Select Page

Don't Miss

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.

Loading

MOST RECENT

Podcast | Where to focus in the Consulting Sourcing Process?

Today Hélène is welcoming Laurent Thomas, EVP Oil & Gas at Solvay Novecare & former Senior Partner at Oliver Wyman who will tell us where to focus in the consulting sourcing process.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains where to focus in the consulting sourcing process
Key Takeaway: If you are launching a project where the choice of the consultants will determine the value generated, you should focus on the selection of the right provider. If the impact is going to be mostly the same, you should focus on the scoping and the negotiations.
 

How People Shape the Consulting Market and Your Perspective – From Global to Niche Specific.

How People Shape the Consulting Market and Your Perspective Too

What we believe becomes our reality. According to psychology, this principle applies to almost everything. We see the world through our own lenses. Our brain is more focused on the familiar, the comfortable, which we perceive as positive, and it tries to avoid the unknown often dubbed as “negative​”.

How People Shape the Consulting Market and Your Perspective – From Global to Niche Specific
You are pretty familiar with the idea of the “comfort zone,” and the effort needed to go beyond the routine and our “comfort zone.” Understanding the Consulting market globally poses similar challenges.
It’s necessary to get the “big picture” and know the niche markets as well. Every country differs in significant ways.

“You can talk to a leadership team in China, and they are all engineers. They get what’s going on immediately. The Americans don’t because they’re all lawyers.” – John Doerr

READ ALSO
Simplification goes a long way when drafting a Consulting agreement as well. However, you need to always consult with your Legal team first and foremost when drafting your agreement, but here are some great recommendations.

Sounds kind of funny, but there is truth in it.
How many Consulting Firms serving your industry can you name?
Having a good grasp of the supply market is key to get the best Sourcing outcomes, but when asked this question, most Executives cannot name more than 10 to 15 rather large companies.
And Procurement Executives don’t necessarily score better at that little game.
The Consulting Market is extremely diverse and complex, and there are several ways to look at it.
Let’s have a quick look at how the market is structured and how the economics for consulting professionals are functioning.
Understanding the Consulting Market’s Structure –

Vast Scale – The overall management consulting market is estimated at approximately $250 billion worldwide, with a CAGR of roughly 6%, clearly outpacing GDP in all countries. At this pace, the industry is expected to break the $300 billion by 2020.

Size of Consulting Companies – There are roughly 10,000 Consulting Firms globally, representing 250,000 consultants, without including the independent Consultants. As a rule, large Consulting Firms tend to be one-stop shops (offering all capabilities and industries in most geographic regions), while smaller companies are often focused on one or two dimensions only.

Richness and Diversity – Most Procurement Executives are looking at the market through the capability/industry lens. They know that one-stop shops such as Mc Kinsey, Bain & Company, Booz Allen, Big 4, and consorts can cover the full spectrum, and they identify a few other players focused on one capability or one industry. But there are other ways to look at the market.

Strategic and Operational Dimension – Another effective way to screen the market through the Strategic Operational dimension. Strategic Consulting is about high-level strategy, transformation, large organization projects, very often at the highest level of the Company, as opposed to more operational projects such as lean, team effectiveness, purchasing, etc.

Hard or Soft Approach to Capability – Sometimes, the same capability can be approached with either a Hard or a Soft angle. If we take as an example the org design capability, Hard would be org charts, job descriptions, processes, handbooks while Soft would be team alignment, culture, change management, and talent.

And many other dimensions can be used to screen the market: Strategy Players with a touch of digital vs. Digital Players with a zest of strategy, Global vs. Local, Blue Chips vs. SMEs, Diagnosis Experts vs. Implementation Specialists, etc.
The great news is –
Consulting Firms are rarely present on the whole spectrum for one dimension, even the large ones, but the odds are quite high that whatever your problem is, there is a Consulting Firm focused on it.

People make all the difference – as surprising as it may sound, identifying a Consulting Firm with the right expertise only gets you half-way there.

Consulting is a human-to-human service, and consultants are not commodities. To better source a project, executives need to understand who the people are behind the Consulting Firms and to assess the fit with your Company’s context and culture.

The background of consultants can be essential to understand the type of projects they can work on. Life-long consultants, for instance, will bring you perspective and benchmark, while former executives can bring you hands-on experience.

