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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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Podcast | How to Streamline Your Sourcing Process So You Can Have More Time for Things You Love

To build a perfect sourcing process with little margin for error, lets talk about a few methods that can make it way more effective.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains how to Streamline Your Sourcing Process So You Can Have More Time for Things You Love.
Key Takeaway: Don’t forget that the success of Consulting Projects is very dependent on the personality and knowledge of the consultant in charge. Consulting sourcing is not rocket science. It is very similar to other procurement categories. The trick is to know what part of the process are important and make sure you do them right.

To build a perfect sourcing process with little margin for error, lets talk about a few methods that can make it way more effective.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains how to Streamline Your Sourcing Process So You Can Have More Time for Things You Love.
Key Takeaway: Don’t forget that the success of Consulting Projects is very dependent on the personality and knowledge of the consultant in charge. Consulting sourcing is not rocket science. It is very similar to other procurement categories. The trick is to know what part of the process are important and make sure you do them right.

8 best practices to make sure you get the best from the money you invest in consulting

8 best practices to make sure you get the best from the money you invest in consulting

Client organizations spend up to 3% of the revenues in consulting every year. But, Surprisingly, they don’t always monitor the returns on this significant investment. They argue that the intangibility of consulting services makes it difficult to measure results

8 best practices to make sure you get the best from the money you invest in consulting

“Half the money spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” – John Wanamaker

And they are not entirely wrong. However, there is a huge difference between managing imperfectly and not managing at all. We have identified eight best practices to help client organizations get more value from their investment in consulting.
 

READ ALSO
There is a multitude of reasons why Executives don’t like to work with Consultants.

1. Make sure your projects are strategic.
Among the consulting projects done during the last 12 months, how many were supporting your Strategy? Or at least considered strategic at the time they were launched?
There are mainly two types of strategic projects – Core Strategy Projects and Strategic Adaptation Projects. For example, a project that supports the advance of the company’s long-term vision is a Core Strategic Project, and one that supports the adaptation of internal rules and organizations will be Strategic Adaptation Project.
2. Your projects should aim at the same overall goal-
Whatever strategic model you are using, creating a sustainable competitive position relies on making choices and strengthening specific activities to achieve a unique value proposition. Those activities also referred to as capabilities, will reinforce each other and make your positioning very difficult to replicate by the competition.
The efforts you are deploying to implement your strategy need, as a consequence, to be congruent. You need to make sure you have mapped the key activities to execute your Strategy and not leave some key pieces on the side. It will probably require regularly reviewing your resources allocation and particularly the utilization of your consulting budget.
3. Planning your projects can make a whole difference-
Timing is everything, as the popular saying goes. It can make all the difference when you are planning projects through the years and sequencing them smartly.
Take another look at the projects you launched last year.

Did you launch them at the right time?
Was the whole project a high priority?
Did you break down the project into relevant phases?
Were there phases that could have been launched later?
Did you evaluate the interdependencies with other activities or projects in your sequencing/timing of the project?
Were you able to self-fund some of your projects?
Did your projects integrate quick gains to facilitate change?

4. Keep an eye on the ROI-
We cannot talk about Strategy alignment and Consulting Spend without touching upon Return on Investment and performance. You must know if you have spent your money on the right projects, and if you got the results you expected.

Were you able to attain the strategic goals you had defined at the beginning of the year?
Are you satisfied with the ROI of the projects you launched last year?
Are you satisfied with the performance of the consultants you hired last year?
Do you feel you got the right value for your money?

Measuring your consulting project’s performance and evaluating the Return on Investment is the first step to optimizing your use of Consulting.
5. Define your consulting Strategy-
Maybe that’s the most important part. Like any strategic lever, Consulting must be integrated early on in the strategic cycle to get the full benefits of its utilization. We have mentioned the importance of aligning your consulting spend and your overall Strategy. Going one step further, you can define how you use consulting in your company by translating your Strategy into a Consulting Strategy.

Translate your high-level priorities into clusters and define what resources you want to allocate to each cluster.
Identify the potential projects and determine the contribution to each of your clusters
Define priorities, smarty sequence your projects, manage interdependencies and run a make-or-buy assessment.

Defining the Consulting Strategy is a team exercise. If your volume of Consulting is significant, you should consider devoting a small team to run the strategy definition cycle and guarantee the Strategy’s execution. Don’t hesitate to mix roles between Strategy and Procurement teams.
Ultimately, the goal of this exercise is not to take over decision-making. The Business Lines need to keep control over their Consulting Spend. However, you still need to make sure that they get the most value from Consulting by implementing the right practices.
6. Optimize the way you use consulting-
Are you grouping similar projects? Among the strategic projects, you might find some redundancies on the projects and/or potential synergies. You might find yourself in one (or more) of the following situations:

You have launched roughly the same projects in different parts of the organization. When a strategic direction is set, all the business units and functions have to translate into their Strategy. And often, it is translated into the same actions and projects.
You have worked with the same consulting firm across the board. Some consulting firms have unique niche expertise. If different parts of the organization had to work in the same field, they might have worked with the same consultants. Client familiarity and personal recommendations are two major drivers of choice for consulting providers.
You have worked on the same subject through a set of projects. It can happen because your teams wanted to stay under the demand management threshold or because the uncertainty was too high at the beginning of the project to engage on a larger scale.

As you can see, there are many ways to find synergies on projects. One common mistake in the situations mentioned above is the lack of anticipation.
7. Implement a make or buy Strategy-
Most companies weigh in the benefits of handling a project internally rather than hiring consultants. But all executives don’t understand project management, consulting, and procurement the same way, leading to uneven decisions and thus value creation.
To even the field and take control of the process, you should define a Make-or-Buy strategy closely related to your demand management system. Your Strategy should guide your executives through 3 main steps:

Is my project a good candidate for externalization? Project “cemeteries” are full of projects with a vague scope and unclear deliverables.
Is this project key to executing my Strategy? Or in other words, is the project aligned with my Strategy?
Will hiring external consultants on this project create more value than building an internal team? It is a key element of the Make-or-Buy dilemma. You can decide to outsource a project to access niche skills or leverage a third-party intervention. But in any case, you need to generate a higher value.

