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Lean Banking Can Transform Your Institution. Don’t ignore it.

Let’s start with the great news – financial institutions that are leveraging Lean banking operations achieve up to 30% cost reduction within 2 years, and are maintaining cost-efficient operations better than the average in the industry.
Lean processes are being adopted globally by organizations prone to inefficiency that are negatively affecting their earnings.

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This Week in Consulting: Futur of Finance in the Digital Word

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 20th 2019

Future of Finance in The Digital World

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“The digital world ‘feels’ different. Extraordinary economic changes are happening at such a fast pace. At a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Accenture Chairman and CEO Pierre Naterme said: ‘Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000.​”
Historically, the finance function’s focus has been around promoting organizational efficiencies and reducing operational costs. Technology is allowing the finance function to refocus its energy on revenue and value creation.
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) where the authors help us to understand how finance functions meet the challenges their organizations face in a digital world
Read on to Find out More: “Re-inventing finance for a digital world “ | Dr. Martin Farrar, CGMA.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Big Tech and the Future of Finance.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Future of Finance: Finance disrupted– “As we edge toward the third decade of the century, business-as-usual methodologies no longer keep pace with the tides of innovation and unprecedented change. According to KPMG LLP’s  CEO Outlook survey, 76 percent of chief executive officers (CEOs) admit that their growth relies on their ability to challenge and disrupt any business norm.” An interesting approach to how the CFO should respond to a business environment in turmoil. | Ron Walker, Sanjay Sehgal, KPMG
Do you define your CFO role? Or does it define you? “The chief financial officer (CFO) role is being disrupted by digital innovation, the proliferation of data, a volatile risk environment, increasing regulation and a growing circle of demanding stakeholders. CFOs who don’t proactively define their role in response to these major forces could compromise their ability to shape strategy with the CEO and drive the innovation necessary for sustainable growth.” This survey tries to decode the DNA of the finance leader, with profiles and job descriptions becoming more and more diverse. | Hanne Jesca Bax, Robert Brand, Rick Fezell, Annette Kimmitt and Tony Klimas, EY
Digital Transformation Of The Finance Function: “Driven by the accelerating digitalization, the finance function faces the risk of being reduced to an efficiency-first support role. By redefining its value contribution and self-perception, finance can seize the opportunities that digitalization offers to develop into a digital driver that shapes the digital landscape of the entire organization.” The authors offer insights and actionable steps on how finance can become the digital driver of an organization, harness the opportunities of big data and AI, and grow fast. | Dr. Philipp Andres, Dr. Thomas Fritz, Christian Lattwein and Jörg Stäglich, Oliver Wyman
A Finance Chief’s Practical View of Robotics and AI: “Discussion around the impact of intelligent automation often centers on what it means for consumers, or its implications for the workplace and the changing nature of jobs. But what does it mean in practice for finance professionals?” Michael Burwell, CFO, Willis Towers Watson shows us the practical implementation of AI and its impact on day-to-day operations. | Michael Burwell, Willis Towers Watson

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
The Future of Finance and CFO Summit 2020 : Redefining finance, embracing new opportunities for value-creation in an age of digital business.
 
Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference : In the midst of all the uncertainty, one thing is certain: Finance functions will need to significantly evolve to meet the business needs of the future.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

Marsh & McLennan : Holiday Shopping Looks Merry This Year Despite Recession Fears According to Oliver Wyman– “US consumers are not letting a possible recession dampen their holiday spirit and plan to spend an average of $375 during Black Friday and Cyber Monday according to Oliver Wyman. This is a slight drop from $390 in 2018” | Market screener
Verizon 5G service goes live in Boston, Houston and Sioux Falls: “Verizon 5G networking makes its way to three more cities Tuesday: Boston, Houston and Sioux Falls. This brings the total number of cities with the carrier’s faster network to 18, with plans to reach 30 by the end of 2019.” | Oscar Gonzalez, CNET
Deloitte Working with Amazon Web Services to Create New Health Ecosystems Through Data: “AWS Data Exchange, a New AWS Service, Helps Organizations Securely Find, Subscribe to and Use Third-Party Data in the Cloud; Deloitte’s Suite of Solutions and Services Can Help Life Sciences and Health Care Organizations Curate in a Private, Secure and Responsible Way to Enable Medical Innovation and New Data Driven Business Models” |PRNewswire
Brexit and beyond: The challenges for banks and consultancies– “As the political drama of Brexit continues to unfold, and the future of the UK’s position in Europe remains unclear, businesses across Europe are still in the dark over what will happen next. Francesco Scarnera, UK CEO at Be Shaping the Future, a financial services advisory, reflects on Brexit’s impact on banks and consultancies.” | Consultancy.uk

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

Wanting to Read People’s Minds? Discover Instead the Best Sources and Publications on the Consulting Industry
What clients want? If there was a way to read people's minds, like in the movie "What Women Want" with ...Read More

Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

3 Best Ways to Measure Consulting Performance – In Short, Medium & Long-Term Formats
Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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This Week in Consulting: All you need to know about Design Thinking

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 13th 2019

All you need to know about Design Thinking

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“Design Thinking is not an exclusive property of designers—all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering, and business have practiced it. So, why call it Design Thinking? What’s special about Design Thinking is that designers’ work processes can help us systematically extract, teach, learn and apply these human-centered techniques to solve problems in a creative and innovative way – in our designs, in our businesses, in our countries, in our lives.​”
The ‘Design Thinking’ is a description of the application of the well-tried design process to new challenges and opportunities, used by people from both design and non-design backgrounds. How to use design and design thinking for innovation and better results?
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) where the authors help us to understand Design Thinking by breaking down the process into five phases
Read on to Find out More: “What is Design Thinking and Why Is It So Popular? “ | Rikke Dam and Teo Siang, Interaction Design Foundation.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Design Thinking is a 5-step process to come up with meaningful ideas that solve real problems for a particular group of people​​.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Why Design Thinking Works? “In a recent seven-year study in which I looked in depth at 50 projects from a range of sectors, including business, health care, and social services, I have seen that another social technology, design thinking, has the potential to do for innovation exactly what TQM did for manufacturing: unleash people’s full creative energies, win their commitment, and radically improve processes.” Here the author explains how human behaviors can get in the way of innovation and how design thinking tools and clear process steps can help teams break free of them. | Jeanne Liedtka, HBR
Maximizing Digital Transformation Innovation -Design Thinking: “With the evolution of technological advances, organizations need to transform to address rapidly changing business landscapes, which is the main reason why digital transformation is so crucial for companies that enables to redefine the complex business process into simple and innovative solutions that helps business executives focus more on business results, innovation and continuous development.” This article shows how the design thinking approach could help launch a wave of innovation in technology and digital disruption. | SatishKumar Boguda and Shailaja Arsid, IJERT
Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation: “Designing is more than creating products and services; it can be applied to systems, procedures, protocols, and customer experiences. Design is transforming the way leading companies create value.” The author presents an interesting point of view on how the success rate for innovation dramatically improves when design principles are applied to strategy and innovation. | Linda Naiman, Creativity at Work
Why Design Thinking is Relevant? “In many ways, design thinking is about having a methodology that helps you feel comfortable wading into the messy complexity of creating something new to the world. The better you get at it, the more you’ll build creative confidence to take on bigger challenges.” Why is design thinking relevant to the challenges we’re facing today? An interesting interview with David Kelly, the founder of IDEO. | David Kelley, IDEO

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
NEXT: the conference on innovation through design thinking : NEXT is the annual event dedicated to innovation through design thinking for all those who want to transform their company and who are looking for concrete and applicable solutions to successfully implement.
 