If you want to accelerate the execution of a project and mobilize a significant amount of resources in a top-down fashion (post-merger integration, for instance), large firms with their pyramidal organization and their structured processes and methodologies can be the right fit.
If you want to align and embark your management team on a disruptive transformation, you may want to leverage the expertise and seniority of a boutique firm that can customize on the fly their methodology to maximize appropriation.
How to find the right match for you and your specific case?

Evaluate the Consulting Company on all dimensions

Understand their range of projects

Pinpoint where their value lies

Assess their proposal with reasonable expectations

Using the above will ultimately allow you to source the best consulting firm for your project and maximize the chances of success.

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.

Join our newsletter

  Thank you for Signing Up

Please correct the marked field(s) below.

1,true,6,Contact Email,2
1,false,1,First Name,2
1,false,1,Last Name,2

Consulting sourcing tips

8 Best Practices to Avoid Potential Problems in the Course of a Consulting Project

There are, unfortunately, no guarantees in life, so your best bet is to have a solid agreement and prepare yourself and your organization to deal with any unexpected problems that might arise

Podcast | Where to focus in the Consulting Sourcing Process?

Where to focus in the Consulting Sourcing Process?

How People Shape the Consulting Market and Your Perspective – From Global to Niche Specific.

You are pretty familiar with the idea of the “comfort zone,” and the effort needed to go beyond the routine and our “comfort zone.” Understanding the Consulting market globally poses similar challenges.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: The future of Media & Entertainment at the age of digital & coronavirus

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,September 23rd ,2020, All you need to know on what does the future hold for Strategic Communications.
read more

This Week In Consulting: What does the future hold for Strategic Communications?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,September 23rd ,2020, All you need to know on what does the future hold for Strategic Communications.
read more

This Week In Consulting: Will the Telecom sector conquer the digital space?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, September 9th ,2020, All you need to know about product development in the digital age.
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 find new consulting providers for your projects?

Sometimes it is important to understand what your options are before defining your requirements. You can look for consultants before or after writing your RFP, depending on how well you can define your needs…
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains how to find new consulting providers for your projects.
Key Takeaway: There are many talented consulting firms out there. But ultimately, the success of a consulting project is a human-to-human journey. Meet the partners, talk to them and their former clients. It is the only way to make sure they are a good fit for your needs.
 

The 12 Essential Elements Every Solid Consulting Agreement Should Cover – Part 2

The 12 Essential Elements Every Solid Agreement Should Cover- Part2

Simplification goes a long way when drafting a Consulting agreement as well. However, you need to always consult with your Legal team first and foremost when drafting your agreement, but here are some great recommendations. In this article (“Part 2”) about the Top 12 essential elements of the agreement, we will continue with the remaining points.

The 12 Essential Elements Every Solid Agreement Should Cover -Part 2
(on Payment Terms, Ground Rules, Renewal, Extensions)
1. Clarify How the Performance will be measured-
As we discussed previously, the SOW (Scope of Work) needs to specify the metrics to evaluate the success of the project. For intangible services like consulting, you can define SMART objectives that serve as a guideline to make sure the quality of delivery is there. For instance:
“The Consultant and the Company agree to meet on a regular basis to assess the performance on the project.
The expected results for the project are 20% savings on the Marketing expenses.”

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.” – Colin Powell

READ ALSO
” The Agreement formalizes in writing all the aspects discussed during the RFP process and the negotiations. “

2. Define the Commercial Terms-
Once you have defined what the Consulting firm was supposed to do, you can move to how they will get paid.
The agreement needs to state very clearly how the Consultants will be paid, the amounts, and the conditions linked to the payments.
For hourly fees, include the detailed amounts for each type of Consultant, the kind of cap, if any (hard or soft), and the number of hours to reach the cap.
For a risk-sharing model, clearly define the variable compensation, the metrics on which the variable compensation is based, and how they will be measured.
3. Set the Payment Terms and the Applicable Taxes-
All Consulting agreements naturally define payment terms. Make sure to negotiate terms that are compliant with your company policy. The contract usually states the net price (before sales tax).
Set up a time limit on when payments are due. Standard terms are usually applied between 30 to 60 days after the invoice is issued.
Define the timing of the payment, i.e., weekly, monthly, phase-based, or lump sum. For very large projects, you should consider a monthly schedule.
“The Company will pay a fee of $250,000, excluding expenses and VAT in 5 installments of $50,000 paid monthly.
Travel and other Expenses will be approved in advance by the Company, and charged at cost in the limits of $37,500 (15% of the fees).”
You can also add the description of the fees in the appendix.
“The Services will be performed for the fees described in Appendix D (“The Fees and Expenses”). Prices will be held firm for the duration of the project.”
The Consulting provider could negotiate to establish a penalty for late payment. If you decide to accept penalties for late payment, then add an incentive for early payment.
When you have a time-sensitive project, you can introduce an incentive for early delivery and/or a penalty for late delivery.
When you have a risk-sharing model, take the time to detail the schedule of payments, the amounts, and the associated metrics.
4. Arrange for Agreement Renewal and Extension-
It can be useful when the scope of work is still unclear, to include the potential of extension of the contract. Likewise, for a recurring project, or a project with several phases, you can add the conditions of renewal in the projects. In both cases, the client should be the one deciding to extend or renew the contract.
5. Secure Confidentiality-
Confidentiality is a crucial clause in any Consulting agreement. You would not want the Consultant to go around and tell about the project done with you. If a certain kind of confidential information concerns you, write it in plain English in the contract. Also, make sure you understand the limitations of confidentiality agreements, in particular, when you work globally. Each culture or country has its own approach (and set of laws) to confidentiality. Besides, confidentiality should be limited in time and space. And you also need to:

Agree on the Use of a Third-Party in the Project.

Most Consulting firms work with partners and subcontractors. You can ask to be informed if a third-party works on the project. You can decide between having them sign a specific NDA or to trust the Consultant to assure their subcontractor complies with the NDA signed with you.

Protect Your Intellectual Property.

Intellectual Property is another critical subject. The materials developed during the project (presentations, reports, …) belong to the client. However, the methodologies and tools used by the Consulting firm might be based on pre-existing Intellectual Capital developed by the firm over the years. In that case, the Consulting provider will keep the property of the IP, and the client should negotiate the right to use the results freely. The data gathered on your behalf during the project: models developed for the project, transcript of the interviews, etc. belongs to you.
6. Implement the Client Policies –
If you work with sensitive information, you probably have strict security requirements, and you might want to include these elements in the contract.
More specifically:

Handling data and information (Information Security policies)

Onboarding and vetting any consultant present on your premises and/or working on your data (Vendor Onboarding and/or Vetting requirements)

Making sure the consultants are safe on your premises (Health and Safety policies).

7. Eliminate Conflict of Interest and Set a Non-Compete Clause –
On certain sensitive projects, the Consulting provider might have a conflict of interest if they are already working with a competitor or a client of yours. You can negotiate an exclusivity, but it often comes with additional fees.
You can include in your contract a list of specific companies or a broader definition of your competitors. If you don’t want the Consulting firm to work with your Competitors AFTER the project is over, you need to include a non-compete clause in your contract. For both clauses, you have to give reasonable time and scope limits. Be aware that they are difficult to enforce, so these should be used only in special cases.
 

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.

Join our newsletter

  Thank you for Signing Up

Please correct the marked field(s) below.

1,true,6,Contact Email,2
1,false,1,First Name,2
1,false,1,Last Name,2

Consulting sourcing tips

8 Best Practices to Avoid Potential Problems in the Course of a Consulting Project

There are, unfortunately, no guarantees in life, so your best bet is to have a solid agreement and prepare yourself and your organization to deal with any unexpected problems that might arise

Podcast | Where to focus in the Consulting Sourcing Process?

Where to focus in the Consulting Sourcing Process?

How People Shape the Consulting Market and Your Perspective – From Global to Niche Specific.

You are pretty familiar with the idea of the “comfort zone,” and the effort needed to go beyond the routine and our “comfort zone.” Understanding the Consulting market globally poses similar challenges.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: The future of Media & Entertainment at the age of digital & coronavirus

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,September 23rd ,2020, All you need to know on what does the future hold for Strategic Communications.
read more

This Week In Consulting: What does the future hold for Strategic Communications?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,September 23rd ,2020, All you need to know on what does the future hold for Strategic Communications.
read more

This Week In Consulting: Will the Telecom sector conquer the digital space?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, September 9th ,2020, All you need to know about product development in the digital age.
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

The 12 Essential Elements Every Solid Consulting Agreement Should Cover – Part 1

The 12 Essential Elements Every Solid Agreement Should Cover- Part1

Let’s discuss first the importance of the Agreement when working with consultants, and the absolutely necessary elements that every good Agreement should have. You can customize these elements to fit your project better, and also use this as a template when you decide to do another Consulting project.