8. Take care of the Tail of your Consulting Spend-
A lot of companies are starting to realize that the tail can represent huge savings potentials. Since the pressure on operational expenses is not going away, it can be another initiative to reach their savings target.
More than in other categories, the tail spend has to be assessed by executives with a solid understanding of both procurement practices and the consulting market and economics. The good news is that when the tail spend is properly managed, you can expect from 5% to 40% of savings. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Author detailsAuthor Bio

Hélène Laffitte

Co-founder & CEO at Consulting Quest

Hélène is the author of Smart Consulting Sourcing, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your Consuting. You can follow @helenelaffitte on Twitter.

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Mail Me

Call Me

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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Consulting sourcing tips

Five key best practices to leverage demand management right

Launching a large consulting project can be daunting. Often the project will impact several functions and locations.

Podcast | How to Streamline Your Sourcing Process So You Can Have More Time for Things You Love

8 best practices to make sure you get the best from the money you invest in consulting

Launching a large consulting project can be daunting. Often the project will impact several functions and locations.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: Post-covid outlook on Life Sciences

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, March 24th ,2021 , All you need to know about How do you adapt your risk management for tomorrow.
read more

This Week In Consulting: Not all roads lead to R&D productivity

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, March 24th ,2021 , All you need to know about How do you adapt your risk management for tomorrow.
read more

This Week In Consulting: How can nonprofit organizations sail through uncertainty?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, March 24th ,2021 , All you need to know about How do you adapt your risk management for tomorrow.
read more

Choose the best next step for you

Buy the Book

Talk to usWe are always open to a discussion. Just book a 30-min virtual coffee with us and let’s get the conversation started
Book a call

Podcast | How to better manage consulting projects

When you are buying services, and in particular intangible services like consulting, the bulk of the work comes after the procurement process has ended.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains how to better manage consulting projects.
Key Takeaway: Sourcing the right consultants is important, but so is putting them in the right conditions to deliver. Too many consulting projects fail because the client is not managing them properly. Don’t be that guy who buys a fancy new toy and leaves it on the shelf.

5 reasons why Executives love to hate consultants

5 reasons why Executives love to hate consultants

There is a multitude of reasons why Executives don’t like to work with Consultants. Some are based on their personal experience; some are just urban legends. A more balanced and professional approach will be much more mutually beneficial.

5 reasons why Executives love to hate consultants

“A consultant is someone who takes your watch away to tell you what time it is”

1- Some Executives don’t understand the nature of Consulting
Unfortunately, some Executives have never worked with Consultants. Some companies just don’t work with consultants as a rule. Some regions in the world are less accustomed to working with Consultants too. And some functions within the organization are less likely to use the help of Consultants. But more broadly, while executives tend to navigate across functions in a Company, they can have a narrow vision of Consulting. If they started their career in Operations, they would be very familiar with Lean Operations,  Operations Excellence, or Procurement Consulting. But when they are moving to Strategy, they might be less familiar with Growth Strategy, Innovation, or Market Entry Strategy Consulting.

READ ALSO
Launching a large consulting project can be daunting. Often the project will impact several functions and locations.

2. Executives don’t always see how Consulting creates value ​ –
They might feel that they have the resources in-house to do the work, or think Consultants are just regurgitating what they told them and have little expertise. Only 35% of executives say that the consulting firms they’ve worked with have added more value than they took in fees, according to Source Global Research. That’s actually a disappointing statistic. 
But high-quality doesn’t necessarily mean value. This is a big point, and clear evaluation and objectivity are very necessary in this case, with projects in question.
3. Working with Consultants is to Executives ‘admitting’ can’t do their job right –
And in some cases, this is true. You bring in Consultants because you don’t have the right skills and expertise in-house or because your project is not going fast enough. But does that always mean you are not doing your job right? Depending on how the top management introduces the Consulting Team (and how it will interact with the internal stakeholders), you might have a lot of resistance within your Company.
4. Executives have the feeling that they are training the consultants –
Most large consulting firms have a pyramidal organization where senior partners sell and young consultants deliver. As a result, the operational executives often feel that they are training what they call “the school bus” – an army of young and bring consultants. But all consulting firms are not organized the same way. Some offer, as a differentiator, more seniority and expertise on field.
5. Consultants don’t always deliver actionable plans –
Another very common reproach made to consultants is to create beautiful strategy, but not the actionable plan to execute it. Some consulting firms have specialized in the execution rather than the design of strategy. The real issue at stake is to know what’s the best consulting firm for each stage of your project.
How to make them change their mind?
Most of the reasons listed above come from two managerial mistakes: a negative perception about Consulting and inefficient Consulting Procurement capabilities.
Working with Consultants has great benefits and by no means represents a failure in execution. It is actually a way to accelerate business growth. The value created by Consultants, whether it is tangible (i.e., savings, or increased revenues) or intangible (i.e., Leadership or Process Optimization), can be measured and proven.
You will need to educate your executives and top management to make sure they have a very clear and objective understanding of what consulting is and is not.
Another step is to convince them that hiring consultants will not be considered as a failure of execution but rather an acceleration. Don’t oppose the Consulting Team to your internal teams, but rather encourage collaboration.
However, make sure your internal (or former) consultants don’t engage in a competition with your external consultants to prove their value. First, nobody asks them to demonstrate who is the smartest cookie. And second, both might end up losing sight of the objectives.
Finally, you know that building a solid consulting Procurement capability and measuring your Providers’ Performance (and acting on it) will increase your teams’ satisfaction when working with Consultants and positively impact the return on investments of your Consulting Projects.
 

Author detailsAuthor Bio

Hélène Laffitte

Co-founder & CEO at Consulting Quest

Hélène is the author of Smart Consulting Sourcing, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your Consuting. You can follow @helenelaffitte on Twitter.

View Profile

Mail Me

Call Me

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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Consulting sourcing tips

Five key best practices to leverage demand management right

Launching a large consulting project can be daunting. Often the project will impact several functions and locations.

