Interview with Mr Giuseppe Zagami, the president of Mind The Value
Fast-growing Italy-based company Mind The Value has made a name for itself with its consultancy services in support of management, operations, decision-making, and business and systems integration. Here, company president Giuseppe Zagami fills us in on what makes the company tick, and outlines how he envisions the future of management consultancy.
Hello, Mr Zagami! Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk to us. Could we begin with a few words about your workday? What does a normal day look like for you?
Hello, it is a pleasure talking to you. There are no normal days in my job; even the most normal day at the end turns out to be totally abnormal. My day usually starts with a review of the daily agenda, where I always add thoughts and ideas that came to my mind during the previous evening and during the night-time, as I truly believe inspiration is an ongoing process. I always keep abreast of news by reading national and international newspapers after breakfast. My working day at the office starts with the prioritisation of activities. After reading emails and checking priorities with business unit managers, I coordinate activities, giving priority to the tasks that other people depend on. I review with the top management the coordination of their teams and how they have planned the next steps on a project, focusing on what their final objectives are and how they are planning to get there.
The hardest thing during the working day is to find a balance between the time I need to dedicate to clients’ programmes and projects in order to reach the results we are expecting, and the time needed for our company internal development and coordination. In the mornings, I usually also take the chance to coordinate with our professionals and clients based in the Australian and APAC areas, whilst during the afternoon I focus on the activities concerning North America and Europe. With regard to activities, my daily time is split between business development, issue resolution, people management, decision-making, update meetings and much more. The only moment in which I take a break from work is when I manage to practice some sport during lunch time, but unfortunately it is not always possible. When I come back home after a working day, I try to dedicate myself entirely to my family till the next morning, when everything starts again with renewed energy.
Mind The Value was founded in 2011. Could you tell us what have been the main milestones in the evolution of the company since then?
We founded our company in the middle of one of the most critical financial scenarios, as Italy and the rest of the world were facing a crisis that still impacts us all nowadays. The first months after the foundation were entirely dedicated to the search for a first client who would believe in us and in our value proposition. Those were hard times in which, somewhere at the back of our minds, we still hung on to the idea of shelving all our efforts and going back to being employees. After five months of research, chance gave us an unexpected but strategically managed opportunity, as I was offered a role as managing director in a company and we managed to convert the role’s tasks and objectives into consulting services. It was a win-win solution for both parties and it marked the moment we signed our very first client.
After one year of successful initiatives and a significant growth of the team, which allowed us to carry out several activities with other clients at the same time, we got involved in a huge programme for an Italian multinational company which is worldwide leader in its sector. That opportunity gave us the chance to grow significantly, in terms of size and number of projects managed.
In 2014, one of our team members was looking for international experience and we matched this opportunity with one of our clients to start an internationalisation process by opening a US office in Atlanta. In 2016, the same opportunity arrived for Australia, as we opened a new office in Sydney. The company has continued to grow strongly since then, until in 2017 and 2018 we were recognised by the Financial Times as one of the 1,000 fastest-growing companies in Europe for two years in a row. The following year marked the company consolidation phase; we became a SAP Gold Partner after relentless work in certifying our resources, and a Magento partner with the opening of the Mind The Value Tech Labs in Chisinau, where we have invested our efforts in specialising in emerging technologies. Starting from the beginning of 2020, we have been designing and applying a new internal organisational structure, building a full team of middle managers who, we hope, will be the fuel for a reinforced growth. We are currently working on the formalisation and restructuring of our internal operative model, implementing new solutions to support business guidance.
The services provided by Mind The Value span three main areas: management consulting, operational consulting and decision-making consulting. Specifically with regard to management consulting, could you tell us a little about your company’s general approach to that, and what key benefits you are able to bring for your customers?
In our value proposition, management consulting services are focused on building a bridge between business challenges and technologies in order to enable expected business benefits. We are pioneers in business process mining consulting services, supporting our customers in identifying process improvement opportunities, leveraging our experiences and the best-of-breed tools for process mining and process automation. Among process reengineering activities, which are frequently connected with system integration projects, we focus on generating efficiency and effectiveness in multi-functional processes, building bridges and integration rules between different company departments and addressing the necessary actions for change management. Last, but not least, we are experts in supporting our clients in rethinking and redesigning processes to address new business scenarios, frequently generated by the implementation of digital disruption initiatives.
Mind The Value’s operational consulting services offer businesses the opportunity to optimise their day-to-day operations. How do you approach providing such services to potentially very different business operations? Is it possible to apply the same general methodologies in each case?
The key element in order to enable the possibility to support completely different landscapes is flexibility. Our functional consulting teams combine extreme specialisation in specific process areas with significant flexibility in understanding different businesses and technologies, making the wide variety of past experiences a key element to support creative thinking when designing and implementing solutions. The same degree of flexibility is required by our technical teams, which are formed by team members with expertise in multiple programming languages, in order to guarantee a degree of independence for technical solutions, maintaining at the same time strong capabilities in our core technical business in SAP implementations. Talent acquisition and development are key to enabling this fast-adapting and fast-learning approach.