Design Thinking Conference 2020 : For Design Thinking professionals who practice what they preach in their own organizations or with other organizations.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

FinTech Company OKLink Wins Deloitte “Hong Kong Rising Star”: “LEAP Holdings Group Limited (“the Group”; Stock code: 1499) is pleased to announce that OKLink Fintech Limited (“OKLink”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Group, was awarded the “Hong Kong Rising Star” by Deloitte in 2019 HK Tech Fast 20 and Rising Star Program on 8 November 2019.” | Marie Jones, Business News Asia
KPMG launches innovation scale-up with Axillium partnership: “As clients look to tap greater levels of government support for their research and development efforts, KPMG has forged a new partnership with research and innovation agency Axillium. The Midlands-based firm has supported nearly 200 organisations to move their innovation programmes forward and helped raise more than £210 million in government grant funding.” | Consultancy.uk
HSBC and RBS set to launch new digital banking platforms: “HSBC rolled out a new app-based business banking service – previously known internally as ‘Project Iceberg’ and now named ‘HSBC Kinetic’ – in beta testing mode on Monday, while RBS is putting the finishing touches to its new digital bank Bo ahead of a public roll-out later this month.” |Iain Withers, Sinead Cruise, Reuters
P&G Aims For Lasting Social Impact With NatGeo Series: “While brands have been an integral part of television since the dawn of the medium, typically as sponsors, P&G is aiming to take that relationship to the next level by helping to produce a new cable TV series.” | Diana Marszalek, The Holmes Report

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

3 Best Ways to Measure Consulting Performance – In Short, Medium & Long-Term Formats
Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

The 13 Key Steps in Demand Management Implementation
Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general. Its implementation for the consulting category is ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential

Home

Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The point is to use the best strategy and methods and to be able to optimize this team’s potential.
CEOs have the opportunity to execute any project two ways:  in-house or to bring in external consultants. In the prime of Strategy Consulting, the decision was invariably leaning towards external consultants. We could see companies externalizing their entire strategy to consulting firms.
But today there is a clear tendency to use more in-house Consultants-
We see corporations more willing and ready to manage their own projects, especially when these are impacting the future of the enterprise.
Among the top trends are:

Shrinking experience gap between external consultancies and in-house consulting on strategic matters. The frequent movements between consulting firms and strategy groups combined with almost systematic use of MBAs or leadership development programs have provided corporations with a blend of talent, knowledge, and experience to manage the strategic agenda by themselves, using consultants only on very specific projects.
Substitution of external consultants by internal resources embodies a trend that started in the strategy function, now has spread to other functions and activities.
It’s a win-win situation for companies and consultants alike – former consultants have the opportunity to join a company in a transition role that will leverage their expertise and allow them to learn more about the company before taking other responsibilities. So companies enjoy the luxury of having expert resources in-house to drive their projects or oversee consulting projects for a fraction of the cost.
Healthy competition – creating some emulation and to force internal teams to provide state-of-the-art performance, prompted some companies to give their business units the option to use or not internal consulting teams, placing them in competition with external consultants.
Value for money – even though there is a significant potential for savings, internal and external consultants rarely mix their resources. Moreover, when they do it is more in one direction, adding a few resources to the consulting project to reduce costs and transfer some knowledge

Measure your Performance, Optimize your Consulting Spend

For Consultants – if the Client continues to buy their services, probably not so critical, but for Clients it’s exactly the opposite…
Read More

Inspired by the way General Electric is leveraging its pool of high potential through the black belts, many companies have now connected their excellence groups with their high potential development. Being a part of those teams becomes the place to be at for accelerated career development. Also, the credibility and performance of the teams are not questioned anymore.
 
10 Ways to Fully Optimize the Potential of Your Internal Consultants –
Consulting is an important lever for business process improvement and for acquiring a new perspective on stagnant areas of your business.
Internal consultants are a valuable asset, as they can show you where processes break down and why, how projects are derailed and by who, and a whole host of other insights into the operation of your organization.
As an external consultant, your team members offer a variety of fresh perspectives that cannot be found in the manager’s office or the C-Suite.
How to best engage internal consultants?
 

Here are few ideas you can explore and launch the process:

Identify the highest impact challenges, also the most common challenges your organization deals with
Determine the areas of excellence and the areas of deficiency
Outline operation inefficiency issues
Discuss organization’s culture issues
Staffing levels, Staffing quality
Analyze onboarding process, and training effectiveness
Efficiency and Effectiveness of communication
Regulatory compliance issues
Effectiveness of marketing on sales, on Customers’ expectations, and how to improve Customer experience

So we discussed the benefits of using in-house consulting, now let’s take a look at some of the challenges.
Challenges in Managing Internal Consultants –
Internal consultants have a unique role and can greatly affect the success of the project.
Many projects are launched to achieve change objectives within an organization. And sometimes there can be a conflict of interest between teams and individuals who support the change, and those who want to preserve the status quo.
Internal consultants bring important knowledge and experience to a project, but often they might face different constraints compared to external consultants. Their relationships within the organization and the expectations of their direct bosses can affect their performance in the project.
The hierarchy, politics, and culture within the organization can also play a role in the resolution of such conflicts.
The project manager needs to understand the implications and leverage the role of the internal consultants.
Strategies to Successfully Manage Internal Consultants:
The value and the importance of the project are always the top considerations. The project manager and the consultants need to keep in mind the critical elements to ensure success:

The project’s goals and objective – agree on the result, main principles, and team communication
Project plan and checkpoint – agree on the phases, activities, tasks, milestones, timing, and dependency
Roles and responsibilities – who is responsible and/or accountable for what, when and how.
Visualize the result and the direction the project will be taking
Decide on the commitments – agree on the key people, empower teams, ownership, and give credit.
Communications – how to keep people informed and how to get the right message across at the right time
Measure results – when to show status visibility and progress toward goals.
Managing risk – agree on the degree of innovation without compromising the success of the project.

If you like to discuss how we can assist you in organizing or 
managing your in-house consultants on a specific project,
please let us known today.

Book your call

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This Week in Consulting:The Digital Future of Automotive

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 6th 2019

The Digital Future of Automotive

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“Both consumers and automotive executives put less emphasis on the brand in an autonomous, mobility-as-a-service paradigm. Brands need to prioritize in-vehicle digital experiences over driving features to differentiate.”
Radical change is looming for the global automotive industry. What actions can the industry take to accommodate this change?
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from IBM where the authors explore how can automotive organizations evolve to operate and innovate in a digital and data environment?
Read on to Find out More: “Automotive 2030 “ | Daniel Knoedler,Dirk Wollschlaeger, and Ben Stanley, IBM.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

How will the automotive industry change in the future and how does that impact Europe?​

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

The race for cybersecurity: Protecting the connected car in the era of new regulation: “Cybersecurity has risen in importance as the automotive industry undergoes a transformation driven by new personal-mobility concepts, autonomous driving, vehicle electrification, and car connectivity. In fact, it has become a core consideration, given the digitization of in-car systems, the propagation of software, and the creation of new, fully digital mobility services.” As digital transformation exposes new cybersecurity threats , the authors explains what OEMs can do to protect their cars and customers from hackers. | Johannes Deichmann, Benjamin Klein, Gundbert Scherf, and Rupert Stuetzle, McKinsey
‘The pain is just beginning’: After 38,000 layoffs, Wall Street wakes up to ‘peak car’– “For the auto business, “the pain is just beginning,” according to the Nomura analyst Masataka Kunugimoto and his team. “We now expect global auto demand to be down 3%,” year on year, in 2019, he told clients recently.” The world may have passed “peak car” and people in the future will need fewer personal vehicles. It’s maybe why the industry is staring down the barrel of a significant downturn. | Jim Edwards, Business Insider
The automotive industry has not reached ‘peak car’ as some analysts suggest: “When all around you there are people saying the car business is being disrupted, that electric vehicles are coming to eat the gas-powered automobiles’ lunch, and that Uber and Lyft will destroy traditional car ownership, it can be easy to overlook the basic fact that US auto sales are strong, have been strong, and should be relatively strong in the future.” The article presents an interesting counterpoint to the previous article from Business Insider. Has the automotive industry really reached a car peak? | Matthew DeBord, Business Insider
What Does the Future Hold for Self-Driving Cars? “Self-driving cars are poised to revolutionize the transportation industry. There have been many significant shifts in the auto industry since the beginning of commercial auto production roughly eight decades ago, but the basic formula of a human operator guiding a vehicle using a steering wheel and pedals has held pretty steady across that time span. “ Here the author presents the driverless-vehicle revolution from an investor perspective. | CKeith Noonan, The Motley Fool

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
ICRVS 2019 : International Conference on Road and Vehicle Safety aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Road and Vehicle Safety.
 
Strategies in Car Body Engineering 2020 : Only one thing is certain, that nothing is certain. Which is why “flexibility” and “agility” are currently among the most frequently used terms in the automotive industry.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan and Microsoft join others on new blockchain token spec: “A new specification to allow businesses to create blockchain-based tokens for international trade and finance has been published – and businesses have already tested digital money based on it for cross border payments and settlement.” | Lucas Mearian, Computerworld
Neal Thompson joined BNY Mellon as Head of FX Options: “BNY Mellon, US based multinational banking and financial service provider recently revealed that its senior level leadership team is undergoing a change.” | Karthik Sivasubramaniam, The Industry Spread
PwC’s Reggie Walker: On the Trust Responsibility and Why Marketing Exists to Drive Strategy– “interview : The Chief Commercial Officer defines the CMO role as a juggler, as it touches every aspect of the business.”  |Forbes
OC&C advises Bridgepoint on sale of Bike24: “UK-based private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital has opted to exit from its investment in German bicycle retailer Bike24, with support from OC&C Strategy Consultants. The news sees The Riverside Company acquire Bike24, just two years after selling it to Bridgepoint in the first place.” | Consultancy.uk

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

Interested in submitting?
If you are interested in submitting an article, an event or an ad, contact us!