Podcast | How to Streamline Your Sourcing Process So You Can Have More Time for Things You Love

8 best practices to make sure you get the best from the money you invest in consulting

Launching a large consulting project can be daunting. Often the project will impact several functions and locations.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: Post-covid outlook on Life Sciences

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, March 24th ,2021 , All you need to know about How do you adapt your risk management for tomorrow.
read more

This Week In Consulting: Not all roads lead to R&D productivity

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, March 24th ,2021 , All you need to know about How do you adapt your risk management for tomorrow.
read more

This Week In Consulting: How can nonprofit organizations sail through uncertainty?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, March 24th ,2021 , All you need to know about How do you adapt your risk management for tomorrow.
read more

Choose the best next step for you

Buy the Book

Talk to usWe are always open to a discussion. Just book a 30-min virtual coffee with us and let’s get the conversation started
Book a call

Podcast | How Can Clients Benefit by Providing and Receiving Feedback from Consultants not selected

Creating dynamic and healthy relationships between Clients and Consultants benefits the industry and everyone who is part of it.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains How Can Clients Benefit by Providing and Receiving Feedback from Consultants not selected.
Key Takeaway: By providing feedback to consultants you didn’t select, you help them better understand your expectations and your business. They will have the keys to improve their sales effectiveness and be more prepare for the next opportunity whether it is with you or not. As a result, you will improve supplier competitiveness, and ultimately increase the potential for positive outcomes.

Why should Finance and Strategy get involved in decision-making for large consulting projects?

Why should Finance and Strategy get involved in decision-making for large consulting projects?

Launching a large consulting project can be daunting. Often the project will impact several functions and locations.

Why should Finance and Strategy get involved in decision-making on large consulting projects?
You are already looking at the potential challenges. How to make sure the project will deliver? How to embark your teams on the journey?

“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” – John Wooden

But before you start brainstorming on your ideal outcome, let’s make sure that the right people are in the room.

READ ALSO
More and more client organizations have built an internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group to over their recurring consulting needs.

1. Who do we need in the room?
We saw in a previous article who does what in the consulting process.
So we know that we will need a project sponsor, the person accountable for the project. This person will ensure that the project delivers the expected outcomes and will champion the project to “sell” it within the project team and the organization. We need a project manager, the person that has the daily accountability of the project. We also need to have a procurement manager in the room to ensure the process follows company policies and Procurement best practices. And we need the mains stakeholders to make sure they embrace the project.
And that’s the case for any consulting project launched in your company.
But a large project is another animal. It often also a strategic project (and if it’s not, why are you launching it?).
Even though Strategy is not always an explicit stakeholder, the group is responsible for designing and executing business unit / corporate goals. And your project has a good chance to be a key piece of their action plan to make this Strategy happen. They will potentially be your ally in evaluating the strategic value of the project. But they might also have ideas in the scope of the project.
In the same way, Finance is interested first hand by how the consulting budget is spent. If the project is large, you will have to convince them at some point in time that your project is strategic and worthy of the investment. Why not anticipate the objections and involve them early on? You will gain their support and probably shorten the decision-making process.
2. But what is a large project exactly?
You won’t like the answer… because it depends. The definition is linked to the size of your company and the extent of your consulting spend. In other words, for an SME almost all consulting projects could be falling in that category when a large Fortune 1000 company could have a threshold of around $250k.
That’s it. We launched the keyword “Threshold.” It has a special place in our consulting sourcing bingo card, right next to “Demand Management.”
The best way to determine your threshold is to have a look at your consulting spend profile. If you rank all projects from the last two years from the most expensive to the least expensive, where do you draw the line representing 80% of your spend? Now draw a second line representing 20% of the projects (starting with the most expensive). Your threshold is somewhere between these two lines.
To choose the right threshold, you need to take into account several elements:

The degree of centralization for Procurement, Strategy & Finance
The workload any given threshold would represent for these functions

The flexibility your business lines will need to operate properly.
3. Now I have a threshold, what’s next?
There is no one-size-fits-all organization that will magically get you all the benefits in a snap. Depending on the volume of projects handled in the year, the level of centralization, or the strategic evolutions expected for the years to come, you have different options that could work.
Have a small key committee to validate large projects
The decision to move on for strategic projects or projects above a certain threshold in value is validated through a small committee made with Procurement, Strategy & Finance. Projects afterward are sourced and managed directly by operational teams.
Pros: Simple. Consistent with Strategy. Keeps Users reasonable.
Cons: Potential massive volume under management.
Use a multi-functional team
Suppose managing Consulting is a strategic objective, and the volume of projects is sufficient, but not enough to justify dedicated Procurement professionals. In that case, you can consider building multi-functional teams to review projects over a certain threshold with a core triumvirate made of Procurement, Strategy & Finance. This option will allow you to have more control over how projects are assessed and led. This option requires very clear processes and excellent collaboration between the different functions.
Pros: Flexible. Can adapt to the specific needs of a project.
Cons: Complexity of organization in case of large volumes.
Implement a Strategic Committee
For Companies with large Consulting Spend, the best option is assembling a team dedicated to Consulting and integrating governance to decide on key projects. The Procurement professionals will ensure all projects are assessed and involve the right players in the process. They will bring more strategic projects to the committee that will have representatives of the major functions plus whoever is relevant based on your governance (leadership team member, transformation leader, ….). The centralization of decisions will allow you to focus your energy and resources on the most impactful projects. The same committee could also review priorities for internal projects.
Pros: Still Flexible. Alignment with Strategy.
Cons: A lower degree of decentralization can be a challenge for some companies. Requires enough critical mass to justify the costs
 
Independent of whether you implement strict Demand Management or just filter projects based on the costs, you need to look closely at the most expensive projects to ensure they are strategic and timely. For that purpose, you will need to have Strategy and Finance involved in the decision. Embarking them early in the process will help keep the deadlines and smooth the validation.

Author detailsAuthor Bio

Hélène Laffitte

Co-founder & CEO at Consulting Quest

Hélène is the author of Smart Consulting Sourcing, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your Consuting. You can follow @helenelaffitte on Twitter.

View Profile

Mail Me

Call Me

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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Consulting sourcing tips

Five key best practices to leverage demand management right

Launching a large consulting project can be daunting. Often the project will impact several functions and locations.

Podcast | How to Streamline Your Sourcing Process So You Can Have More Time for Things You Love

8 best practices to make sure you get the best from the money you invest in consulting

Launching a large consulting project can be daunting. Often the project will impact several functions and locations.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: Post-covid outlook on Life Sciences

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, March 24th ,2021 , All you need to know about How do you adapt your risk management for tomorrow.
read more

This Week In Consulting: Not all roads lead to R&D productivity

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, March 24th ,2021 , All you need to know about How do you adapt your risk management for tomorrow.
read more

This Week In Consulting: How can nonprofit organizations sail through uncertainty?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, March 24th ,2021 , All you need to know about How do you adapt your risk management for tomorrow.
read more

Choose the best next step for you

Buy the Book

Talk to usWe are always open to a discussion. Just book a 30-min virtual coffee with us and let’s get the conversation started
Book a call

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Bring In The Right People To Help Your Business Grow

Bring In The Right People To Help Your Business Grow

Last year, Inc. cited several example scenarios of what happens when a consultant’s own brand of ideas conflicts with the company’s values. We’ll spare you the horror and summarize that many of the scenarios led to arguments and stunned reactions from gawking office staff.
No one wants to see that. 
Before hiring a consultant, ask yourself one question: Have your usual consultants the right answer to this specific challenge?
Can Business Consultants Be The Remedy To Stagnation?
Hiring a consultant who has successfully worked for many other companies helps you and your team gain a different perspective. Assuming your own team already has many years working with you, they’ve perhaps fallen into a creative rut on how to approach new challenges.
When you hire a consultant, you’re setting up the promise of bringing more extensive knowledge to areas where you lack knowledge.

