What does a location strategy consultant do?
We often get asked what people who work at .id actually do, and what sort of skills and background they have.
To help answer those questions, we will be publishing a series of occasional blogs written by members of the team highlighting what they do and what for them makes .id a great place to work.
Last week we met Rob Hall, an Urban Economist. This week – meet Sally Blandy, one of our location strategy consultants and client managers…
I was always interested in geography, demographics and anything maps. Geography was one of my favourite subjects at school and a world atlas was one of the few books my parents could get me to read. I went on to do an Urban Planning degree at Melbourne University and it was during a guest lecture when a location planner from 7-11 came to speak to us about their role I knew this was the path I wanted to pursue.
I was lucky enough to secure myself a graduate role working with Bernard Salt as a management consultant at KPMG. The role was clearly a good one as I worked there for eight years becoming an Associate Director before deciding it was time to embark on a new challenge.
Prior to joining .id 15 months ago I knew .id as the company that produced population forecasts for local government. At the time however, I wasn’t aware of the breadth of services .id provide and in particular their work in the non-local government sector around location analysis. I work with these clients providing advice, consulting services, demographic information and tools to help them make important decisions about where to locate their services.
My clients cross all industries, providing services through the continuum of life from early learning, education, property, retail, retirement living, aged care and right through end-of-life where we work with the General Melbourne Cemetery Trust to forecast the number of deaths and the demand for land based on burial preferences. Some of these projects are detailed on our case studies page if you’d like to find out more about them.
In particular I have been really proud of the work we are doing with the Department of Education in Victoria to customise our location analysis platform (.idPlacemaker) containing detailed population forecasts (SAFi) so that they can analyse the supply and demand for education services and plan for the additional 175,000 school age children who will be in the Victorian education system by 2026.
The work we do is always a team effort. Much of my role involves pulling together a team of people with the right skills to get the job the done. We then work with the client to understand the key strategic questions they are trying to answer and develop a scope of work around this. We are big believers that less is often more and that by first unpacking the client questions we can be more targeted and pointy in our response. Death by numbers and analysis paralysis driven by too much information is certainly something we help our clients to avoid.
One of the big changes I noticed moving from a large professional services firm to a smaller business was the sense of collaboration. Time sheets and individual KPI’s have made way for team goals. There is an incredible amount of knowledge in-house and everyone is willing to take the time to share it. We also work very collaboratively with our clients and become part of their team – usually for many years.
I enjoy the variety of hats I get to put on every day at work. As I work in a relatively new part of the business I have the opportunity to shape and grow the business from close to the ground up. This involves everything from business planning, strategy, marketing, sales, consulting, project management and client relationship management.
To give you an idea of what the last few months of my working life has looked like, it has included:
- Project managing jobs for the Department of Education Victoria, two independent schools, a Big Four bank, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Western Australia and others.
- Scoping projects and writing proposals for clients including an aged care provider and a major sporting body.
- Finalising contract negotiations with new and existing clients.
- Travelling to Sydney and Perth to meet with existing and prospective clients.
- Providing .idPlacemaker training to clients including Water Corporation in WA, Uniting Care, Legal Aid and the YMCA.
- Helping to write an Ebook on the education sector.
- Discussing development improvements for our .idPlacemaker platform with our in-house user-experience designers and developers.
- Planning the launch of our updated NSW SAFi population forecasts.
- Hosting an exhibition booth and following up on enquiries from the Chief Strategy Officer Summit in Melbourne.
- Discussing with one of our long standing education clients an upcoming joint presentation.
- Participating in presentation skills and Agile training.
- Beginning work on the next one and five year business plan.
- Contributing to the plans for the new office refurbishment.
- Work-shopping ideas to refine our in-bound marketing strategy.
- Writing this blog!
What I’m looking forward most to in the next couple of years is growing the location analysis business and extending our reach into more organisations. I am also looking forward to seeing how the work we are doing with our clients is making a difference within their organisations and the broader community.
We are currently hiring and you might like to learn more about the position at careers at .id.
You might also like to learn more about location analysis.
.id is a team of population experts, who use a unique combination of online tools and consulting to help organisations decide where and when to locate their facilities and services, to meet the needs of changing populations. Access our free demographic resources here.
Which age groups are growing fastest in Australia? Read our ebook: Three growth markets in Australia