James West on his first year at First Consulting in the UK

22 November 2019 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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James West recently celebrated his 1-year anniversary at First Consulting. Consultancy.uk caught up with the Associate Partner at the consultancy to discuss his year so far.

“Growing up in Wiltshire, I left the rolling hills for the Midlands where I studied Civil Engineering at Loughborough University. After 5 years of study, I landed a graduate job with Accenture, where I spent over 16 years. During my time there, I worked with a number of amazing clients, spanning a variety of different sectors, including: consumer goods, utilities and oil & gas.”

“Throughout my career, the projects I have worked on have predominately been in the business technology domain. In 2018 I was on the look for a new challenge and that is where the First Consulting chapter started.”

“From a personal life perspective, I live in Walton on Thames in Surrey with my fiancée. We have just welcomed the arrival of our son, Thomas, who is now a little over 2 months old. It has been an amazing life changing experience; who knew you could lose so much time chatting to a baby! When I find a free couple of hours I like to head to the Surrey Hills on my mountain bike.”

James West on his first year at First Consulting in the UK

Why First Consulting

Asked why he joined First Consulting, West highlights three areas:

The start-up culture: “During my search for a new challenge I was placed in contact with Jon Nelmes, the UK Managing Partner for First Consulting. We talked about how Jon and the Dutch Partners want to replicate the impressive growth of the Dutch practice in the UK. It really appealed to me to work for a start-up with the backing of the larger Dutch practice. This enables the UK team to grow, define itself and borrow expertise to help clients when needed.”

The people: “It is a little cliché to say that the people make the firm, but it was extremely important to me to find a company culture with similar values to my own. First Consulting’s core values reflect who they (and now we) are as an organisation. The values were chosen by the company as a collective to define who we are and how we work. We have a strong focus on having fun whilst delivering value to our clients, which truly makes it a great place to work.”

The work First Consulting does: “With Business Integration at the heart of what we do, First Consulting does not just advise on operational effectiveness or business technology, we bring the capability to deliver the end to end. This is an important aspect of consulting for me, the implementation is where you demonstrate how effective the new way of working can be in order to achieve the client’s business outcomes.”

His first year

“The time certainly has flown by. First Consulting felt like home from day one, and with the ever-growing UK team (we have nearly doubled since I joined), we continue to attract people who exude our core values and who integrate and feel part of the team immediately.”

“Over the past months, I have worked with some great clients, on some very interesting projects. One of the real highlights has been looking at how image recognition and artificial intelligence can be combined to identify a specific piece of equipment in situ. The First Consulting team rapidly pulled together a proof of concept to evaluate the capabilities of IBM Watson, developing an integrated Mendix application with an attractive user interface that allowed the client to see AI in action. There was a great sense of pride in showing what First Consulting can do within short timeframes.”

Alongside his consulting work, West further assumes a lead role in contributing to the firm’s growth. With a wealth of delivery experience across his 17 years of consulting, one of his key focus areas is to help grow the expertise and the delivery capabilities and skills of the UK team.

First Consulting has strong growth ambitions. In a recent interview with Consultancy.eu, Managing Partner Geert van den Goor outlined how the firm plans to grow into a 1,000-strong Western European consulting firm in the next five years.