At Amplify Consulting Partners, Luke Newman works alongside a team of brilliant consultants to deliver digital transformation for clients
This story was written by Luke Newman and Suzanne LeBoeuf in collaboration for The Bellevue Zone.
Amplify emphasizes empowerment and growth for its stakeholders. To build people is their why, secret sauce, and competitive advantage. In their work, they focus on the ‘how’ of their methods before the ‘what’ of their projects. In their data practice, for example, the how is by telling a story with data. The what is data analysis and reporting.
Amplify Consulting Partners delivers its services under the umbrella of digital transformation. Specifically, they focus on technical engineering, analytics, marketing, and program management. And according to the Puget Sound Business Journal, which rated Amplify Consulting as one of the top 100 fastest-growing companies headquartered in Washington State from 2018-2020, it seems like they’re onto something. The Bellevue Zone wanted to learn more, so we spoke with Luke Newman, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Amplify Consulting Partners, Inc.
“We’re a full-services consulting firm,” Newman began. “We build in-house teams and we send them out to clients to support them in a variety of areas. Our clients are primarily enterprises, but we have some smaller ones as well. We focus on digital transformation, which ends up being cloud application development, system integration, Web 3, etc.”
Newman also described some of the data services that Amplify provides including data engineering, visual analytics, and machine learning / artificial intelligence. Amplify’s approach to analytics helps their clients interpret data to find action items and puts their information to work. “The final area is marketing. We tend to a lot of work on the technical side of marketing: performance marketing, marketing automation, lifecycle and retention - those kinds of things.”
Amplify also focuses on the fundamentals: “Another core competency is project and program management, which is the basic blocking and tackling of consulting. It’s just that we tend to do it very well.” Newman believes this attention to the basics helps build relationships that last with clients. “Most of our clients are long term clients, and they stay with us. My theory for why they stay with us is how we do the work. It’s in our approach to project and program management.”
At Amplify, communication is the key to data analysts’ success. Newman prides himself on Amplify Consulting’s emphasis on storytelling. “For our data practitioners, it’s important that we hire and mentor people who can tell a story. That’s a really big difference between our team and other teams. Anyone can build a chart; it’s just nuts and bolts. You show someone how to do use a tool and then they can do it. Being able to tell a story, being able to understand what’s happening with the data and being able to suss out a story so that the data becomes meaningful to our clients… that’s a different skill altogether. And there’s an art to that.”
Newman came by his data art skills honestly. “I’ve spent my entire career consulting, and I built my technical skills in business intelligence and process engineering.” Starting out with just SQL and Excel, Newman followed the industry until stronger data analysis tools emerged like Power BI and Tableau – different platforms that let users visualize data.
Newman started to identify what he calls “pain points” for his clients - areas where the data suggested that the processes being used weren’t working well enough or weren’t working at all. He listened to clients and communicated which approaches might relieve some of the pain points – and he found that these conversations were more helpful to his clients than simply providing them charts of data. How the information was communicated became just as important as what was communicated. “Being able to synthesize information into some kind of framework, something that matters to [the client], has been instrumental in my ability to be effective in my role.” According to Newman, Amplify is doing something that not every consulting firm does for their clients: transforming data into a form that generates insights and understanding, and one that is ultimately more useful for clients.
And that’s not the only thing that sets Amplify Consulting apart. “Most [consulting] firms that you’re going to encounter… the focus [is] on revenue and profit. Amplify is principally about the empowerment and growth of people and doing the right thing for them.” To Newman, doing what’s right is more important than pure profit. It’s a holistic way to approach consulting services, but it’s not without cost.
“If you want to do the right thing, it’s going to cost you something: … time, energy, resources, money, it’s going to cost you something. And you have to be willing to pay that cost… In the beginning, that made us less competitive, because we were spending time, energy resources, and money doing the right thing that we weren’t spending in pursuit of profit. But in the longer term, doing the right thing is the engine of our growth.” All decisions at Amplify answer the question: “How do we do this in a way that aligns most closely with our values?” Newman has found that that message resonates with Amplify’s team and clients.
This focus on communication and doing the right thing has helped Amplify Consulting build long-lasting relationships with its clients. It also takes a case-by-case approach to provide each person, whether team member or client, the level of support they need. “My bias is that people experience success more often than they create success. So, it’s incumbent on leadership to identify the environment where each person is going to be most likely to experience more success. And that’s different for each person. For example, we all need a different amount of support; some people want you at their side all the time, and some people want you to leave them alone completely. We all need different amounts of risk and pressure.” Ultimately, Newman believes, Amplify Consulting Partners is in the business of people. “You care about people, and that’s a sincere part of what you do and how you show up. That’s going to create a better environment for success.”
Newman’s personal environment for success is one many of us are becoming more accustomed to: he works at home along with his wife and three children. “My kids come first,” he says. “So if they come in and want me and I’m in a meeting, I’m going to say ‘hey guys, gotta hold on for a sec.’ … my daughter Emma is with me almost all day … she’s a frequent participant in my meetings. I’m very thankful that both my wife and I work in an industry and in a way that we can participate like this in our kids’ lives.”