Contact Us

CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

3 Best Ways to Measure Consulting Performance – In Short, Medium & Long-Term Formats
Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

The 13 Key Steps in Demand Management Implementation
Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general. Its implementation for the consulting category is ...Read More

The Consulting Market of Oceania is Embracing the Digital Wave- Top 8 Features
"Australia is just so full of surprises." - Bill Bryson Australia is unique not only for the amazing nature, and ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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3 Best Ways to Measure Consulting Performance – In Short, Medium & Long-Term Formats

Home

Let’s start with the question – How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services’ providers?
For Consultants – as long as their clients keep buying the services, measuring and analyzing performance is not that important.
But for Clients, it’s a very necessary part of the process of acquiring such services and getting the best ROI.
If we take a look at the Automotive industry, for example, the ultimate price will be losing the business of the client.
In most procurement categories, the receipt and inspection of the purchased goods is a key step in the process. When the product is damaged or not compliant with the requirements, it will be rejected. When the product is compliant, but the quality is not satisfying, the provider’s contract will not be renewed. When a supplier is the subject of numerous claims it will be removed from the panel.

Manage the consulting category

Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general…
Read More

But here are the shocking facts :

57% of companies don’t have a systematic Performance Evaluation system for the Consulting Category.
Consulting firms also don’t necessarily have a reliable system for measuring clients’ satisfaction. They realize the client was unhappy when they lose the account.
Which is often unfortunate, and doesn’t help either party.
Open conversation and feedback is the first step. But why is t often obstructed?
Consulting Firms are looking for feedback to engage in a continuous improvement process, and their clients are expecting them to listen and improve their ways of working.

 

There are a few reasons that prevent collaboration:

Consulting Services are seen as hard to measure, intangible, and measurement can be tricky. But companies know from experience that even intangible objectives can be measured

The best approach relies on a system. Since Peter Drucker has popularized Management by objectives in the 50s, it became a standard in General Management. SMART objectives are used across the board to help employees have a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities.
The same can apply to Consulting Services. When you hire a Consulting Firm, you have some expectations such as the quality of the deliverables, the ability to understand your business, the ability to build trust with the stakeholders, etc.

Why not measure the achievement of these objectives

Implementing a systematic Performance Evaluation specific to Consulting Services is a cornerstone of the management of the Consulting Category.
The benefits of measuring can be seen at three time horizons
1. Short-Term
The beginning of the implementation can be rocky. Being attentive to feedback from the main departments or business lines using consulting can help procurement to identify the Consulting Firm with performance issues and gather the necessary information to build the right improvement plan with them.
2. Medium-Term
Tracking your providers’ performance longitudinally is the only objective way to monitor the providers, to benchmark their performance and to identify the high and low performers: two essential elements to keep a fluid Preferred Supplier List. This analysis will also help you identify capabilities with insufficient performance.
3. Long-Term
The purpose of aligning your Consulting Spend with your Strategy is to maximize the Value for Money. Year-Long performance evaluation of the impact of your Consulting Projects will help you validate your decisions and make sure the money has been well spent with the expected impact in line.
Don’t forget that Performance can be evaluated at all stages of a Consulting Assignment. And for every project time formats can be different.

You need help measuring your Consulting Performance?
Or you just want to share your experience with us?
Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Book your call

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This Week in Consulting:The Digital Transformation in Aerospace and Defense

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, October 30th  2019

The digital Transformation in Aerospace and Defense

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“The impact Industry 4.0 technologies can have on A&D companies varies depending on a company’s size, where it is in the supply chain, what its role in the supply chain is, and, most importantly, its business focus. For A&D companies to successfully implement Industry 4.0 at the enterprise level, digital transformation should occur at three levels: customer engagement, new products/services and platforms, and intelligent assets.”
Digital transformation is certainly a lever for aerospace and defense companies and industrial 4.0 technologies could be the key to future competitiveness..
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Deloitte where the consultants discuss what A&D companies can do better to achieve digital transformation.
Read on to Find out More: “Aerospace & Defense 4.0 “ | Robin Lineberger, Aijaz Hussain, Tim Hanley, Vincent Rutgers and Brenna Sniderman, Deloitte.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Aerospace companies are tasked with designing and creating products for conditions that may not exist inside a lab or even on the planet.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Agile methods in complex Aerospace & Defence projects: “About 25 years ago, the hype around “lean” took of: lean management, lean production, lean etc. Nowadays, the new buzzword is “agile”. At our clients and everywhere in the industry we find change projects around agility: agile company, agile management, agile deve­lop­ment, agile processes etc. However, the understanding of what “agile” means and what these change projects are aiming at is very vague.” The author explains how Agile methods and mindset can be applied in A&D. | Martin Kraus, Actrans
Blockchain Technology for Aerospace MRO and Parts Tracking: “Blockchain Technology enables end-to-end component lifecycle visibility, trusted data exchange across internal and external MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) stakeholders, and unified operational efficiency across the MRO Value Chain. This results in decreased risk, decreased turnaround time, and cost savings for the entire industry.” The article shows how blockchain technology can be used to improve the traceability of Parts for Safety, Compliance, and Interoperability across the Aerospace MRO value chain. | Kevin Doubleday, Fluree
Harness the engine of innovation: “With aerospace and defense companies continuing to contend with myriad challenges—from insurgent competitors and breakneck technological change to geopolitical instability—being relevant is more important than ever. Industry players are working hard to develop new and innovative ways to serve the needs of their customers, suppliers, partners and workforce at the “moments that matter.” The article gives an overview of technology trends reshaping aerospace and defense. | John Schmidt, Marc Gelle, Accenture
How A&D organizations can achieve digital manufacturing transformation: “In the aerospace and defense industry, tremendous growth opportunities are emerging through new business models, blended partnerships and technological advancements in digital manufacturing. However, that growth can frequently be held back by outdated processes, aging technology and fragmented value chains. By adopting and integrating new technologies, and deploying them at scale, businesses can thrive in the digital age.” Here the author enlights how to improve product availability and profitability through an Aerospace and Defense digital value chain. | Chris Lennon, DXC Technology

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
Aerospace Europe Conference – AEC2020 : This conference will be offering scientists and engineers from industry, government, and academia an exceptional opportunity to exchange knowledge and results of current studies and to discuss directions for future research in the fields of aeronautics and space.
 
IEEE Aerospace Conference : The international IEEE Aerospace Conference, with AIAA and PHM Society as technical cosponsors, is organized to promote interdisciplinary understanding of aerospace systems, their underlying science and technology, and their applications to government and commercial endeavors.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

P&G doubling recycled content for European cleaning brands in 2020: “Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble Co. is more than doubling the amount of recycled plastic in its packaging for household cleaning brands in Europe by early 2020”. | Shahrzad Pourriahi, Crain Communications
Nokia slashes profit outlook in fight for 5G business: “The telecom network equipment maker, which met third-quarter profit expectations, also said it would pause dividend payments to raise investments in 5G and only resume them when its cash position improves to around 2 billion euros”. | Tarmo Virki, Reuters
Majority of UK staff ‘would perform as well’ with no boss: “Micromanaging bosses are leaving many employees craving more freedom to do their jobs, with two-thirds of workers stating they want more responsibility at work. At the same time, a failure to adequately motivate and support staff means a majority believe they could effectively execute their role without their manager at all”. |Consultancy.uk
Deloitte buys SAP and Oracle partner Presence of IT: “Deloitte has announced that Australian cloud and HR consultancy Presence of IT will join its Human Capital Consulting practice. Sydney-headquartered Presence of IT is a 20-year old consultancy that specialises in human capital management consulting and technology implementation. The company partners with SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Kronos, and has won numerous partner awards.” | Simon Sharwood, CRN Australia