Outside knowledge helps you fill in when your own team hasn’t kept up on the latest changes in various aspects of business. Consultants work with every company imaginable and know the realities of what’s going on in the outer world. 
Finding fast solutions is another reason to hire a consultant when your own team feels exhausted in finding creative solutions. Burnout is so easy with in-house employees, especially with few windows of vacation time in marketing departments. Consultants have continual knowledge of new methodologies and are always brainstorming. Creativity is at a higher level, which means faster implementation. 
Consultants diagnose problems as a form of business audit. They scope out issues you may’ve preferred sweeping under the rug, and then they find proper solutions. 
You gain access to a team focused exclusively on your problem, rather than relying on your own team members who are preoccupied by their daily work. By having a team that doesn’t have to worry about their other duties in your company, you can utilize the flexibility and availability of a group of consultants whose entire job is to help solve your business problems.

There is no question about it, using consultants can help you go faster and higher. But the main question remains: How to find the right one ?

Use Consultant Strategically

So, how do you find the right consultant? How do you know if they can actually do what they say they can? What are the real benefits of using a consultant?

Read More

Vetting Your Business Consultant: Finding The One
Finding the right consultant in today’s overcrowded market of consultancies can be a major challenge and a time-intensive project. What you’re looking for is a consultant who is capable, who listens and who is ready to dig in, understand how your business is structured, and strategize for how to solve your most challenging business problems. 
Consulting Quest was started because we saw too many businesses hiring the wrong consultant for the job. We saw hasty consultant hires made at a price that was not appropriate to the value given. Frankly put: the consultants were too expensive for the value they offered. 
We advise you through the hiring process based on what industry you’re in and what capabilities you need help with. Whether it be in the field of energy and utilities or public services, we match you with the most appropriate consultant.
The scoping process of matching the consultant’s capabilities to your needs is an exacting one. Many businesses only need help in a particular area in order to help them flourish.  Consultants are already pre-qualified to take on any category. We’ll help you select the right consultant from the very best candidates. It’s a vetting and selection process like no other.

Our system brings competence and savings for the company, ensuring that you receive the right value for what you have paid. We vet the consultants and make them compete to get the project, guaranteeing through that process that they will provide you their best price. 
We professionalize the searching and hiring of a business consultant for you. We also improve her performance through feedback and analysis. The consultant is evaluated (essentially, our own form of Yelp), so that you can use that consultant again and help other businesses in their future searches, too. 
It’s never too late to start doing things differently
Since far too many hires occurred out of desperation when things were falling apart, or without scoping out whether the consultant’s skills fit correctly with the company’s goals, we developed our system to ensure that not only do you get the best value for your money, but that you find the right consultant the right way in a time efficient manner. Our teams have an extensive experience and the most efficient toolbox when it comes to purchasing consulting.
It’s never too late to start doing things differently, Wherever you are already engaged in the process or only thinking about hiring consultants, do not hesitate to contact Consulting Quest – The smartest way to buy consulting.

Consulting Playbook: Optimizing Efficiency with New Progressive Attitudes

Consulting Playbook: Optimizing Efficiency with New Progressive Attitudes

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #13
A High Technology Company with a large global engineering workforce of several thousand employees and half a dozen centers of excellence was facing growing pressure to deliver the expected performance. They were facing issues on flexibility across, had growing costs and had to face a major technology shift rendering part of the existing workforce obsolete. The company decided to launch a specific program, with the support of an external consultant to improve the situation.
Namely, they wanted to speed up and strengthen the implementation of the defined Centers of Excellence and to achieve a better flexibility of resource allocation to various programs while maintaining the service level.
Assessing for the Transformation
Evaluate the implementation status of the target organization, obtain a clear perspective of the ongoing activities, assess workload drivers and performance ratios and define the change program to achieve the target state.
The first step consisted in the assessment of the present business principles of the various parts of the organization.
Organizational blueprints were defined to align progressively the various elementary units on the same set of principles. During that phase the span of control and number of layers were adjusted to state-of-the-art levels. The second step consisted in the analysis of the activity drivers and the inventory of the current project portfolio. Projects were classified in various categories. Most interesting projects expanded to the entire organization and lesser impact projects pruned to reduce complexity. During that phase the make or buy and talent management policies were redefined.
After the careful assessment of the current state of the organization’s model, the best new practices were identified and the areas of potential improvement. An alignment of all departments was performed in order to achieve the transformation needed to reach the desired goals.
A Clear Vision and Plan Results in Efficiency Gains
The Executive Team of the organization was very pleased with the results.

A Reference Book describing the common Engineering organization and interfaces was created
Unified Vision and Action Plan were developed consistent across all Centers of Excellence Resources Allocation Program was developed and the Eternalization Strategy created
Performance Management KPIs were outlined

Thanks to all those actions, beyond achieving the organizational and collaboration benefits 15% in efficiency gains were made.

Additional Information

New Evolved Perspective Bringing People and Enterprises To Higher Achievements
We are living in a time of an evolutionary change in how we do business – a big transformation is taking place today.
The old paradigm of linear, mechanistic, control-based approach is shifting toward a lot more life-sustainable and organic growth approach. We are witnessing a higher human consciousness in enterprising, at least more evident in a number of industries. Eco-friendly products and services, and human-centric strategies are becoming more relevant than ever in today’s delicate global business environment. The world is more connected and open, with businesses at the fore front at this major shift.
If your organization wishes to be a part of this new positive shift, here are a few characteristics to look at:
 

Open Minded Leadership

Executives of the past had a more controlling role, and authoritative style of work, in today’s infinitely connected global world, shaped by personal freedom and mobile technology, as well as social media, leaders need to interact with a much wider audience on an equal basis. They need to have an open dialogue and be receptive of opinions and ideas in a more democratic way. This type of interaction simply affirms and promotes a nurturing culture to the benefit of not just the organization but society in general.
 