Decision-making consulting is another of Mind The Value’s services. How do businesses tend to make use of this service? For example, might they recognise that decision-making generally is something that they need to improve on, and so seek your help with that? Or are they more likely to come to you when they have already hit a period where tricky decisions have to be taken and they need your help with more-specific issues?
Are there some areas of decision-making that you find cause more problems for business leaders than others, and that consequently you find yourselves dealing with more often?
What we notice very often is that companies are more likely to invest in technologies and activities directly connected to clients or to revenue-generating channels. What is not considered most of the time is that internal process optimisation is as important as investing in direct revenue-related activities. We live in a very interconnected era, and we are all aware that market conditions affect companies. What is less evident is that what happens within such companies has a tremendous impact on their external players, operations and capacity to penetrate a market. Decision-making processes should consider everything that happens within a business, including processes and areas that are not directly linked to the single decision, since the final result will be impacted by multiple elements.
A lot of businesses are contemplating the effects of digital transformation, which presents a range of significant challenges to management, in terms of strategy, decision-making and change-management, to name but a few. What assistance can Mind The Value provide for businesses in this situation?
Our value proposition is quite unique. We face digital transformation initiatives with a turnkey approach by aggregating several skills and expertise under a unique reference that guarantees the conversion of business challenges into realised business benefits. Our distinctive characteristic is the integration between market and company, with internal processes and operations, applying different skills and competencies. We do not like to consider ourselves as a service-providing company, as we manage our clients’ challenges and business objectives as if they were our own. We are more likely to be considered by our clients as their growth partner. We manage together with them everything that concerns expected results; we integrate and evaluate the whole scenario of the company and market.
These days, the notions of sustainability and protection of the environment are very much in people’s minds, in both the social and the business context. What do you think are the implications of these factors for today’s business leaders? Does Mind The Value’s services offering recognise this dimension of business management?
The management team at Mind The Value has had a strong focus on sustainability since the first years of activity, as our company’s core business is based on economic sustainability as a result of process optimisation. In the last years, we have boosted our effort by building up a new business unit focused on environmental and social sustainability.
Our approach consists in supporting our clients from the initial analysis and identification of initiatives, passing through the definition of sustainability plans and implementation of single initiatives to the communication of impacts and preparation of sustainability reports in compliance with GRI standards.
The offices at Mind The Value Moldova
It is widely accepted that a company’s most important asset is its workforce, and that, consequently, a business is well advised to take measures to ensure its employees’ well-being. Does Mind The Value have any programmes, schemes or mechanisms in place that aim to address this issue for its own employees? Does the working environment have an important role to play?
We consider workforce management as a strategic process and we give it top priority. Human capital management in our business sector is extremely complex and it requires the ability to keep the alignment between the company’s and the people’s personal objectives.
First of all, we ensured a selection process that evaluates the personal and professional qualities of new members who apply to join our teams. We always knew we wanted a strong and collaborative environment with a very simple and open hierarchy that streamlines relationships, idea generation and constructive opinions and participation in all directions. The result is that most of the people working at Mind The Value are also friends outside of the working environment and this changes radically the way we work together by making it fun and pleasant.
From a career perspective, we do not follow a predefined career path. We would rather build specific career paths in accordance with personal attitudes and by linking career growth to market recognition and achieved results.
I expect that management consulting services will evolve progressively in scenarios that are closer to business process outsourcing, rather than pure consulting. Consulting companies that are leading the sector will become the partners of their clients to support growth and to enable new and rationalised models of workforce management. Only the players that manage to build this kind of trusted relationship with clients will be in a condition to compete effectively in the new scenario. The second key element will be the capacity to dominate complexity, combining all the factors required to generate value and being in a position to give a full comprehensive service by taking responsibility for the achieved results.
It is often said that the key to a happy personal and professional life is finding a suitable equilibrium between those two dimensions – in other words, a work-life balance. What, for you personally, is an ideal work-life balance?
Do what you like and you will never work a day in your life, they say, and considering the time and the effort dedicated to work, I could not agree more. Another key element is to surround yourself with people who share your values and ideals, and this is definitely the case, as the board of our company is composed of people I trust and strongly appreciate. I am grateful for having a respectful and solid relationship with all our internal and external stakeholders. We are a great and extraordinarily strong and close-knit team and it is very likely that personal life blends into the working one.
Finally, the word “success” means many things to many people. How would you, personally, define success?
Success is finding the perfect match between passions and duties. When you accomplish this and you are in a position to give the same opportunity to people that share with you their personal and professional journey, you can say that you have achieved a great result.
Born in Como, Giuseppe Zagami graduates from Politecnico di Milano in Management Engineering in 2001. He starts his career as business consultant in one of the most important consulting firms worldwide. His specialisation in process optimisation focuses on supply chain and technology supporting processes. In 2011 he founds Mind The Value, international consulting company that provides decision-making, management and operational consulting services, with the aim to create a more flexible and dynamic approach to companies growth.