By Ken Abramczyk
Several years ago, Brian Kilcrease worked for a company as a program management consultant, specializing in project recovery. When it ended its program management services, Kilcrease knew there was still a need for them.
Wanting to leverage his experience and his network, Kilcrease founded BK Global Solutions in October 2016, offering outside IT and application software teams to fill PMO (project management office) gaps. Airpark-based BK Global Solutions offers project management services, using a “flex-and-surge” strategy, assisting companies from “mom-and-pop” businesses to $50 million companies and beyond.
Research shows that companies often waste money on projects. Harvard Business Review reports that the average cost overrun of a project is 27% and 1 in 6 projects average a cost overrun of 200%. For every $1 billion invested, an average of $97 million is wasted, according to CIO. Obviously, most companies don’t invest $1 billion a year, but some do over time. Some companies have tens if not hundreds of millions in annual project planning, so those numbers add up quickly to reach $1 billion, Kilcrease says.
Many companies often use employees who are not trained or don’t have the time to manage the project. “That’s why there’s a niche for us,” Kilcrease says. It appears that Kilcrease has addressed this niche. In the last year his company’s revenue increased by 50% and he has doubled the number of BK Global Solutions’ technical consultants.
“Companies will go in (on a project) and believe anyone can do the work,” Kilcrease says. “They will take, for example, an engineer or IT person, and I have all the respect in the world for them, but they have a day job. They aren’t trained in project management. They are given a position or a role that they aren’t trained well in, and that’s when the project goes bad. They may not understand some of the risk or the issues that are involved. The project manager is critical to the success of the project management.”
BK Global Solutions sets up two PMO models offered to companies. As a service offering, it is project management without the cost and long-term commitment of hiring employees. It “leverages traditional Waterfall tools with Agile framework and a Lean mindset.” (Waterfall project management is derived from a concept that each phase trickles down, similar to a waterfall. Agile is a software development framework, while Lean emphasizes optimizing efficiency.)
BK Global Solutions allows companies to leverage a potential contract with it by comparing it to the company’s in-house project management and navigating through the company mindset that “anybody” can do project management.
“It’s a roadblock in trying to educate them for the need for a classically trained project management. Does the person have the training? Can they do the work? The answer is no.” Companies sometimes try in-house, then call BK Global Solutions to take over the project.
BK Global Solutions uses the flex-and-surge strategy to manage resources and costs as part of its PMO service offerings, and also when the company augments the existing PMO organization.
Sometimes cost holds clients back, but his company works to assist clients with meeting budget challenges. “They will say we are only interested in projects that will save us money, and we will give them the numbers and tell them here’s your return on investment. They will see where the savings are.”
BK Global Solutions supports companies in assisting them in virtualizing data centers. The on-premise data centers house servers that sit in large, heavily air-conditioned space. “We move those systems to the cloud thus removing the physical footprint of that physical data center and, in some cases, completely removing it,” Kilcrease says. “This helps reduce cost to maintain a physical presence, the need to regularly refresh hardware, the support not only for the applications on the servers, but for the servers and data center itself.”
This strategy became favorable for companies during the COVID-19 pandemic when workers could not easily access physical sites.
BK Global Solutions also assists companies with “Touchless Deployment.” Traditionally when employees receive PCs, the computers are shipped to a designated location where technicians install software and prepare the machines, then ship to the users. “This is time consuming, has a lot of overhead, and can create delays in onboarding employees when companies need to hire more employees,” Kilcrease says.
Touchless deployment modernizes the process. “The vendor can prep a machine with limited elements and ship directly to the targeted user where the user adds their internet connection, enters their credentials and follows a few prompts,” Kilcrease says. “The device will build itself from installing all the applications to applying policies and granting access to key systems for the user.
“This reduces the overhead, increases speed to onboard and reduces the risk when you have many machines being refreshed or added to the company experiencing a backlog.”
His business is all about building relationships. “We had two clients who started with us seven years ago, and they are still with us today. We’re just a phone call away.” That holds true even after the contract ends, Kilcrease says.
When the pandemic hit, a hospital client had lost revenue because elective surgeries were cut, and fewer foundation donations were received, so they paid BK Global Solutions, but told them they couldn’t pay for their services at that time. But BK Global Solutions offered the hospital pro bono services, investing a “few hours” of assistance to the hospital’s needs, and today, they are a paying client, Kilcrease says.
“It’s about building relationships and taking care of people.” Kilcrease says. “We wouldn’t be growing if companies weren’t coming back to us. These relationships are important.”
Consultants are skilled in project management and sourced out to companies according to their skill levels. These consultants also receive training to further align with clients’ needs. Consultants are based in all four time zones of the continental U.S. “We have many global clients and support all time zones globally if and when they are needed and do onboard consultants in a given region to assist our clients.
“We’re lining up our teams to what our clients are doing as well. We want to take care of our customers in their culture and in their space.”