New Value Definition

If pleasing shareholders was the main agenda of the past, the new shift of consciousness today, goes beyond that and centers on creating bigger value. Stakeholders are the new players working towards creating that value driven by new principles. Value that supports the environment, the health and well-being of employees, and nurtures communities and worthy causes.
 

New Responsibilities

We can no longer ignore environmental issues, sustainability, and regeneration of resources and workforce. Responsible strategic and business operational models are the new norm, and companies who neglect that are jeopardizing their future.
 

People First

Some of the biggest companies in the world now, like Facebook and Google, offer the best working environment promoting creativity and independence. Enjoyable work places, collaboration, and empowering small teams are leading indicators  of progressive business culture. People are not just employees, they are participants and contributors. When the personal interest overlaps with the company’s purpose, greater growth is achieved. Recent data analyzing companies’ performance, proved that those type of progressive organizations now consistently outperform the older types of mechanical, authoritative style ones. The central idea here is that businesses are more successful because of the people who build them and operate them. Providing the space for personal growth is the best strategy to nurture your enterprise’s growth too.
There are plenty examples of more socially conscious enterprises, non-profit organizations and businesses who are very committed to the new attitudes.
Let’s hope that many more follow in their footsteps, and choose life-affirming and purpose driven practices.
 
For Further Reading –

How New Technology Is Forcing Organizational Evolution

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.

8 of the Hottest Industries Ready for Disruption According to Experts

8 of the Hottest Industries Ready for Disruption According to Experts

Disruption is everywhere, but this picture might be kind of misleading. Despite that many sectors are experiencing disruption, there are still big and profitable industries that are ripe with potential for disruption, and not there yet.
We all know that most industries are facing the risk of disruption. But what are the leading indicators increasing the chances that disruption will occur?
According to Annet Aris from INSEAD, there are three factors to monitor carefully:

the amount of waste in the industry,
how much money the industry makes by being opaque, and
the lack of customization and flexibility.

Annet Aris explains that if the answer to one or more of these questions is yes, then it is certain that disruptive digital innovation will arrive sooner or later.
Here is a short list with some of them.

Create Value Through Consulting

A successful Procurement Strategy for the Consulting Category requires a good understanding of the overall Strategy, the Consulting Market and the past performance within the category.

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#1- Banking
Waste : High – Opaque : High – Rigid : High
We see two fundamental forces driving change worldwide: first, increased choice, and second, decreased switching costs. When you have rapid worldwide increased choice and decreased switching cost, it inevitably necessitates an advocacy-based approach to business. If a business doesn’t take really good care of its customers, these players will end up getting pushed out due to the decreased costs to switch. Banking will ultimately do the same thing. It’s just a matter of time whether banks will choose to be advocates on their own, or whether Fintech innovations will take their customers away.
#2 – Transportation and Logistics
Waste : High – Opaque : High – Rigid : High
Logistics operations require a high degree of human intervention and are, therefore, prone to errors and inefficiencies. Excessive dependence on human efforts for a smooth movement of goods from one place to another not only increases the risk of delays but also adds up to the costs; and operational inefficiencies.

Driving endlessly for days, lack of coordination among the concerned stakeholders and dealing with road congestions only adds to the stress. As the world is embracing automation and innovation, the logistics sector is highly ripe and ready for disruption. How can the Industry benefit from new technologies? It can, in so many ways! Driverless trucks or drones can facilitate last-mile e-commerce deliveries, or an app similar to Uber can optimize the efficiency of operations in the sector. 
#3 – Insurance
Waste: High – Opaque: High – Rigid: HighEveryone needs insurance. People now have started researching and comparing options online for buying health insurance directly from the companies rather than contacting agents, and they are loving it. The online-instant-direct-cheap policies can surely bring a revolution in Insurance, especially among the millennials.
#4 – Finance
Waste: High – Opaque: High – Rigid: High
Many aspects of this industry need to change so that investing becomes a more inclusive, transparent and straightforward process for all of us. Both being able to understand how to access capital, and invest it for multiple -bottom line returns will be important as we move toward a more inclusive and sustainable economy. The financial industry itself, and all the people and institutions it serves will do better once it becomes more diverse and inclusive.
#5 – Healthcare
Waste: High – Opaque: Medium to High depending on countries – Rigid: High
There is a wave of technology that is already shaping the way providers offer care to patients. With the further proliferation of smartphones and video communication, the ability to connect patients and doctors has become much easier. No longer needing to set an appointment with your primary care provider when you have to wait weeks because they are booked up. Now, you can have a video chat with doctors, nurses, or other healthcare professionals from the comfort of your own home or while traveling. This also has a positive impact on healthcare facilities as it allows better screen patients, provides directional care, and even offers prescriptions over the web. This way shortening waiting room times and limiting unnecessary patient visits.
#6 – Long Supply Chain Industries
Waste: High – Opaque: High – Rigid: High
The greatest potential for disruption in the years to come is in any industry based on a long supply chain. The more intermediaries between manufacturer/producer/source and end-user, the greater the potential for new technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), blockchain and machine learning to shorten that supply chain. Industries like real estate, fashion, food, and even government and public services fit that description.
#7 – Retail and Fashion
Waste: High – Opaque: High – Rigid: Medium
Retail and fashion will always be a disruptive industry. There is always an opportunity for new businesses and startups to create and bring in disruptive solutions that minimize customer effort. Disruption can be done by offering an omnichannel solution, using automation, or developing a chatbot – the possibilities are almost endless.
#8 – Automotive
Waste: High – Opaque: Medium – Rigid: High
Self-driving cars will be ultra-safe, and quicker too. How about this idea – “Uber” type of app where your self-drive car makes you money while you work at the office! Self-driving cars will be EV, Electric Vehicles which means easier to maintain and, according to experts, be cheaper after 2022. No more expensive maintenance or repairs! Self-driving cars are a certain disruption that will arrive sooner than we anticipated.
A few months ago emerged a  lively debate about whether companies like Uber qualified as disruptive innovation. In the pure theoretical arena, the discussion can continue for ages. As stated in a famous quote with unclear paternity “the reason the infighting in academia is so fierce is that the stakes are so small.” What matters is the impact that will occur in your industry. Indeed, sometimes you don’t anticipate how innovation can significantly impact your business and transform your industry.