The 12 Essential Elements Every Solid Agreement Should Cover -Part 1
(on Managing Your Expectations, Defining the Scope of Work, Detailed Timeline, Governance Model, Escalation Process)
The Agreement formalizes in writing all the aspects discussed during the RFP process and the negotiations. During the first round of talks (and all the further ones), you should thoroughly review the contract and make all of your required changes to it. Also, insist the Consultant does the same. It’s advisable to develop your own Agreement, and you will see why.
The 12 Essential Elements in Your Consulting Agreement –
1. The 4 Main Dimensions a Consulting Agreement Usually Covers:

Statement of Work, what will be done during the project,
Terms and Conditions, what will be paid and how,
Rules for delivery, how the work will be done,
Deviation measures, what will be done if there is an issue.

“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” -Henry Ford

READ ALSO
“A solid and clear Make or Buy Decision Framework can ensure objective and efficient decisions. The framework has to be in line with your Strategy and Culture.. “

2. Statement of Work -Define Your Expectations.-
The first step when drawing up the contract is to define the Statement of Work (SOW), or in other words, to lay out your expectations of the project.The goal of the SOW is to make sure the Consulting providers commit to the results and not the means. The elements stipulated in the contract will be the reference in case the performance is not at the level you expected.
The statement of work normally includes:
A/ SOW Main Points –

Scope of Work and Deliverables,

Schedule and Phasing,

Governance and Escalation,

Expected outcome and Metrics.

When you are working with a frame contract or Master Service Agreement (MSA), the statement of work will serve as a Consulting Agreement. It will define the work to be done and the specific terms on the other dimensions. The rest of the terms will be covered in the MSA.
B/ Define the Scope of Work.
The scope of work will be very close to the scope defined in the RFP and adjusted along with the discussions with the Consulting providers.
For example:
“The Company has engaged the Consultant to provide services in connection with the Company’s Commercial Excellence Program. The Consultant will help to define the new organization for the Marketing function at the group and business unit level.
The expected deliverables associated with the project will be:

Diagnosis of the existing organization,

Future Organization recommendation,

Top-Down Impact Projection,

Organization Principes for the Marketing Function,

Future Organization by Business Unit,

Tailored implementation roadmap per Business Unit.”

You can also include the RFP and the proposal in the appendix of the contract to maintain an emphasis on the expected results for the project.
“The Consultant will help to define the new organization for the Marketing function at the group and business unit level as more particularly described in Appendix A (the “Services”).”
3. Specify the Timeline for the Project.-
The timeline should clarify and define the different deadlines, including the phasing, the milestones, and the schedule for the deliverables. Here is a good example:
“The Project will be organized intotwo phases:
Phase 1: High-Level diagnosis –To be delivered before the end of August 2019

Diagnosis of the existing organization,

Future Organization recommendation,

Top-Down Impact Projection,

Phase 2: Organization Design –to be delivered before the end of November 2019

Organization Principes forthe Marketing Function,

Future Organization by Business Unit,

Tailored implementation roadmap per Business Unit.

At the end of phase 1, the Company will decide the launch and the duration of phase 2.”You can also add the project schedule in the appendix as you did for the scope of work.”The Services shall be performed in accordance with the planning described in Appendix B (“The Planning”).”
4. Establish a Governance Model-
In your SOW, you should describe the governance of the project and, in particular, the escalation procedure. Clarify how the performance will be measured.
The SOW needs to specify the metrics to assess the success of the project. For intangible services like consulting, you can define SMART objectives that serve as a guideline to make sure the quality of delivery is there.
We have said several times that Consultants should commit to the results, not the means. However, in certain circumstances, the means can be of importance too. When you have chosen a specific Consulting firm for their team composition or the availability of a given expert, you can (and should) add your expectations in the contract.
For example: “When applicable, the consultant will maintain the composition of the team, as initially described in “The Team Composition,” for the period of the Agreement. In the event of a member of the team assigned to the project,for any reason,unable to pursue the goals of the project, he/she will be replaced with anotherconsultantof the same expertise at no additional fee. (added in “Appendix C”)”.
5. Set Escalation Process Guidelines-
All types of issues might arise in the course of a project, and it’s highly recommended that every organization has an Escalation Process protocol. In case your organization does not have one, here are a few tips you can implement.
When to escalate an issue? The short answer is when you see thatcritical problems are not addressed and promptly resolved. Critical problems include areas and activities that, if not completed, will delay a major project milestone, result in budget overruns, jeopardize the estimated due date for project delivery, break other commitments to Clients, for example, and various others.
As a project manager, it’s your responsibility to remove the obstacles teams might face that can lead to delays or inadequate deliverables. The issues should be documented and forwarded to the manager in charge, the project sponsor, and to higher management to address them; in other words, an Escalation Process should take place. Often there are tough decisions to be made, but escalation is a healthy part of the project’s life, and it generally benefits all the parties.
 