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Consulting Business

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You are an expert in your field, have established a stellar professional reputation, and now you are ready to strike out on your own and start a consulting business. You may be itching to jump in and get started, but like any business, having a solid and well-thought-out plan is essential to your success. This practical guide to setting up your consulting business is your first step to the successful launch of your business. Read on, then get ready to roll up your sleeves!
Start with a self-assessment
The very first step you should take, before you even begin to set up your business, is to do an honest self-assessment. Ask yourself these questions before moving any further. When you are done, you’ll have a clear idea of your motivation.
1. Is this the right professional decision for you?
Starting a consulting business isn’t for everyone, even if you are very skilled at what you do. It’s important to be sure you are making this decision for the right reasons and that it will further (not hinder) your professional achievements. What is motivating you to take this step now? Are you feeling stagnant at work? Have you reached a point in your career where this is the logical next step? By defining your why, you’ll be better able to decide if this is the right decision at this time.
2. Do you have the skill set to proceed?
Clients hire consultants for their knowledge, and the foundation of any successful consulting business is expertise. However, starting and running a business requires a variety of business skills and, most importantly, a lot of determination. Be sure you’re prepared to handle ALL of the responsibilities that come with running a consulting business, not just the consulting.
3. Is there a market for your business?
You can spend all the money you want on a slick marketing campaign, but it will be for nothing if there are no takers in your market. How many other consultants in your market are in the same field as you? If your market is saturated, you’ll need to be prepared to compete with other consultants for business. Take a look at the other consultants in your field, and see what they are doing. What can you bring to the table that is unique? What do you offer that will bring clients to your door?
4. Are your numbers and gut feel in sync?
It may be tempting to hitch onto that gut instinct, and just go with it. Branching off and starting your own business may seem romantic and adventurous, but the real goal is to build a business with longevity. You don’t want to have to close up shop a year from now, when you realize your money can no longer support the business. Run a check-up of your financial health. Do you have enough funds to live on while you start your business? How much money do you have to invest in start-up costs, and how much will you need to borrow? This is also where your research into your market will help. Is your market viable enough to make the initial investment of funds worth it?
Once you’ve made your way through these questions, and you are confident that this is the right decision for your career, it’s time to get down to the real work.

Launching Your Consulting Business
The next several steps will guide you through the essentials to starting your business. Follow these steps carefully, and you will be well on your way to a fulfilling and exciting consulting career.
1. Determine your value proposition.
This is where you define your mission. Why are you doing this, what makes you different, and how will it help your clients? A value proposition is a short summary of your business, what it offers, and the reasons why a client would want to buy from you instead of someone else. Keep it clear and concise, and seize the opportunity to differentiate yourself. Decide if you will present yourself as a generalist or a specialist. Will you propose specific products or formalise them as you go? Make this clear in your value proposition
You’ll want it to say 3 things: what do you do, what makes you unique, and how will your clients benefit.
2. Create a business identity.
This is where you get to brainstorm what your business will look like. What will you call your business? Will you use a slogan or tagline? If you have the skills, create a logo; otherwise, investigate companies that can help you design one. Create a uniform identity that will be recognizable in your market to appear on business cards and other marketing materials.

Launch your Consultancy

Here are the 10 commandments of a great consultant, to maximize your potential…

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3. Set up the administrative foundation.
Next, you’ll need to focus on setting up a proper work environment and administrative framework. Will you be working from home or setting up in an office? Define your space, then move on to details like office furniture, computers, software, and other technology. Set up internet and a phone number, with options to conference call or video call if you plan to conduct business from a distance. You’ll also need to acquire or draft your own legal documents, like contracts for business agreements with clients, and make sure you have satisfied all legal requirements for setting up a business in your area.
4. Create your marketing campaign.
Your business is set up, you’ve acquired your first launch client, but now you need more.
Your marketing campaign is what introduces you to potential clients and convinces them to learn more about what you have to offer. Start close to home and let all of your personal and business contacts know about your business. Send business cards out to everyone you have worked with in the past who may be in need of your services, or could provide a referral. Pick up the phone and start making calls. Get people talking about you and what you do!
Your marketing campaign should also include a professional website, social media profiles, brochures, and other printed materials. Have your logo, slogan, and anything else that is a part of your “look” on all of your marketing materials. You are creating a brand along with a business.
5. Decide on your fee structure.
Know in advance what you are going to ask in compensation for your services. Define your sales pitch and your selling tool kit for proposals. Consider gathering testimonials, slides, case studies, and printed materials that demonstrate your track record and the value of your services. Have your resume updated and ready to go.
Growing Your Consulting Business
Once your business is launched, your marketing campaign is going full blast, and you are beginning to negotiate with, or perhaps have already signed, a few clients, you want to continue to focus on building your client base.
1. Continue to leverage your personal network.
People who know you personally have an interest in seeing you succeed. Continue to remind your personal network about your new business.
2. Expand your network.
Next focus on expanding your professional network, both digitally and in person. Having a social media presence is a valuable tool in building a business. Consider not only professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, but also social ones, like Facebook and Twitter. Join in-person meet-up groups that bring together professionals in your field, and connect with businesses that may be in need of your services. Participate in local networking events to meet other professionals who might need or can refer your services. And don’t forget this one simple rule: ask your network to introduce you to other people who may be interested in your services.
3. Develop partnerships.
Relationships are key in business. Partner with consultants in other fields or professionals in a related industry who are willing to exclusively refer business to you in exchange for your exclusive referrals. As you continue to build your network of personal relationships, you’ll see more referrals over time.
4. Promote your services.
Become a walking and talking advertisement for your consulting business. While you’re getting things off the ground, you’ll need all the promotion you can get. Stay diligent! Build a strong digital and social media presence, market your services to your target audience, and even consider running special promotions to start building a clientele and establishing your business’s reputation.
Final Points to Remember
As you embark on this journey, it’s good to come back to these simple reminders.
1. Devote yourself to this new venture fully.
You won’t find massive success with half effort.
2. Value yourself.
You may be tempted to offer lower rates as a new business, but don’t undervalue your skills. Know what you are worth and stick with it!
3. Know when to walk away.
Don’t give up if you’re having a rough patch. The road to starting a new business is always bumpy. But, if you’ve been at it for a while and your heart is no longer in it, don’t hesitate to walk away if that feels like the right decision. Go back to the beginning of this guide and start at step one to reassess your passion for your business.
4. Have fun!
This is an exciting, new chapter in your life. Enjoy it!
Starting your consulting business will not be easy, but it will almost certainly be exciting and fulfilling. Let this practical guide be your starting point. Then, just keep it simple, stay the course, and enjoy the ride.

Consulting Playbook: Boosting on Time Delivery in Food Services

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The Consulting Playbook, Edition #26
The delivery to a major client has spiked to an all-time high thus new buy concept and internal operations excellence booster was required. The shareholder and a major client too, needed a robust recovery plan of increased missing parts, avoiding new missing parts backlog and adequate measures for maintenance planning, headcount demand, flexibilization and supply chain optimization. The company decided to call for support from a consultant.
Creating and Implementing the Recovery Plan

Appointment of Recovery Manager was made to implement measures for recovery assignments from Management Board to shop floor level.
Diagnostic of the current situation, root cause analysis and Daily Action Tracking was implemented covering supply chain, synchronization of production control rooms, for all the three plants, enabling to achieve targets and recovery plan.
Design and application of workshops and meetings for reporting to shareholders and stakeholders, work councils conducted.
OEE was performed to stabilize recovery, and lean workshops done to enhance team’s understanding of the changes.
During the duration of the project, the consultant provided support to the CEO as Trusted Advisor, acting as sounding board to define the course of action and facilitating the convergence of stakeholders in a difficult period.

The Success of the Project Delivered Desired Outcome
An aligned recovery plan, daily management action tracker, weekly missing parts report were implemented. A stringent tracking process was applied with well-defined measures. There was a restored trust in transparency and management control by the shareholders achieved. A result and recipient oriented requirements catalogue was produced for Shareholders.

Additional Information

Are You Well-prepared for Crisis Management?
Check out Our List with 12 Points on Crisis Management Below
The Food industry is especially vulnerable to various types of crises, and many Executives feel that they can always improve their level of preparedness. Being good at crisis management should be a priority for Executives and designated employees. Food recall, Food disease outbreaks, and Product withdrawal can be extremely costly and cause serious supply disruption, as well as result in costly law suits by Consumer Advocacy groups, and the list with troubles goes on and on.
The public, your consumers, as well as the media can be unforgiving and your business, and organization can suffer serious damages. We like to think that your organization tales all necessary and legal measures, to avoid situations like that, but here are a few great insights on how to deal with crises.
12 Points List

The outcome of a crisis and the effect of your business strongly depends on how your company responds and the attitude it demonstrates.
Be prepared in advance, do not wait for an event to occur, and act afterwards. It might be too late, and the damages harder to control.
How quickly you respond and how flexible you are in dealing with the parties affected in the crisis is very important.
Big businesses have an advantage over smaller companies, as they are usually better organized and more prepared pre, during, and post-crisis period.
An essential part is to have a detailed Crisis Management plan in place, and the designated parties to be well-familiar with it.
Have a list with outside Experts who can help you manage the crisis.
Stay on top of the developments and have the latest information, so you can take the most effective actions.
Practice empathy and understanding of the affected party’s situation in the crisis.
Take responsibility and make necessary commitments in resolving the crisis.
Communicate honestly and openly with the media, outside vendors, the public, and finally with your team members and employees, to reach to the solutions as efficiently as possible.
Manage your cash flow – a crisis event might sometimes freeze your sales and cash flow completely, so it is crucial to have an action plan in moving forward and enough cash supply for business operations.
Plan with Insurance companies to protect your assets, business, and ensure the recovery steps and receiving compensation.