What are your thoughts on the disruption of the industry you are in?
Do you see new innovative solutions challenging the current status?
Share your opinion, and if you need our perspective, we love to debate.
Book your call

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This Week in Consulting: Is the UK’s Automotive Sector the biggest loser of the Brexit?

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, January 29th 2020

Is the UK’s automotive sector the biggest loser of the Brexit?

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“In 2020, the economy’s expansion may not be much better given all the uncertainty surrounding the government’s negotiating stance with the EU following Brexit. Few people inside Whitehall or even the cabinet know which industries will be sacrificed to achieve a quick and dirty trade deal. And while that situation persists business investment will remain low and the manufacturing sector will stumble along, possibly in recession as it is now.​”
This article presents the impact of Brexit on the Automotive sector in the UK and what will be the consequences for most of the manufacturers.
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from The Guardian where the author explores the economics of Brexit in the UK automotive industry.
Read on to Find out More: “If the UK doesn’t act now, the car industry might vanish“ | Phillip Inman, The Guardian.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Herbert Diess  speaks with Bloomberg’s Francine Lacqua and Haslinda Amin at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open.”

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Brexit: ‘No alignment’ with EU on regulation, Javid tells business– “Speaking to the Financial Times, Sajid Javid admitted not all businesses would benefit from Brexit. The automotive, food and drink and pharmaceutical industries all warned the government last year that moving away from key EU rules would be damaging.” Sajid Javid, Great Britain Chancellor, explains how Brexit would impact businesses. | BBC
Production is becoming smart. Industry 4.0 and the networked factory: “Digitalization, robotics, artificial intelligence – even recently this all sounded more like science fiction than a Swabian production hall. Today, these developments are changing industrial production fundamentally.” The digital transformation is changing the automotive landscape. What is the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on this transformation ? | Daimler
Steering into Industry 4.0 in the automotive sector: “Over the past 50 years, the automotive sector has invested billions of dollars in enterprise systems, automation solutions, and advanced product technologies. Nonetheless, in some aspects, automotive companies remain a slow follower to data and technology companies that are defining the competitive landscape of the Fourth Industrial Revolution—Industry 4.0.” An interesting overview of how automotive companies have to  align with the Industry 4.0 paradigm and take advantage of turbulent times in the automotive sector . | Debanjan Dutt, Vijay Natarajan, Alexander Wilson and Ryan Robinson, Deloitte
Brexit could cut UK car production in half: “Global car sales are falling this year. But the slump in UK production is much more severe and that’s because of nearly three and a half years of uncertainty over Brexit, and the continued risk that leaving the European Union will make it much harder to trade with a market that takes 57% of the country’s car exports.” How Brexit could limit annual automotive output to just half of what the industry was planning to make in 2020?| Charles Riley, CNN Business.

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
Nada Show : This NADA Show networking and education event will spark the entry of women executives and professionals in the auto industry.
 
Materials in Car Body Engineering 2020: New developments and generations provide better forming properties, higher strength and, ideally, significant weight savings.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

Developing electric motors less dependable on rare earth magnets: “Materials such as Neodymium Iron Boron (NdFeB) made great performance benefits possible, facilitating the creation of small yet powerful traction motors. However, by 2012 these materials had begun to increase in price, and the industry in turn looked for alternatives, with more availability and sustainability.” | Cristian Tangemann, Automotive IQ
Gemini Becomes First-Ever Crypto Exchange to Pass Deloitte Second Level Security Exam: “In a bid to establish its authority as one of the biggest players in the crypto space, leading cryptocurrency exchange and Bitcoin (BTC) trading venue, Gemini, the Winklevoss twins-led exchange, has become the first exchange to pass the Deloitte SOC 2 Type 2 security examination.” | Osaemezu Ogwu, Coinspeaker
Pfizer launches Centers of Excellence Network to conduct real-world research on vaccine-preventable diseases affecting adults: “Pfizer Inc. announced the launch of its Vaccines Division’s Centers of Excellence Network, a global programme of collaborations with academic institutions to conduct real-world epidemiologic research to accurately identify and measure the burden of specific vaccine-preventable diseases and potentially evaluate vaccine effectiveness affecting adults. Pfizer Vaccines has designated the University of Louisville as its first Center of Excellence with a second global center anticipated in the first half of 2020.” |Pharmabiz
Top car-makers face €14 billion fine for emissions failures: “As Europe looks to cut down on its emissions footprint to offset the worst effects of climate change, 13 of the continent’s leading automotive manufacturers face a combined fine of €14.5 billion. According to new estimates from PA Consulting, Volkswagen will face the heaviest individual fine, being hit with a €4.5 billion bill after a surge in uptake for its petrol-powered vehicles.” | 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

Getting the Best of Both External and Internal Consulting-Is Like Getting a Special Night at the Louvre
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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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How to Decode the Price of a Project With These 4 Simple Tactics?

How to Decode the Price of a Project With These 4 Simple Tactics?

All products and services have price and value they create, and that equally applies to Consulting projects designed to solve an issue, generate savings or bring in extra revenues.
Before you start contemplating if the proposals have a price that makes sense to you, let’s have a closer look at how this price is structured. Be careful as the most affordable proposal is not always the one that has the lowest face value

How to Decode the Price of a Project With These 4 Simple Tactics​?
Get crystal clear on what’s included in the price
The price of a project depends on the scope, the approach, the timeline, and the resources used in the project. There are three elements you need to analyze to understand the possible price of the project: the fee structure, the expenses, and the total budget.
1. Understand the Fee structure
Consultants can normally use several fee structures:

Hourly rate

You will pay per hour. We don’t recommend this fee structure, because it is challenging to control the spending. Besides, it often shows the Consultant can’t or won’t accurately size the project or don’t have enough experience. You will hold all the risks.
However, it might be interesting to go this route if the scope is vague, or the project is very small. Make sure you integrate a soft and/or a hard cap on the hours.

Flat fee

The Consulting firm commits to deliver the work in a fixed envelope. It is the most common fee structure. Make sure that the fee is not subject to adjustments if they have to change the staffing of the consulting team for lack of performance, or in internal turnover.

Risk-sharing/Value-sharing approach

The Consulting firm will be paid a variable amount depending on their performance, often calculated as a percentage of savings or income increase. Check the payment schedule to make sure you can withhold a significant part of the fees until the work is completely done.

