Finding skilled data experts is a critical part of advancing your data program. Cloud Data Engineer and standup comedian Nick Joseph provides an entertaining look at what to consider as you weigh the pros and cons of hiring a data consulting firm vs building your own team.

Why Hire a Data Consulting Firm

Not too long ago, data collection involved people hanging out in shopping mall food courts, holding clipboards. You’d dodge them as best you could, but the savvy ones knew how to get you: at your weakest moment, savoring that sweet, sweet second sample of Orange Chicken.

One minute, you’re floating on some flavor cloud of ginger and soy, the next: your Inbox is full of skin-care ads, animal adoption guilt trips, and coupons with exploding firecrackers all over them. (Worthy of note: never any coupons for Orange Chicken. Which is odd, given that they cornered you while you were proving your love for it.)

Then, somewhere around 2010, retailers like Target got smart. They looked at all the data they’d collected from people’s purchases and realized, “Hey, data can tell a story!” And not just any story, but THE story: why their customers were buying.

After that, you may have noticed your Inbox was now full of ads for seeds and gardening soil. Why? Because back in late-February you bought a hose, and Target knew: unless you were running a kennel or had a firefighting club for kids, you had a garden, and Spring was right around the corner.

Word got out, and data exploded. Every business from Target to the Department of Defense began collecting so much data on people that they not only knew who their customer “Mike” was, but that “Mike” was single, lived in a two-story house, and had a pet squirrel named “Pineapple.”

Then, data got big. Real big.

Enter the data consultant.

From Mess to Magic: What a Data Consulting Firm Does

If you owned a grocery store, you wouldn’t want a big pile of all your food offerings in the middle of the floor, would you? No! You’d want it cleaned up and looking nice to ensure your customers have a great shopping experience.

That’s what data consulting firms do: clean and categorize your data so you can actually put it to use. From the chaos, they create order.

At Data Clymer, for instance, we work alongside you and your team to determine the type of data you’re working with and the specific insights you want gleaned from it. Our experienced team of data architects, data engineers, and analytic engineers then design and propose solutions to fit your circumstance. No boilerplates here—each client’s needs are unique.

Once the data strategy and approach is approved, those same people you were working with in the design phase get to work implementing that strategy: creating everything from custom Fivetran and ticketing data connectors for data extraction to data transformations your data warehouse can easily digest. We can even set up access privileges around your data stack to comply with your organization’s data governance needs if you’d like.

Because ultimately, our goal isn’t data; our goal is your success with that data.

In the end, you get trustworthy, high-performing, scalable products your data analysts, marketing teams, and sales teams can use with ease. (In tech speak: “data democratization.”)

But Why Not Just Do It on Your Own? 5 Benefits of Hiring a Data Consulting Firm

Hiring a data consulting firm can be pretty scary, especially when you consider upfront costs. So why not just hire a new Analytics Engineer or Data Engineer to do all this, you wonder? Well, several things.

1: Cost-effective

A data consulting firm is hired to come in and be a rockstar for your organization while they absorb all the hidden costs of insurance, leave, scheduling, project management, etc. These are very real and significant cost-savings built into every bid.

2: Tailored solutions

The final deliverable is yours—tailored to your business, your demands, and your clientele. The right data consulting firm will leave you a final product that makes your data better: cleaner, more insightful, and more up-to-date. All that raw data that’s just as complicated as it looks will now be accessible and digestible to everyone from your Sales Team to your CEO.

And because the final deliverable is based on a modern data architecture that you own, you’ll have the flexibility, scalability, and transparency you need to advance your data strategy.

3: Flexibility

The right data consulting firm will do all this for you, plus be there on speed dial if you need them in the future. That’s part of the beauty of a consultant: they’re there when you need them, and not when you don’t. Ever get talked into buying something and as soon as there’s a problem, nobody’s around to help you fix it? No data consultant can survive with a reputation like that.

4: Speed

Instead of searching for an individual who knows every step of the process (and every language involved in that process), the right data consulting firm is staffed with team members who can do it for you.

Small teams of specialists are brought into the fold at the outset of the project, so once you and your data consultant(s) are clear on your objective, it’s off to the races. No dealing with lengthy candidate searches, interview processes, or wondering whether or not your new hire plays well with others.

5: Fun

Last but not least: it’s fun. Data Clymer is staffed top to bottom with people who not only love working with data, but helping clients achieve their goals as well. Sure, it’s not all rainbows and pony riding, but as clients before can attest: we can get it pretty darn close.

What to Look for in a Data Consulting Firm

Not all data consulting firms are created equal. You’ll be working closely alongside your data consultants, so it’s important to choose wisely. Here are a few qualities the best data analytics consulting firms emulate.


The one thing that may be more important than your actual customer data is the people you have working with it. Not to gloss over the ever-critical matters of general honesty and personal integrity, but you want a team that knows how to keep your original data safe and untouched while they dive in looking for ways to improve it.

After all, your customers have entrusted you with some very delicate information. It’s up to you to make sure the people you have looking at that information keep it as secure as your customer intends.


Data is incredibly powerful, and the information you can get from it just boggles the mind. However, data is also chock full of jargon. Eye-glazing shop-talk like “Fivetran connectors” and “semantic layers” mean nothing to someone who just wants to know whether their customers prefer milk chocolate over dark.

A good data consultant should be able to communicate all these concepts in terms people at every level of your organization can understand. If you hire someone who develops a program that fixes all your problems with the click of a button, but you can’t get to that button, what good did they really do for you?


Seems like a no-brainer, but you want to make sure the data consulting firm you hire has a broad base of knowledge when it comes to anything having to do with the data pipeline. (See? Right there: jargon. Sorry. By “data pipeline,” I meant “anything having to do with taking your raw data and creating actionable insights from it.”)

Computers used to take up entire buildings and now your iPhone has more computational power than a dozen NASA campuses did back in the 1960’s. You can literally send an astronaut to the moon from your phone (but—free data consultant recommendation—don’t do it).

That’s how the data landscape is: more and more can be done with less and less.

So make sure to look for data consultants that have expertise across a broad tool set, yet remain technology agnostic. This will allow consultants to make the best tool recommendations for your business, rather than recommending only those technologies that are already incorporated into their offering or that they have relationships with.

Thinking of Hiring a Data Consulting Firm?

Data Clymer provides data consulting services and data solutions to companies across nearly every industry. Our expert data consultants have helped organizations like Macy’s, GoodRX, Omnigo, Kentik, the Big 10 Conference and the San Francisco Giants tap into actionable insights and improve their bottom line. Contact us to find out how we can help with your data consulting needs.