 

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.

Join our newsletter

  Thank you for Signing Up

Please correct the marked field(s) below.

1,true,6,Contact Email,2
1,false,1,First Name,2
1,false,1,Last Name,2

Consulting sourcing tips

8 Best Practices to Avoid Potential Problems in the Course of a Consulting Project

There are, unfortunately, no guarantees in life, so your best bet is to have a solid agreement and prepare yourself and your organization to deal with any unexpected problems that might arise

Podcast | Where to focus in the Consulting Sourcing Process?

Where to focus in the Consulting Sourcing Process?

How People Shape the Consulting Market and Your Perspective – From Global to Niche Specific.

You are pretty familiar with the idea of the “comfort zone,” and the effort needed to go beyond the routine and our “comfort zone.” Understanding the Consulting market globally poses similar challenges.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: The future of Media & Entertainment at the age of digital & coronavirus

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,September 23rd ,2020, All you need to know on what does the future hold for Strategic Communications.
read more

This Week In Consulting: What does the future hold for Strategic Communications?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,September 23rd ,2020, All you need to know on what does the future hold for Strategic Communications.
read more

This Week In Consulting: Will the Telecom sector conquer the digital space?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, September 9th ,2020, All you need to know about product development in the digital age.
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

The Clear-cut Make or Buy Decision Framework Based on 4 Main Considerations

The Clear-cut Make-or-Buy Decision Framework Based on 4 Main Considerations

Successful companies apply a sound financial management principle: Hiring external consultants has to bring more value than leading the project internally.
One way to build these new practices and get the buy-in of the users is to assemble a cross-functional team including, Strategy, Finance, Procurement, and a few business lines, so all the benefits can be obtained and evaluated.

The Clear-cut Make or Buy Decision Framework Based on 4 Main Considerations
A solid and clear Decision Framework can ensure objective and efficient decisions. The framework has to be in line with your Strategy and Culture. Depending on how procurement-savvy are your executives, you might want to describe in more or fewer details about what each item means.
Here is how to successfully develop your own Make or Buy Decision Framework –
1. Decide on the “Externaliz-ability” of the Project-
Before analyzing if a project should be externalized or not, you need to assess if the issue you want to solve and if your project is suitable for externalization. Best practices in procurement recommend having a well-defined project that can be handled independently (as much as possible) for the rest of the organization. Few points to consider:

Are you able to define clear deliverables for your project?

You need to describe the results or outcomes you expect from the project. It can be done as a document (report, presentation) or in a meeting (workflow, seminar).

Can you define a firm deadline for the project?

Your project has to be clearly limited in time. Interestingly enough, the ability to define a firm deadline is closely related to the level of priority of your project. The higher the priority, the firmer the deadline.

What is the level of uncertainty of your project?

Another very important point is the level of uncertainty. If your project has a lot of interdependencies with other internal activities, it can soon become impossible to deliver on quality and time if any other party involved does not deliver on quality and time. You can your project to be as independent as possible from other parts of the organization.

Do you have access to the necessary resources?

Tricky question. The idea here is to assess if the resources you need for your project are accessible internally or externally. Or in other words, are there individuals in your companies or in external consulting firms able to deliver on your project.

“The breakthrough innovations come when the tension is greatest, and the resources are most limited. That’s when people are actually a lot more open to rethinking the fundamental way they do business. ” – Clayton M. Christensen

READ ALSO
“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. “

2. Strategic Value of the Project-
Each project should be aligned with the overall Strategy of the Company. The Strategic Value is the measure of the contribution of this specific project to the Strategy.

Is the project strategic for the Company?

There is the obvious situation where a project has a high strategic value. But some projects that are not strategic still bring value when they enable another project that is strategic.

What is the expected impact of the project?

You can expect an impact or the top line, the bottom line, the costs, the culture, the leadership… This information will help you define the level of priority for the project.

How much are you willing to pay for the project?

Or in other words, can we afford this project right now.

Is now the best timing for the project?

Even when a project is strategic, the timing is not always “right” now. The project can require an enabler project to be done before. Or it might be a regulatory project, and we still have a couple of years.
3. Externalization Value of the Project-
Once you have identified the strategic value of your project, you can evaluate the externalization value or the value created through the outsourcing of the project.