“The most important distinction between price and value is the fact that price is arbitrary and value is fundamental.” – Phil Town (on stock pricing, for Forbes magazine).

READ ALSO
“Today Open Innovation is part of an interconnected ecosystem where people, organizations, and sectors can nurture inspiration, idea-generation, collaboration, and validation of ongoing iterations all at the same time. “

2. Consider the Other Expenses
Once you have understood the fee structure, take the time to look at the other expenses, such as travel. Some consulting firms apply an automatic 5% on their proposal for phone and copies. Others are using an automatic 30% of the project amount for travel expenses. Make sure you integrate as much as possible of the expenses in the project price. Concerning the travel expenses, we recommend aligning them to your company’s travel policies and include them in your terms and conditions.
When you have identified all the fees in the proposal, define the two or three most likely scenarios on how the project will impact your company. Calculate the fees in each category and each proposal. Make sure all the amounts are indicated in the same currency to facilitate the analysis. Add an estimation of the expenses in the total, in particular, if the conditions between the different consulting firms are extremely different.
If you have questions on the pricing of the proposal, it is the right moment to ask. Try to understand how they structured their price and what their constraints are.
3. Get ready to select your Consultant
Start with assessing the chemistry.
There is one thing you can never judge on paper: how well you will be able to work with the consultants. The ability to deliver on a project is linked to the technical competencies and expertise, but also the attitude of the consultants. Here is a list of useful questions you need to answer before you proceed:

What type of personality the partner in charge (the project manager) has?

Do you see your project sponsor working with them? Your project manager? Your teams?

Do the consultants listen to you? Are they flexible in their approach?

Do they demonstrate values that are compatible with yours?

Do you think they will have credibility with the upper management?

Will they be able to build trust with the main stakeholders?

Do you feel the Consultant had a well-balanced approach between the sales and the delivery imperatives?

Do you think their posture/personality/culture will have a positive impact on your project?

Proposal revision – give the Consultant a few days when they need to revise the proposal.
Always keep in mind that the goal of that exercise is to get several solid proposals that you could choose from. You want the most promising candidates to produce their best proposal.
During the meetings, you have probably asked for clarifications, and/or modifications. Give the consulting firm a few days to integrate your demands and adjust the price if necessary.
The RFP and the proposal are often the basis for the reception of the project (and potential litigations). You have to make sure that it describes closely the work you expect to be done, and the team you have agreed on.
Check their references.
If you haven’t checked the references yet, now is the right moment to do so. There are several elements that you want to confirm:

The references are recent. Ideally, less than 2 years, and in any case, no more than 5 years.

The consultants on the proposals worked for the project. In particular, make sure the partner in charge of your project had an active member, if not the project manager, of the project in the reference.

The reference is relevant to your project. The relevance will depend on your criteria. It can be a project in the right industry, the right capability, or with the right approach
 
4. How to make your final decision
The goal here is objectivity. Some consultants will leave an excellent impression after the pitch because they are brilliant communicators. However, the methodical evaluation of their proposal will end up with a much lower score than expected. The actual value of the proposal is probably somewhere in between. Scoring and ranking the proposals can be an exciting activity, as now we are getting closer to the conclusion.
We recommend building a weighted score where all the criteria are graded on a similar scale, and each criterion has a weight reflecting the level of importance to your project and your company.
The weighting could look like this, depending on your current needs, might include the following dimensions:

Quality of Approach – 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%

Once your proposal evaluation matrix is ready, you can start screening and grading the proposals. On each criterion, asses closely every bid and compare it to the rest of the proposals. You can work either criterion per criterion or proposal per proposal.
The proposal analysis is usually a good start, and you can adjust the scores based on the pitches. Then you can start reviewing the elements that are not in the analysis
 

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Hélène Laffitte

Co-founder & CEO at Consulting Quest

Hélène is the author of Smart Consulting Sourcing, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your Consuting. You can follow @helenelaffitte on Twitter.

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Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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Consulting sourcing tips

Five key best practices to leverage demand management right

Launching a large consulting project can be daunting. Often the project will impact several functions and locations.

Podcast | How to Streamline Your Sourcing Process So You Can Have More Time for Things You Love

To build a perfect sourcing process with little margin for error, lets talk about a few methods that can make it way more effective. On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains how to Streamline Your Sourcing...

8 best practices to make sure you get the best from the money you invest in consulting

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Podcast | How to boost the ROI of Your Consulting Spend?

When you are investing in any project, you keep an eye on the return on investment. It should be the same for consulting.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains How to boost the ROI of Your Consulting Spend..
Key Takeaway: Boosting the ROI starts with a scan of your consulting spend on three dimensions: how you spend and on what, how you make the decisions and how well your providers perform.Once you have this information at hand, you have all the cards to create more value.
 

Leverage consulting to accelerate the execution of your Strategy

Leverage consulting to accelerate the execution of your Strategy

Having emerged in the 1930s and grown rapidly since the 1960s, strategy consulting has progressively shifted its focus from defining strategy to executing it.  As a result, strategy consulting has become increasingly specialized at the crossroads of function and industry.
Companies, constrained by limited operations budgets (where consulting expenses are allocated), must carefully prioritize and efficiently organize their projects, which may include external consulting services.  As they do so, 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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Considerations when hiring consultants:

Assigning an independent external task force can bring focus, speed, and pressure to the table, which is sometimes enough for the success of a project. Moreover, because the leaders of internal projects are often high-potentials on the leadership fast track they often find it difficult to push boundaries and confront the more established leaders and influencers who hold the key to their careers.
External consultants also offer other advantages.  Because they are familiar with the problem they can often solve it more efficiently and at less cost than internal resources. They can also make up for a lack of internal resources and for a lack of flexibility that prevents internal personnel from being diverted from their regular jobs.
Companies may also want to use consultants for larger purposes than the project itself.  These could include training of executives on new skills, introducing external change agents, learning best practices in the industry or in a capability, exposing the organization to a fresh perspective, or relying on the stamp of a recognized consulting brand to reassure board members or investors.

But even under those conditions, hiring external consultants is not always the best solution. For example, consulting services that meet your needs may not be available in your industry or your country. 

