tackling onboarding and recognition, enhancing the feedback process in our Slalom Edge, building new classes, and continuing to focus on career development for consultants.
Slalom is known for our tight-knit culture. The relationships we have with each other, our clients, and our communities are driven by our core values that are truly representative of who we are. In 2014, our employees worked together to create a mobile collaboration solution that will be rolled out in 2015. We made strong investments in Corporate Citizenship and Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. We additionally continued to expand our Equity Incentive Programs.
Slalom is deeply committed to strengthening the communities we serve. We support the passions of our employees and rally the company to get involved whenever possible. Over the past year, many of us got ice-bucketed with our General Managers. A lot of employees walked, ran, rode bikes, or grew moustaches to raise money for numerous causes. Across each of our offices, Slalom people and teams found innovative and fun ways to get involved and make a difference.
In 2014, we continued to expand our Philanthropy Fellows program which places consultants on a 3-month assignment to provide pro-bono services to a local non-profit for their strategic initiatives. Last year we partnered with organizations doing incredible work, including United Way of King County, Washington STEM, StolenYouth, Larkin Street Youth Services, and the Technology Access Foundation.
In addition, many of our local practice teams took on their own pro-bono efforts to benefit the important work each is doing in the local community. 2014 engagements included the Ben Towne Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of King County, Friends of the Children, Imerman Angels, NoStigmas, Pike Place Market Foundation, and YWCA Metropolitan Chicago.
Slalom has unparalleled breadth and depth of impact for a company our size, and we look forward to expanding our efforts as the company continues to grow. The investment we make in our communities matters, and others are taking note. We’re proud to have won Consulting Magazine's inaugural award for "Excellence in Social & Community Investment."
A diverse culture of true inclusion is a critical success factor in the future growth of our firm. At Slalom, we're continually striving for a team balanced in representation and style, where all people can be their best.
In this vein we advanced our efforts in 2014 by placing added emphasis on inclusion, which leverages the value of diversity by creating and perpetuating an environment of rich dialogue, unique perspectives, and participatory decision making. Simply put: we need to embrace different thinking, opinions and people more proactively. When we do, we believe the strength, cohesion and success of our team can only increase - which translates into better delivery and solutions for our clients.
Inclusion & Diversity 2.0 represents a critical cultural and organizational competency that will allow Slalom to compete at the highest level and deliver top value to our clients. We are organized into five key work streams: Affinity Groups, Talent Management, Human Resources, Recruiting, and Local Markets. In addition, a full-time Program Management resource is dedicated to the effort in order to help us stay focused on moving the needle and driving key initiatives.
We’re already making progress. In 2014, Slalom was one of only 18 consulting firms to receive a 100% score on the 2015 Corporate Equality Index rating American workplaces on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality. Our female affinity group, The Women's Leadership Network (WLN), has been reshaped to gain more traction and consistency across all Slalom markets with a mission to engage, inspire, and encourage every Slalom woman to achieve her full and unique potential. We've also made improvements to our benefits, including Maternity Benefit improvements, a Slalom New Mother Re-Entry program, and the creation of a formal program whereby existing parents can serve as mentors to new parents.
While proud of the progress we've made since we launched our Inclusion and Diversity initiatives at Slalom, we are nowhere near to declaring victory. We are eager to continue to learn as we improve, and remain optimistic about cultivating an environment where, with Slalom, you can truly love your future.
Successful companies thrive on the passion and creativity of their employees, and truly great and sustainable companies are built when employees have the opportunity to see their contributions through the entrepreneurial experience. At Slalom, we strongly believe in broadening ownership to the men and women who are inventing, building, and running the Company. Our equity incentive program delivers a truly innovative and unique opportunity for individuals to purchase equity in our Company. We believe this sets us apart from comparable companies.
One of our goals with our equity incentive program is to attract, retain and reward talented individuals at all levels of the company and across all of our markets who are looking for a dynamic organization in which to invest their career, and in so doing create an engaging, multi-generational culture within Slalom. We have made significant progress in broadening ownership throughout the Company, and are excited to continue offering this opportunity in the years to come.