For Further Reading:

Food Safety Crisis Management
Crisis Management in the Food & Beverage Industry
Preparing for a crisis in your food business
Opportunities to Strengthen Your Brand
Crisis Management in the Food Chain – A Canadian Perspective

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About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

The Importance of the Other Elements in your Consulting RFP – 8 Points to Consider

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“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle.

Synergy is really what most Clients and Consultants aim for when joining forces on a project. There are logic and advantage in synergy, and that’s how a single project creates extra value.
The best way to view your Consulting project is this: You are not making a purchase, but solving a problem – don’t look at the means, but focus more on the outcomes you expect from the project.
When you work on your RFP, there are 8 points to consider in regards to the other elements:
1. Approach to the selection process  –
Clarity and transparency in the selection process matters a lot and can make a big difference in the quality of the product you will receive. You need to communicate and describe to the prospective providers how the selection process will unfold.
First, let’s outline the key milestones for the RFP process. It is important for consulting candidates to understand how much time they have to prepare and submit their proposal. It will also give them an idea on when the project could start.
Usually, at this point, you should have signed a Non Disclosure Agreement with the potential candidates. Even if this step is not mandatory, we highly recommend protecting your confidentiality.

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2. Stages in the RFP process –

Distribution of the RFP and intention to Bid
Questions and Answers pre-proposal submission (Answers should be shared with all participants)
Timeframe for the reception of the proposals
Short-list and feedback
Presentations
Selection
Project kick of

3. Stakeholders engagement –
It’s advisable to get several stakeholders involved. They can participate in the selection committee, and organize face to face discussions with the finalist (or you can leverage new technologies like Skype, Zoom, and Google hangouts).
And now let’s have a look at the proposal’s content.

4. Proposal’s content –

Give some background information about who you are – Unless you are working exclusively with companies you already know (but not always a good idea), you need to let them know about your organization.
Explain the context of the assignment – A project is rarely unidimensional. Understanding the political and technical implications of a project is key to design a customized solution to your problems.
Detail your expectations in plain English – Put on paper the benefits and documents you expect from the project but also the constraints you might have.

To enable proper comparisons, do not hesitate to specify in your RFP a few expectations of the proposal and from the consultant, for example, you can include:

A description of the objectives pursued, the approach and deliverables, the planning for the project highlighting the key milestones as well as the project management structure proposed (including the contribution required from the client).
Demonstration of competence, also the consulting firm should provide references on similar projects (industry/capability), the CVs of the actual consultants that are expected to work on the project and examples of thought leadership they have produced in the field.
Fees and workload should be detailed enough to enable a clear understanding of the cost structure associated with the project.

Finally, you should describe how the Q&A between sending RFP and receiving the proposal will be organized. When should the question be sent? How will the answers be shared with the consulting providers.
5. Sharing your decision’s criteria –
Your selection criteria and expectations of the proposal have to be explicit. In principle, you know already how you will perform the selection. If not, well, that is the right moment to think about it. Selection criteria are usually a blend of components such as:

The capability of the firm to get the job done – Leveraging feedback from previous clients on previous projects.
The expertise of the firm in the required field – Ideally, the consulting firm should provide some thought leadership or position papers in the niche.
The clarity of the approach and the deliverables – You need to understand if the deliverables are those you expect but also to understand how the consultant intends to get there.
The composition of the team – You need to make sure that the consultants who will work on the project daily have the right seniority and experience.
The fit with the company – In short, do you think you will work well together? Will they have the right impact and recognition with your peers?
The price of the project – Can you afford their services? Are you getting a clear value for your money? Are there hidden fees to be considered?

As you can see, these considerations are much broader than the sole price. Even though there is no magic formula using clear criteria, communicating them to the Consulting firms early in the process is key for getting a high-quality proposal, and taking informed and fair decisions. 
6. Providing schedule and budget clues –
Whether your project is urgent or not, you likely have a timeline in mind. Or at least some internal deadlines or meetings. Knowing your schedule for the project is key for the consulting candidates. It will directly impact the team composition and the cost of the project.
Users and buyers rarely include their budget in the RFP. However, if you are on a very tight budget, it can make sense to include that information in the RFP to make sure that you don’t lose time for proposals you cannot afford. Besides, the consultants will be able to come up with trade-offs or design-to-cost proposals.
7. Indicating your other requirements –
You might have other requirements that you want to include in your RFP. For instance, you might be interested in having references and contact information to check the references. You can also have some eligibility criteria linked to your internal procurement policies. Maybe your consulting providers have to be registered as a provider.
8. Giving a single point of contact –
You also need to define the main point of contact during the process. Will it be someone from procurement, one of the executives, or even a third party? All the interactions with Consulting firms during the RFP process should go through that person. Letting the Consulting firms connect directly with the Executives of their choice would give an advantage to the incumbents and distort the competition.

Ready to get started on your next Consulting project?
We will be happy to help.
Please give us a call today, at no obligation.Let’s get the conversation started.

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Consulting Playbook: Building Modern HR Practices and How That Impacts Your Organization

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The Consulting Playbook, Edition #5
Every business is a people’s business at its core. How you organize and manage your talent is essential to the health and the growth of your organization. Let’s have a look at some issues and top practices defining a modern and effective HR department.
The Demands of Global Growing Talent Needs
The organization referenced is a Global Holding Company operating designing and manufacturing air & space parts and vehicles that boasted a large workforce: > 150,000 FTE, with 25% engineers, and comprised of 5 main operating companies. The organization is among the leaders in servicing the Aviation, Aerospace and Defense industry. They have completed a major research project on the topic of “How to organize for growth in the Aerospace and Defense Industry”, and this research had specifically outlined improvements in the HR functions within a corporate environment.
HRD together with the Executive Committee had identified serious HR issues which had to be resolved on a Group level. The organization needed to recruit 5,000 engineers additionally in very specialized domains (composites, structures, propulsion). Other major areas of improvement included managerial culture, creating a sense of ownership, and establishing carrier bridges across the group of companies.
Corporate Business Academy Designed to Support New Initiatives
The Consultant developed a close working relationship with top HR team members (Group HR function + HRDs of operating companies) with an agenda to define HR priorities and create a blueprint of new strategy implementation. He also performed an analysis of the present organization’s structure at Group level, and in the operating companies to be able to determine commonalities and overlaps (interviews and benchmarks), and assess function and performance. During the design sessions with HR top team alternative design options were discussed and further revised. Corporate Business Academy was organized and prepared for launch. The role of the newly established academy would be to build and support the newly designed managerial culture of the Group HR process redefinition: candidacies, recruitment, evaluation, and training.
The Impact on the Business:

Established a common vision and action plan for Group HR functions
Refined the HR priorities and roadmap to implementation
New Resource allocation processes were outlined including Performance Management/KPIs, Key processes
Setup of a common improvement platform for all non-transactional processes (pay, time, non-specific training)
New HR Business Partner model was implemented across operating companies
Corporate Business Academy set to become a key factor of the Group culture

Here you can create the content that will be used within the module.

