When I joined Kiefer Consulting in 2016, I was joining a company that was approaching it’s 30th year in business. I had a lot to learn about how we got to where we were and where we were going. We had a stellar reputation and clearly we had staying power. But, I could tell, change was on the horizon.
By 2017, Microsoft 365 was growing in popularity, the terms” mobile-first” and “cloud-first” were pervasive, and organizations seemed to be ready to invest in digital transformation. It felt possible that Kiefer could see some significant shifts in the marketplace. This was the beginning of a very exciting time in our company’s history, but nobody was quite sure how to prepare or what we might expect.
At this time, approximately 85% of our business was coming from state and local government contracts. Our reputation as being one of the best SharePoint firms had helped us in securing contracts with several departments within the State of California. Out SharePoint practice was working on large scale migrations to the cloud, providing SharePoint support, and doing custom development that allowed organizations to do more with SharePoint. We weren’t just doing SharePoint, we had a rock-solid team of .NET folks, mobile development capabilities, and, at the time, were even building public-facing websites.
2018: Establishing 4 Practice Areas
In 2018, we started to narrow our focus and created 4 practice areas that reflected our organization’s collective expertise. We identified the technical leaders (principals) that would lead each practice, and identified the services we would offer. We were becoming more than just a SharePoint shop… we were demonstrating expertise across all aspects of Microsoft 365, including Teams, Power BI, and workflow tools like Flow. At this time, we wanted to identify what we were good at and what types of projects we were comfortable taking on, now, and in the future. Kiefer does not “staff” projects and our team consists of only full-time benefited employees, so we can work collaboratively with our employees to ensure that we have the right skill sets across the team to deliver in each of our 4 practice areas.
2019: Growth Mode
In 2019, Kiefer started to see the work we did in 2018 really start to payoff. We had a good resourcing model, an excellent and experienced team of consultants, and more work-in-hand than ever before. We rolled into 2020 feeling confident and had good momentum to repeat our 2019 success in 2020.
2020: Uncertainty and Adapting to Change
In March 2020, Kiefer, like so many other organizations were caught by surprise by the pandemic. We shifted to remote delivery for many clients and started to offer free services to help other businesses stay productive while adapting to their employees working from their homes. We helped organizations deploy Microsoft Teams and shared best practices for leveraging Microsoft 365 to support remote work. During the first 6 months of the pandemic, we saw an increase in private-sector clients (local and not so local) reaching out to us to provide services. Typically, if an organization wasn’t based in the greater Sacramento area, the chances of them becoming a customer was not likely. This changed during the pandemic. As more organizations became comfortable with the idea of work be performed remotely, our team of consultants were able to connect with clients using Microsoft Teams. Our delivery teams were provided with remote access and work was performed off-site. In 2020, Kiefer’s portfolio of customers changed, and we started working with more organizations in the private sector than ever before.
The last 3 years have been full of changes, but I guess you can call them “good changes”. I wasn’t around for the first 28 years, but I can tell you that we made some big moves in the last 3 years that I am very proud of. There are days where Kiefer feels like a well-established firm with a solid reputation and there are other days where Kiefer feels like a “start-up” and that we are flexible enough to adapt and change when we need to. I love what we do at Kiefer and the team I get to work with every day, and I look forward to the road ahead. Greg (Kiefer) has built something that he should be very proud of. I know as employees, we are very proud of what Kiefer stands for.