Black with White Stripes or White with Black Stripes?

While enjoying a steak and a few wines at the Boatshed, LW’s regular haunt, I told a friend of mine about the software we had been developing and the consultancy work that we did, when he posed the question – so, what are you?

He was trying to put us in a box.  Were we a software developer or a commercial consultancy?

It was a good question, and I couldn’t give him a simple answer.

It’s something I’ve wrestled with over the last month or two and as one of those people who likes a definitive answer, the uncertainty makes me uneasy. But I’m not alone, the market also likes a definitive answer.

On a very different scale, when ConocoPhillips demerged from Phillips 66 the combined market cap increased significantly. That, in part, was because the market had its definitive answer – CoP was now an E&P company and Phillips 66 was refining.

Back to Lewis Woolcott,  and it would be much easier to give the same definitive answer when selling our own services – we are a software company, and the consultancy services are more akin to after sales support. But that statement wouldn’t be true,  our consultancy services go far beyond that.

The more I wrestled with the dilemma, the more it became apparent that our software and consultancy arms rely on each other and cannot be separated. The software improves our services, and the services inspire our software.

The question “So, what are you?” goes to the heart of what we seek to do at Lewis Woolcott – we bring people together from different disciplines to create new and better ways of doing things.

We may regret this blog in five years’  time when we are making the case for a demerger, but at least for now it gave us the excuse to post a picture of Marty from Madagascar!

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