Ryan Simons is tall, quiet and unassuming. It is this same calm demeanor that makes him perfect for his line of work; Cutting through the mountains of data, to make it clearer, more usable and workable for his clients. Through his company DenArthur analytics, Ryan provides analytics, business intelligence and data modeling to his various clients. “We help companies get the real value out of the data they are accumulating daily,” shared Simons.
This type of business is now more relevant than ever, and was birthed out of simple observation.
“I saw where analytics was a big game changer for the companies that I’ve worked with, especially that getting it as soon as possible is key. I also knew that many companies here were not using the data they were accumulating each day to the full extent. You can see it when initiatives are launched and in the interaction with some companies as a consumer,” he continued.
Pushed into Entrepreneurship
The passion for entrepreneurship was stirred in Simons early. After graduating from UWI in 2005, with a Major in computer science and minor in electronics, Simons was unable to find a job. So, he started his own small business offering IT support and tutoring services. In 2006 he managed to land a full-time role, but the entrepreneurial fire was lit, and since then he has always desired to someday go back on his own. Now three years in, the company is still steadily growing.
For Simons, what makes DenArthur different is their “depth of experience”. He has accrued over 12 years’ experience in the data analysis, business intelligence and data management space. Six of those years at Digicel, where last he headed a team of over 15 members. There he learnt how to manage data at an immense scale, how to work under tight deadlines and how to lead.
These skills are the foundation he now stands on and is applying to his own business. In addition, the expertise that his other team members bring to the table is also mentionable. His wife Shawna, trained in hospitality and tourism management, is the COO and his father Rudyard Simons is also Director and boasts over 35 years sales and senior management experience, in some of Jamaica’s leading companies. A truly family business, even the company name, “DenArthur” is a nod to the family roots, being a combination of the middle names of Ryan’s two grandfathers – Denton and Arthur.
Though Simons believes that analytics is for everyone, the company currently focuses on medium to large organizations in a variety of industries. He highlights that this is not to say smaller companies don’t need help, but with the scale of medium and large organizations, there is a greater opportunity to see the benefits when the company is this size.
He explained, “In the case of, a company with several branches across the island, more often than not, Senior management does not have access to the timely decision-making information they need. For lots of companies this means someone is manually compiling multiple Excel documents to give even a simple Year-on-Year or Month-on-Month analysis.”
However, through their services, clients are able to significantly improve their efficiency. He continued, “One of our customers had been compiling monthly reports manually and they were often late. We fully automated that process, codified all the rules they had been using, and developed automated data pipelines. Now what used to be a three-week manual process is ready at the start of business each morning, fully automated, greatly improving their productivity and efficiency.
As part of their growth, the company also became a Microsoft Partner – a big step in improving the quality and type of services they can offer to their customers.
“Part of the analytics environment is to push things to the cloud. The cloud is where you are able to take advantage of the great advances that are available to you. Instead of provisioning a server and database environment on premise, you can spin-up an instance in Azure and are able to take advantage of a whole host of processing capabilities that far exceeds what is available to you.’ he explained.
“Then you can measure your operational expense accordingly. You don’t overpay for a server; at each point you pay only for what you need.” Simons explains that for many companies, this is one of the primary benefits.”
Overcoming the challenges
Every new business has its challenges, but for Ryan, most of those were not external or even financial. But simply that of building the mindset required to start and move forward.
“To be honest, a lot of what the business overcame were my own hang-ups. Realizing where fear got in my way.” I was so worried about failing that I couldn’t bring myself to be visible on LinkedIn for the entire first year,” he shared. “…Slowly but surely, I overcame that by reflecting on the little steps each time and talking to people who had been through it.”
Now, ironically, LinkedIn is a core element in the marketing strategy for his business.
These setbacks he shared have only made him more understanding to his clients concerns as they tackle this new frontier of big data. But he is ready to guide them along the way.
“I have learnt quite a lot about business, people, and myself in the last three years. A lot of it is really about getting out of your own way and doing what you need to do to get to where you want to go and to help others.
Vision for the future
In 5 years, Simons sees DenArthur becoming one of the predominant analytics providers in the island and spreading out into the region. “We are currently fully remote. I’d love to see us get to the point where we are firmly entrenched in Jamaica and spreading our wings into the rest of the Caribbean.”