Additional Information

Effective Reorganization Methods for a Modern Global HR Operation
A modern and dynamic HR department has a tremendous impact on the business performance of any organization. As companies grow and their needs in qualified talent rises on a global scale, the demand for a progressive HR operation becomes even more ardent. If this component is so crucial, we had identified the key HR competency as following: familiarity with integrated talent management, understanding of workforce planning, and competency in social networking and new HR technology.
The Top 5 HR Practices that Can Make an Impact on Your Business:
1. Structured Governance and Business Case Development. In order for HR to best serve a business and build a successful business case, a close working relationship with the business leaders is a must. This will serve as foundation to understand the inner workings of the company, and involve the management in the planning process. It will also foster the full alignment…
2. Developing Advanced Workforce Planning Capabilities. Leading HR organizations today incorporate elaborate forecasting and workforce analytics into their processes. This enables them to apply company-wide talent, latest business data and external workforce data into practical insights that they can share with business leaders.
3. Implementing the right HR Philosophy – Leading HR organizations tend to commit to creating work environments enabling employees to thrive both as individuals and as a group. They clearly communicate expectations, the HR philosophy and mission, and actively engage in creating a positive environment. Innovation and collaboration, or creating the best place to work are their top priorities, while the least effective HR philosophies limit their focus on efficiency or cost-cutting efforts.
4. Reducing administrative work for HR Business Partners. A HR organization represents the link between the HR function and business leaders, a high-impact HR organization is able to advise senior business leaders on decision support, workforce planning, leadership development and executive coaching. Delegating the project to the right person, improves HR’s credibility across the enterprise, enhance working relationships with business leaders, cultivate mutual understanding and gain more influence. Poor performance in this area and narrow focus on administrative duties only, can actually reduce an HR function’s ability to work effectively.
5. Flexible HR Organization Design. Leading HR organizations are flexible and agile. Their structure allows adaptive movement when conditions dramatically change.  Centralized, decentralized model or a combination of the two, emerged as a predictor of HR success. Flexibility of the model is an important and valuable feature allowing an organization to adapt changes, and continue to grow and thrive.
For further reading:
– Reviewing the Functions of Global Human Resource Management
– The global and local HR function
– Challenges for human resource management and global business strategy

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

Self-Diagnostic to Improve the Management of Your Consulting Spend

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Do you currently employ consultants on a regular basis? Perhaps you consider consultants a negligible part of your budget and overall business strategy—there for small, niche projects when you need them and gone as soon as that business is concluded. However, from our experience, consulting spend can represent millions of dollars for companies, and if not properly managed (or managed at all), you’ll miss out on the strategic opportunities a consultant can provide.
Today, we are going to look at a self-diagnostic to improve the way you manage your consulting spending. We will look at four key areas in which to assess your current management approaches: scope, panel management, performance management, and sourcing.
1. Scope
When considering the scope of consultants in your day-to-day and annual business, ask yourself these questions.

Do you know the amount your company is spending on consulting on a yearly basis

The first step toward improving the management of your consulting spend is to be sure you know just how much you are spending, on average, each year. Knowing this number will put in perspective for you the part consultants play in your business and allow you to better evaluate whether or not you’re seeing a strong return on your current investments.

What special skills do the consultants you employ possess?

More importantly, what skills do your consultants provide that add value to your business and to various projects? Look at the areas in which you are seeking the help of a consultant. What activities could be done in house? What about out of house? Are you hiring consultants that fill important skill gaps in your current personnel? Consultants should fulfill a specific need within your company, whether that be a new perspective, a special expertise, or a greater authority. Understanding this will help establish the scope of consultants you are currently working with.

Manage your Consulting Spend

…successful companies apply a sound financial management principle: hiring external consultants has to bring more value than leading the project internally.
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How does the work of your consultants align with your key strategic needs?

What are your needs this year, and from year-to-year? In order to manage your consulting spend, you need to understand how your consultants’ skills align with your business’s needs. When looking at your consulting spend with through a strategic lens, does your resource allocation align with your strategic intent? Are there areas where you could reduce costs? Areas where you should invest further? Too many companies tend to allocate their consulting budget in the same way every year, when a dynamic resource allocation would be better suited.

What is the rationale for using consultants?

There are many valid reasons for hiring and maintaining ongoing relationships with consultants. Be sure you understand your own. Maintain clear perspective and encourage (or even demand) that departments keep you apprised of their rationale behind hiring a new consultant. You should always be able to answer these two questions before bringing a consultant on board: “do we need this person?” and “why?”
2. Panel Management
When evaluating consultant panels and their usefulness, ask yourself these key questions.

Do you know how to qualify a supplier to a specific project?

Ideally, you should have a process in mind to evaluate a prospective supplier for each project. Less than ideal, perhaps, you have a list of prospective consultant suppliers and tend to go to one or two of your favorites, without weighing specific specialties and strengths, but simply trusting their reliability. Be sure you understand what each of your potential suppliers is bringing to the table and how that might complement a specific project.

Are you using a panel of qualified suppliers?

Do you have a ready-made panel of suppliers who you know to be experts in fields you need for your business? Perhaps you do not. Check in with your departments and find out how they access qualified services, and make sure that they have a predictable, responsible source of talent. Vet your suppliers to ensure that you are getting reliable and highly qualified consultants.

Do you easily find the expertise you need?

When the need for a consultant arises, are you able to quickly and easily find the best consultant or consultants for the job? Ideally, for any highly technical requirements, you should have a trusted advisor you can turn to for guidance that will have a selection of candidates on hand. With the right partner, it should be simple to access qualified consultants with the expertise you need.

Are your usual vendors always available to provide necessary expertise?

Consider this question carefully. Review past projects and times you needed third-party expertise from your trusted vendors. How did it go? Were your suppliers there when you needed them? If things did not go well, then that is a sign that you need to look at panel management and revise your approach, perhaps your panel list, and almost definitely, your process for soliciting the expertise you need when you need it.
3. Performance Management
Once you have the consultants you want, doing the work you need, you still need to monitor their performance. Here are some questions to ask regarding the performance management process.

Do you manage the performance of your suppliers?

Ideally, you should be, but the reality is that such performance management may be slack, especially in long-term business relationships. If you are not managing performance, or if that management is ill-defined, here is where you need to start. Set up benchmarks for the performance of your suppliers and be sure that they are meeting those expectations.

Do you know how to qualify a supplier to a specific project?

Ideally, you should have a process in mind to evaluate a prospective supplier for each project. Less than ideal, perhaps, you have a list of prospective consultant suppliers and tend to go to one or two of your favorites, without weighing specific specialties and strengths, but simply trusting their reliability. Be sure you understand what each of your potential suppliers is bringing to the table and how that might complement a specific project.

Are you using a panel of qualified suppliers?

Do you have a ready-made panel of suppliers who you know to be experts in fields you need for your business? Perhaps you do not. Check in with your departments and find out how they access qualified services, and make sure that they have a predictable, responsible source of talent. Vet your suppliers to ensure that you are getting reliable and highly qualified consultants.

How Much Could you save on your Consulting Spend?
Take the test to assess your Consulting Procurement Maturity and the potential Savings you could expect
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Are you usually satisfied with the ROI of assignments?

Another key indicator of a good or bad business relationship is whether or not your are seeing a strong return on your investment. If you are keeping an eye on costs and scope, here is where you can follow up, by making sure that your consultants are justifying their cost. If you are not consistently satisfied with the ROI of consulting assignments (and how can you know unless you are monitoring), then you are not properly managing your consulting spend.

Have you benchmarked consulting costs with your peers?

Once you know the costs of your consultants, and what you are getting for your investment, it is important to make sure that you are still running lean and staying competitive. As with any expenditure you make, compare your spending to that of your peers. If you are spending more than others in your industry on consulting services, take a look at your process and see where it might be improved. Also, if you buy large amounts from the same vendors, are you getting the rebates you should?

Do you provide detailed feedback to your consultants?

Communication works best both ways. Whether for good or for bad, a reputable consultant will appreciate honest feedback. Clear communication allows you to improve your business’s bottom line and the overall business-consultant relationship. It may be easier to provide a list of requirements and say nothing until the work is done, but detailed, regular feedback can go a long way toward ensuring the project gets done right, the first time around.

Do you discuss feedback to improve your relationship with your consultants?

Once you have provided feedback, to maximize the effect, consider setting aside time to discuss what you have found. Give time for the consultant to ask his or her own questions. Again, good communication goes both ways. With solid metrics and a plan in mind, you have what you need to improve your relationship for this project, and for future projects to come.
4. Sourcing Process
The last area of concern, with respect to your consultants, is how you are managing the sourcing process. To diagnose the effectiveness of your current sourcing process, ask yourself these questions.

Do you have a process to acquire consulting services?

Having a clear plan in place for how you acquire consultants is imperative to improving your consulting spend. This process should be in writing and followed by all departments involved with the hiring of consultants. If you have gone through all of the above self-diagnostic questions, consider formalizing your process in writing, if you have not already. Also, make sure a professional buyer is involved in the process.

Do you have frame contracts set up with your major suppliers?

Once you have everything else in place, you should have general frame contracts with consultant suppliers with whom you do regular business. In this way, you can set up general fees with understood benchmarks, generate volume and loyalty based rebates,  and minimize your procurement time later.

Do you include performance in your criteria of choice?

When discussing with your suppliers the criteria you have for consultants, be sure that they are taking performance on past projects into account. A good supplier should be thoroughly vetting their candidates and checking references from previous employers to ensure that their consultants have the experience and positive track record they say they do. Don’t let performance abilities be pushed aside by other, seemingly more important criteria.

