Tangent Solutions is a consulting company.
Looking for a job – thinking of applying? Already have an offer? Tangent Solutions: Are you a fit?
How is the experience working at Tangent Solutions?
They started in 2012 and grew the team from 2 founders (Dave and Ian) to about 15 people in 2014. Thereafter they expanded quite rapidly and were sitting at around 100 – 200 (a guess…) consultants around 2020.
In 2020 they were acquired (or merged) by a larger telecommunications consulting firm they used to work with at Vodacom called Jurumani. Previously they would consult for EOH and EOH would bill directly to Vodacom.
Tangent Solutions consulted in the ecommerce, banking, warehousing/rfid and telecoms space.
One side of the business is heavy Microsoft and oftentimes wind up getting their clients using Azure. However recently they appear to have moved to consult and have specialists for all the big public clouds.
Changes in the Company
The company used to have a python and django technical core for a few years which worked really well.
However, people move on and the core changed to use different technologies and platforms over time.
Now, the tech used by the company is often defined by what the client favours and the skills of people hired.
The company hired an in-house recruiter in 2016 (I think) and that is when the hiring sped up and the company culture changed dramatically.
Around that time – 4 staff members that had been there a relatively long time were promoted into general manager positions. Since then 3 of the general managers have left.
In 2019, the company moved over the road from their original offices at Culross court to the Bryanston Campus. They became big time players. That seems to have coincided with the move to hiring more suits.
It became a production line and there was nothing really distinct about the tangent solution compared to any other consulting company.
It became about the revenue and profits: hourly billing rate and maximising the number of consultants. A numbers game – suppose it always was…
They have expanded their offering into not just mobile applications and systems but cloud, automation, information security and IT management services consulting.
The inhouse recruitement team freed up the big dogs to not have to deal with HR related tasks. It gave rise to rapid hiring and also rapid attrition. A side-effect was a greater divide between suits and consultants.
Attrition rate at a company is the rate of people leaving – also sometimes called the churn rate.
The churn rate seems to be the best indicator of whether the company is good (for employees – not shareholders). It is however not a statistic you will ever get during the interview process or in CEO presentations at Tangent Solutions.
Another good stat is non-managerial staff that have been at the company longer than 3 years. If there are none – it is a red flag.
During my time there, the churn rate was roughly 15 to 25% of the team leaving each year on average. Keep in mind that during this time there was rapid hiring (10, 20 then 30 new faces each year) naturally resulting in more attrition.
A churn rate of 25% can be visualised as an entire team being replaced every 4 years.
Tangent is in line with the industry in South Africa. Ideally you want to join a team with a natural churn rate of 10 – 15%.
No Core Product
At one stage the company did have a product – hardware devices used for rfid scanning among other things. They would import these devices and load custom software applications on them for use mainly in factories. This portion of the business may have fallen away in recent times.
A difficult aspect about a consulting company is no ownership.
There is no ownership of the product or service. Sometimes the client will push you to use a certain technology or platform and there will be little say in the matter. Certain project managers and lead developers may also push a certain technical direction for reasons other than optimal problem solution.
You can be moved off the project when the client stops paying or when a more lucrative position is found elsewhere.
The team can be fractured (not tight knit) at times – although that is the reality of consulting and not unique to Tangent Solutions.
The company started hiring suits and marketers to acquire larger big deals. The pecking order at the company is:
founders -> suits -> recruiters / project managers / leads -> developers...
A common problem in all consultants is the expectation mismatch. As an employee you are getting paid x an hour. However, the company charges the client 2x to 5x an hour (may be more or less).
The company is expecting value for work done at 2x to 5x an hour (minus the benefits from not having to take the risk of finding and employing you directly, BEE implications). If the company is used to a higher quality of work for that price the company and the employee will be put under pressure.
Furthermore, the more non-consulting staff you have – suits and recruitment…the more overhead costs you have.
You need to overcharge and use economies of scale to cover the costs.
This may lead to an expectations mismatch and the consultant will feel the pain – however the project manager and lead consultant/manager should be the person to deal with these situations.
The company will allow you to grow and increase pay as you go. They do offer training and used to have Friday tech meetups.
You will always be able to speak to someone and change things if you are in a bad spot. That being said moving out of the frying pan might mean moving into the fire…
You will get exposure to different industries and tech stacks over time at Tangent Solutions.
The company changed to a more corporate style – performance review based structure over the years. Sometimes non-technical people – like project managers and recruiters do the reviewing.
The merger / acquisition by Jurumani may have changed the performance, promotion, yearly increase and bonus structure.
The company may be significantly different to what is described in this post. This is a review of the company from around 2014 to 2018 – by a bottom level pleb.
The information stated here may not be fully accurate.
On the whole Tangent Solutions is a good company to work for – just remember it is a company owned by Jurumani, Dave and Ian – not your family.
If you are looking for a company culture and projects you can own for the long term – this is not the company for you.
You will learn a wide range of different technologies and platforms – a great opportunity for people entering technical fields and mid-level prospects.
It is difficult to move up in the organisation if you keep your head down and do work. You need to make waves and be a suck-up to the right people…sometimes…your mileage may vary.
If you are looking for a decent paycheck and to get exposure to solving interesting (and some not interesting) problems in corporate SA in different fields and gain experience – you just might be a fit.
Note: Tangent and the hr/recruitment team may give you a poor reference when applying to future positions.
This post is meant to give to give a more realistic impression of the company and is not meant to sway you in any way. One former employee’s opinion…
As the years go by this post will have less and less relevance. Things change.
Interesting fact: Their second ever employee is still working for them (as at 2022). There are different contexts, factors and scenarios in all decisions.
You are free to choose.
Check out tangent Solution’s website