Confidentiality can also act as a restraint on looking for external help who may ask for sensitive operating or other data for purposes of benchmarking your company’s performance
On the other hand, leading an internal project can be tricky. The internal team may be unaware of the latest trends in the industry or capability.  They may waste time reinventing already well established improvement methodologies, resulting in longer projects and greater overall costs. Again, the fact that the team members are part of the company can make it difficult to disrupt the established order.
How to crack the make or buy dilemma?
Most companies and their procurement function work to optimize their external spend and their pool of suppliers in order to better support the overall strategy. They have developed methods for answering a variety of difficult questions:  What are the key activities that can be outsourced?  What does the pool of potential suppliers look like?  How mature is the market for suppliers?  What providers are appropriate for us?  Is it worth it to outsource a particular activity for the long term?
The same questions apply to consulting procurement.  Unfortunately, most companies have neither the experience nor the methods for answering them.  Yet, today, all leaders throughout an organization, from the head of procurement to senior executives responsible for signing off on major consulting projects, are expected to align their activities with the overall strategy of the enterprise.  But when it comes to making decisions about consultants, they fall back on word of mouth, on perceptions of the reputations of various providers, and on the sometimes outsized claims of the consultants themselves.  Or they take the line of least resistance and simply hire the consultants they have used in the past, regardless of whether those consultants are the most appropriate for a particular project or for furthering the larger strategy of the company.  These leaders have no reliable way to determine whether a particular consultant precisely meets the company’s needs, no way to gauge a consultant’s likely level of performance, and no benchmarks against which to compare providers.  And until they avail themselves of an independent, credible means of assessing providers and matching them to their company’s needs, they are likely to lag their competitors who have.
Some companies have responded to what is essentially a ‘make-or-buy’ dilemma by centralizing consulting procurement.  The aim is to have a more global vision of consulting efforts, better understanding of the costs, and more powerful levers for negotiating volume discounts and creating synergies across functions and business units. Recognizing that consulting is an accelerator of change, these companies make consulting management the responsibility of the head of strategy or a transformation leader. But they still struggle with a stubborn fact.  The increasing need for highly specialized consulting makes it far more difficult for buyers to have experienced the volume of consulting projects that would enable them to develop portfolios of reliable and high-performing consulting providers. By working with companies specialized in this field, those companies will be able to analyze their consulting spend, refresh their make or buy strategy, identify robust suppliers and areas where new blood is needed. In a way they will be able to develop a consulting strategy for their strategy consulting.

Consulting Playbook: Creating and deploying an effective Company Culture

Consulting Playbook: Creating and deploying an effective Company Culture

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #24
A leading European energy company (with a US division) constructing a nuclear enrichment facility in the US was presented with several challenges, including the lack of a cohesive leadership team.
With the facility being located in a small town, hiring, relocating and providing services was difficult.  Over the course of 18 months, the number of staff grew solidly from 6 to over 200 employees, plus more than 1,000 contractors.
To the whole team, this project was especially important. They had the opportunity to be involved in something new from the ground up and to utilize their rich professional experience. The staff boasted a mix of backgrounds (experience, geography, culture) which made coming to agreements difficult and the project went through changes in direction and priorities.
A prior operations manager created a divisive environment between those designing and constructing the facility and those that would operate it.  The priorities and values of people working on the project were coming into conflict and people questioned the decisions being taken.
The operations manager was replaced and a new chief nuclear officer did an excellent job in getting everyone on the same team and clarifying priorities and plans. The leadership team became a more cohesive unit and wanted to take time at one of their off-sites to work on improving how they worked together – particularly around team communications and decision-making.
In addition, the leadership team recognized that the company was at a critical point in its growth, they wanted to create a unifying culture with clear behavioral expectations of everyone involved in the project – both employees and contractors.  The company had a set of values that the US division needed to reinforce in their daily interactions and adapt to the current stage of the company’s growth.
Assisting the Leadership Team in Creating of an Effective Company Culture
The Consultant hired on the project, helped the executive team in the exploration of the personal styles of team members, and the creation of behavioral descriptors for the company’s culture.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was applied to better understand personal preferences for getting information and making decisions.  The executive team reviewed the conceptual aspects of MBTI and performed exercises to apply the theory. Team members worked on understanding how best to communicate with each other when their individual needs and preferences differed.  Gaps that could affect problem solving, potential for “group think” and potential for conflict, were identified.
The leadership team defined the culture they wanted to create that embodied the company’s values.  Research into the present cultural attributes was conducted and the results provided a baseline against which to evaluate desired changes.  The leadership put together a plan of action for communicating the cultural expectations to the entire team.
The Success Achieved
The team acquired a deeper understanding of the personal needs of the team members and their decision-making process. The potential for “group think” and for conflict was evaluated to pursue more effectively team goals, and resolve weaknesses, risks and conflicts.
As the employees and contractors were experiencing a set of different cultures, a new unifying vision of one common culture was crafted with behavioral examples to emulate and apply. This new vision would serve as guideline for the rest of the organization.

Additional Information

How to Better Communicating One Unifying Culture
Cultivating team work and a collaborative spirit is based on the idea that synergy is a superior level performance than separate individual approaches. Many people agree with that, so the challenge is mainly in putting forth the effort to create that synergistic state even though many organizations struggle to intertwine diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Here are few short cuts and proven ideas to create a unifying culture:

Clearly communicated expectations from the executive team to all team members. Processes and positions, timelines and steps are all defined. All are open to collaboration and inputs.
Values are identified, written and all members are familiar with them.
Friendly and respectful communication is to be followed all the time even when challenges, difficulties and issues arise.
Establish a fair system for teamwork to be rewarded and recognized. Compensation, bonuses, and rewards depend on collaborative practices as much as individual contribution and achievement.
Provide honest and consistent feedback. Be open to input from all team members.
Create opportunities for retreats, planning sessions, seminars and team building activities.
Plan fun activities – there are plenty of ways to do some fun stuff as a team, from sports events, games and competition, to parties and team dinners.
Celebrate team successes. People like to be acknowledged for their achievements and effort. Give rewards, certificates, even t-shirts and other gift items will go a long way.

For Further Reading –

Leadership, Coordination and Corporate Culture
Developing and Sustaining High-Performance Work Teams
Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams
The 16 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality Types

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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.

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7 Effective Steps to successfully launch your Consulting Project

The importance of information in planning and managing your Consulting projects cannot be overstated. Information is essential for the success of any endeavor. And naturally, whoever has the upper hand in the game, has the best chance of winning. However, at the center of successful Consulting lies mutual respect and mutually beneficial business. It has always been our credo at Consulting Quest that it is the most productive approach to all types of projects.

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