Do you systematically use Confidentiality Agreements when discussing your needs with consultants?

Even before you hire a consultant, in the course of discussing your needs, you may need to divulge privileged proprietary information. Make sure that your sourcing process includes a confidentiality clause, so that your competitors – and others – will not know what you are doing and why.
If you have answered “yes” to most of the questions in this self-assessment, congratulations! You are among the 7 percent of buyers who consider themselves fully equipped to manage their consulting spend. However, more likely, you have probably just realized that you now have a blueprint to improve your performance, generate tremendous savings, and get more value from your consultants.
At Consulting Quest, we aim to improve the overall performance of the consulting industry by carefully vetting our consultants and working closely with both consultants and businesses to facilitate more positive working relationships. We understand that there are many moving parts to effectively managing your consulting spend. If you found this self-diagnostic useful, please let us know how it helped and what you have done with it.

6 steps to evaluate the quality of Consulting Proposals

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Your winning RFP process has attracted a score of proposals. Once the elation of that bounty fades, you come face to face with the daunting task of selecting the winning proposal.
Don’t just dive right in. Never lose track of the notion that it’s not about just making a purchase—it’s about solving a problem for your company. That’s why this task cries out for employing a sure-fire process that marries alignment with inspiration.
In this post, we’ll look at how to evaluate the quality of a proposal with an eye towards identifying the highest-quality solution for your company’s needs.
Warning: this information may run afoul of the herd approach to RFP evaluation.
Funnel down to potential winners, setting aside the rest.
Think of the process as a funnel into which you pour all the proposals.

At the narrow end will settle just those proposals that, even at a first glance, make your heart skip a beat. At the least, they meet every one of your RFP’s criteria. Plus they landed in your inbox on time, are well-organized, and seem promising.

A bit higher up the funnel are the proposals that are slightly off-track but still workable. Maybe they came in late with a good rationale or missed an inconsequential step, but some look promising. You want to avoid eliminating a potential gem too early in the process.

At this point, your impulse will be to shred the rest. Stifle that impulse.
Yes, anything high up in the funnel should be set aside for now as an unlikely fit, but keep these two key cautionary notes in mind:

Don’t overlook or toss aside too quickly a proposal from an upstart entrepreneur with a great idea but less than desirable proposal-writing skills. There may be a way to have that idea become all or part of your business solution.

Be careful not to burn bridges when you send your response to vendors with rejected proposals, regardless of how you view their current proposal. Here’s why:  In an environment of rapid change, these vendors may evolve into great partners or suppliers. Moreover, your company’s needs can evolve to the point where you might realize that one of these rejected proposals now would be a good fit.

Source Consultants

What may get overlooked, however, is the critical point where the rubber will meet the road: how to follow up the work of the consultant.

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Gather a team of proposal evaluators.
Okay—you now have the proposals in hand that, at first glance, meet your eligibility requirements and your other basic criteria. It’s time to get serious and pick your evaluation team.
Who might be among your team of reviewers? Procurement professionals, to be sure. Perhaps a senior executive or two, depending on the type of solution you are seeking.

Consider including end users where appropriate. One hallmark of innovative companies is that they view end users or customers as partners rather than consumers of a new product or service.

Seeking input from a range of stakeholders helps ensure that the evaluation process is perceived as fair and is more likely to result in selecting the best proposal for your company’s needs. Both of those are vital to successfully implement the new idea or project.

If your team lacks deep experience in the area of procurement processes, consider including a qualified and experienced consultant on the team to help build a process designed to procure the best solution for your company.
Review all the criteria: the forest and the trees.
Keep in mind that some people on your review team will be attuned to seeing the big picture—the forest—while others will focus on details—the trees. Having both types on your team is an advantage.

Start with these reminders:

Your project’s objectives which any winning proposal needs to fit.

Your corporate culture and the type of partner or supplier that might complement that culture and be the right fit.

The approach selected reinforce and support the overall purpose of the project, as such, depending on the context :

Look for an entrepreneurial approach and an idea that may act like a company spark plug.

Look for an approach that is innovative, original, breakthrough or transformational, and a concept your company can leverage.

Be on the lookout for a particularly intelligent solution using advanced technologies and outside-the-box thinking.

… Or look for a proven and reliable approach

Ask the team to review the proposed solutions along the lines of problem resolution, clarity, internal consistency, and ease of implementation, as well as outside-the-box approaches.
Next, jump to the standards:

Eligibility

Ethics and any potential conflicts of interest

Transparency in the content of the proposal

The proposal meets or exceeds all or nearly all the criteria in the RFP

Ease of implementation and future buy-in

How thoroughly did the vendor research your company’s needs?

Quality and expertise of the team that will deliver the job

How does the proposal price align with your budget?

The fun begins: scoring/weighting/ranking.
In the initial round, go for individual scores based on a matrix. Embed a weight to each scoring criterion.
Since we are limiting our discussion to the quality of the proposal, weighting may look like this, depending on your current needs:

meets functional requirements – 30%

aligns well with corporate culture / fit – 15%

inspirational, breakthrough thinking; originality – 15%

team expertise – 10%

quality of written proposal and clarity of deliverables – 10%

Price 20%

Next, gather the team back together to build a consensus score. Why? Procurement is one of the backbones of your company’s path to increasing its ROI and keeping its competitive edge. The procurement process is simply too important to be left to a flat averaging of reviewers’ scores.
What can you gain form a consensus score?

You get beneath an outlier number to identify whether that evaluator, for example, has had a past experience that has informed the scoring. A key learning experience!

On the other hand, perhaps a reviewer uses the scoring to put a personal agenda into play—a move that can be revealed in building consensus.

Finally, a consensus score is more likely to be perceived as fair on the part of potential partners and suppliers, as well as your employees and end users.

This all sounds as if it is more work than a simple matrix of X criteria and Y responses—and it is. But the outcome will be worth it: a workable solution that will help keep your company’s competitive edge.
Last, if none of the proposals fits either your requirements or your budget, do not hesitate to go have a second round of discussions with the short listed companines. The better consultants understand your needs, the better they will be able to tailor the solution (scope, timing, team size) to accomodate your requirements.
If you need assistance with meshing your procurement process with your company’s strategic priorities and market needs, Consulting Quest stands ready to support you with a global perspective and a tailored solution.

Consulting Playbook: Prepare a merger of equals with the customer in mind

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The Consulting Playbook, Edition #16
 
When two Global Companies in the Food Services industry started planning a merger, they needed the help of a Consultant to design the new operating model of the new company.
The objectives were rather clear, economies of scale, better geographic coverage and access to new distribution channels.
However, one of the key concerns expressed by the management was the risk of losing focus during the transition of the two separate companies to an integrated one. Both companies were facing extreme competition in their respective areas and the merger could become a major distraction if not managed properly.
The main aspects the Consultant needed to offer expertise were alignment of the two companies’ different governing structure and practices, agreement on the new business model and on series of different issues. Their strategic priorities had to be coordinated too.
5 Steps to Align the Company’s Focal Points

Valuable input was gathered from the two CEOs and the rest of the executive team on the new operating model and the corporate center design. Would the corporate center act as a financial holding or rather be involved on the day-to-day operations? The company opted for a light corporate center providing strategic guidance and created a shared service center to optimize all transactional activities.
A detailed analysis of the two companies’ current state of operation was performed, to facilitate the new company’s launch and provide more insight for the transition and ensure a quick alignment with the refreshed group’s strategy.
Each corporate department of the new company was designed in group sessions that included a broad participation of executives and team members. Input by the groups on the two companies’ subsidiaries was gathered.
Top management worked on alignment of relocation efforts as many corporate centers were being rationalized at headquarter but also regional level.
Last, a transition team led by one of the two CEOs was created to manage day-to-day operations while the other CEO took the lead of the Integration effort.

A New Operating Model Leads the Way for a New Vision
The project was successfully completed with the adoption of a detailed new operating model. This helped the newly established entity to articulate the new corporate vision and to effectively manage new priorities as well as the balance of power between the manager of the two legacies.
Company’s mission statement was created with strategic alignment between all departments and roadshows were organized all over the world to communicate the vision and embark the teams.
The new management tone was defined, and the merger was successfully implemented.

Additional Information

Major Food Service Trends Shaping the Industry
From fine dining to food trucks this year we are seeing some interesting and significant trends. Usually new trends start at the top, with the top level dining and find their way into the lower levels of food service infrastructure. There is plenty of innovation and progressive trends to talk about affecting today’s food service industry. From Fast-casual, Fast-fine to  Fast-casual 2.0 establishments prove they are more innovative and ground breaking than Fine dining.
Main factors that are affecting the food industry lately, as expected, are technology and mobile apps, commodity prices variations, as traditional food services become more open and more dynamic.
The revolutionary aspects we are noticing are personalization, authenticity and brand new food and drink concepts developing in pace with consumers’ tastes.
Companies need to understand better what motivates consumers and what are they looking for when it comes to food and dining.
Top Three Consumer Trends Today Include

Mobility and Flexibility

Consumers want their food anywhere and anytime. Hot food bar, delis, sushi bars, salad bars, etc., are being offered in a variety of outlets from Fast-casual 2.0 and Upmarket casual to Grocery stores, plus there is various meal subscription services, meal delivery businesses, and more. This is creating additional competition for traditional restaurant operators, and they must adequately respond to. Keep innovating and attracting more customers, these outlets need to try hard to retain them too.

Extreme Choices in Food and Eating Styles

Some people are devotedly counting calories and looking for lower fat, fat-free, sugar-free types of foods, with the clear goal to lose weight and stay in shape. While others like to indulge, and eat anything and everything they like from solid and elaborate main courses to rich desserts and sweets, burgers, pizza, pasta and more. Customers just have a range of preferences. And they like to have choices readily available to them, whether they like to indulge or stay healthy and slim.

New Sources of Protein

Consumers are very concerned with protein, and where they get their proteins from. New alternative sources of protein are sought after like quinoa, beans, cauliflower, poultry, fish, etc., beside the popular options like steaks and burgers.
A smart strategy for restaurants will be to offer a bigger variety of traditional and contemporary proteins to satisfy customers’ evolving tastes.
For Further Reading –
– Mergers & acquisitions: Latest news and analysis articles
– Food and Beverage Merger & Acquisition Activity for 2015
– Why more food industry mergers are likely to come
– How 10 Food Trends For 2016 Will Transform Restaurants
– Emerging Trends

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About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

4 Practical Strategies to put your Consulting Spend back on tracks

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“Consultants have credibility because they are not dumb enough to work at your company.” – Scott Adams.

Just joking! Now, that we have your attention, let’s talk about strategies, data utilization, value of services, and price.
When you start to look at your consulting spend and realize the drift in costs, amongst the various immediate initiatives that you can consider, think about scanning your consulting spend. It’s about slicing and dicing the data you gathered, to identify the outliers. You’ve seen the patterns and have a clear idea what’s going on. Discrepancies in the spending or the practices are often indicators of something that went wrong. Let us walk you through the most common situations.
Spending more is not always a problem. What matters is the value being created. Let’s check first if the money is well spent if synergies could be created and ways to avoid waste.
When one part of the organization is spending more than others?
What could be the root causes of this situation?

The scope of responsibilities determines Spending & Value created

All parts of the organization are not equal in their scope of responsibilities. Since Consulting is roughly proportional to revenues, a large Business Unit, for instance, is prone to higher Consulting Spend than a small one. Looking at the ratio spending vs. revenues can be a good way to look at a situation. Conversely, in a turnaround situation, you might be spending more on smaller GBUs to bring them back to value creation. Be careful not to throw good money after bad though.
The corporate can also be a good client of Consulting Services. For a company with an integrated Corporate in charge of Strategic decisions and Excellence programs, the Corporate can have the larger Consulting Spend whereas a decentralized Company with a light Corporate should expect a minimal spend for the Corporate functions if you have the later with High Consulting Costs, you may want to question either your governance model or your demand management.

Create Value Through Consulting

But you need to know that the Consulting Industry is not one homogeneous block. There some regional specificities, including on the capabilities.

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How the context and the strategy affect Consulting Spend

A regulatory change, a reorganization or an acquisition and the associated PMI can inflate the Consulting spending. If a part of the organization has launched a major transformation or has an ambitious strategy, it can increase its expenses for Consulting to accelerate the process. This can make sense to capture value faster, just make sure however you don’t end up overspending with luxury consultants and put in place a monthly reporting of consulting costs. This will avoid unpleasant surprises.
Sometimes Executives use Consulting as a workaround for strict HR policies since the rules on Consulting are often looser. Creating surprisingly a bump on Consulting Spend in the middle of a recruitment freeze. Cost reduction objective was then perfectly achieved.

Consulting Fees vs Consulting Expenses – the footprint

Keep in mind that most Consulting Projects separate the Consulting Fees from the Expenses of the Consulting Teams during work on the projects. If you are not cautious, you might end up paying up to an additional 30% of the total cost of your project only on expenses. If Consulting Fees are really tight, this ratio might end up being quite high. In this case, mostly make sure consultants are respecting your travel policies. There is nothing worse than consultants flying business while the rest of the company is in a travel ban.

If the entity selecting the Consulting Firms is based in Europe and tends to shop locally, every project in North America or Asia will have a premium attached to it. And don’t think that you are safe because you work with a large global Consulting Firm. Because most of them are set up with local P&Ls and are pressured to optimize their local resources, they would rather send their understaffed European resources than find local resources for your project.
When a Consulting Firm is charging more than others
When looking at the numbers, you realize that John Doe Consulting is charging 40% more than your other Consulting Providers on similar projects. Or maybe they are charging more only when working with Business Unit B, the most profitable of your BUs.

The scope and deliverables

Look closely at the scope and the deliverables of the projects. For broad projects with several phases, you can either contract in one large project and in several small projects following the phases. Another point you want to look at is the range of the projects. For instance, for a Lean Manufacturing project, one Business Unit might have decided to work on all the factories at the same time, when another one will work on a small pilot group, and then implement in the rest of the organization.

The complexity

The complexity of the project can also have an impact on the price. Maybe you are using John Doe Consulting only on more complex projects because they are knowledgeable and can mobilize a huge volume of expert resources in a short period of time. Obviously, this often comes at a premium. In the same way, if only a handful of companies can complete a given strategic project, supply and demand rules prevail.

The footprint

The footprint of the organization can also have an impact on the price of the projects, through the expenses as mentioned earlier. A business unit heavily centralized and solely based in one region will probably face lower Consulting Expenses than a Company based in several regions.

The price – value dilemma

Some Consulting Firms are just more expensive than others. The real question that you should ask yourself is: “What is worth the investment?”. Spending more is not always wrong if the return on investment is excellent. What matters most is the fit and the impact.

The Culture

If your teams are culturally homogeneous, or on the contrary, extremely diverse, the performance evaluation will probably not be impacted by individual cultural differences. However, if your Business Units have different cultural structures, then it might not make sense to compare the performance results from one with the other. In other words, your Brazil Headquartered BU will probably have better scores, independently of the latest results of the soccer team.

The quality of their providers

Lower-Performance scores can come from the quality of the providers. It can be linked to the quality of the local Consulting Market. The logic behind when you are sourcing the best providers for your direct business should also apply for your consulting expenses. The probability of finding them in a 5-mile radius is fairly poor. Having been classmates with one of the partners or belonging to the same baseball fan club is not much better.
When Department D works almost exclusively with one Consulting Firm
Working with familiar consultants is comfortable. The Consultants know very well your business, its complexity, and even internal politics. However, we are always amazed to see the same senior partner morphing from a pricing specialist to a lean expert or a digital guru. And if it was only the senior partner teaming with other qualified partners, but you see the same phenomenon at the principal and consultant level. Or simply put, always the same team, different color jerseys.
Here is an interesting take on expertise –

“Chess masters don’t evaluate all the possible moves. They know how to discard 98% of the ones they could make and focus on the best choice of the remaining lot. That’s the way expertise works in other fields too: Wise practitioners recognize familiar patterns and put their creativity, improvisation, and skill towards the marginal cases.” – John Dickerson.

So now you know who is spending and why. Now what?
There is a myriad of ways to approach this challenging situation. What really drives the way forward is the sense of urgency you have. Here are four from the simplest to the most disruptive.
1) Implement a systematic competition policy to keep providers on their toes.
2) Centralize consulting budgets in each business line to align priorities.
3) Set a ceiling in consulting spend per unit vs historical or top line.
4) Implement a demand management process to match spend and ROI.

Agree? Disagree? How does your Consulting Spend look like?
Don’t hesitate to reach out and share your experience.
We love to hear from you.

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The Consulting Procurement Process Doesn’t Stop With the Order

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Top 5 Articles

The Consulting Procurement Process Doesn’t Stop With the Order

When does procurement turn into a partnership? The easy answer is that as soon as the order is placed, procurement is over and done with. But in reality, the procurement process doesn’t stop with the order. To be successful, it should be a long-term process that goes beyond the moment the contract is signed.

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