Are the skills involved in the project core for your Company?

When you have the right skills and resources available internally, it might make more sense to do the project in-house. If that is not the case but the skills are or will soon be core to your Company, you might want to beef up your existing teams and launch the project internally.

Is there a specific reason to go external?

You might want to take advantage of an independent expertise, get third-party validation for your management decisions,  or .leverage a consultant’s brand to justify a painful decisions. In all these cases, working with external consultants will be a key success factor of your project.

Do we improve the business case if we accelerate the project?

Outsourcing a project should bring more value than doing it  in-house. If boosting the project (compared to the time it would take internally) is adding value, then you want to work with consultants.

Do we have the necessary skills and resources to supervise the project?

You will need to find a project manager that understands the scope of the project and the work the Consulting Firm will do. And you will need to free some of his team to supervise the project properly.

Are there companies that can provide that service?

This is a tricky question. If you are looking for a very niche or a hybrid skillset though, it might make sense to do a little bit of research.

Is there sensitive IP or information involved in the project?

You don’t want your IP or your Strategy to be out there. Some consultants have specialized in working across the board on one industry and selling their benchmark.
4. Working with Your Business Lines-
Now your Make-or-Buy Decision Framework is ready, the last part of the work is to bring it to the business lines and get their buy-in.

Explain the case for change

Any change implemented has to be explained and rationalized to your employees. Putting in place a framework to make-or-buy decisions will help your Company in keeping your focus on the Strategy and the consulting costs under control.

Inventory the projects

Once your teams are onboard, you can start identifying the pool of projects to be analyzed.
At that stage, you have probably already implemented demand management. You can only consider the projects that are highly strategic or over the threshold.

Map the benefits vs. efforts

Another important filter is a rough estimate of the benefits vs. efforts or the expected value creation for each project identified. This should help you make a first prioritization, and leave one the side projects with lowe created-value.

Select candidates for externalization

First step in the framework, select the projects that are externalizable easily. That will save you some time and energy. You can always come back to some of the projects that have high benefits, but vague deliverables/timelines later with more of a retainer structure.

Apply a make-or-buy matrix

Apply the make-or-buy matrix to refine your selection of high-priority projects to be realized either internally or externally.

Implement governance

Define the governance for the make-or-buy strategy matters. If your Company is extremely centralized, including the procurement of Consulting Services, you might consider building a Consulting committee examining the different projects and monitoring the results at company level. If you are more decentralized, you might think of several committees per business unit, or function.
 
 

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.

Join our newsletter

  Thank you for Signing Up

Please correct the marked field(s) below.

1,true,6,Contact Email,2
1,false,1,First Name,2
1,false,1,Last Name,2

Consulting sourcing tips

8 Best Practices to Avoid Potential Problems in the Course of a Consulting Project

There are, unfortunately, no guarantees in life, so your best bet is to have a solid agreement and prepare yourself and your organization to deal with any unexpected problems that might arise

Podcast | Where to focus in the Consulting Sourcing Process?

Where to focus in the Consulting Sourcing Process?

How People Shape the Consulting Market and Your Perspective – From Global to Niche Specific.

You are pretty familiar with the idea of the “comfort zone,” and the effort needed to go beyond the routine and our “comfort zone.” Understanding the Consulting market globally poses similar challenges.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: The future of Media & Entertainment at the age of digital & coronavirus

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,September 23rd ,2020, All you need to know on what does the future hold for Strategic Communications.
read more

This Week In Consulting: What does the future hold for Strategic Communications?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,September 23rd ,2020, All you need to know on what does the future hold for Strategic Communications.
read more

This Week In Consulting: Will the Telecom sector conquer the digital space?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, September 9th ,2020, All you need to know about product development in the digital age.
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

Loading

Most Popular

Consulting Playbook: Organize for Growth – a Winning Strategy for Survival

Consulting Playbook: Organize for Growth – a Winning Strategy for Survival

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #6
How Can You Boost Your Company’s Growth? The most recent economic downturn had lasting effects on many industries and businesses. It presented serious challenges to many organizations that had to embrace big changes in order to survive. But as it often happens, instead of simply adapting to the new market conditions, it is far better and more rewarding strategically as well as financially, to chase growth and expansion rather than mere adaptation.
Large Chemicals Conglomerate Rides Out the Recession
In the aftermath of the economic crisis a large Chemicals manufacturer was recovering. And in order for the company to overcome the effects of the downturn, the senior management decided to aggressively pursue growth. It was a tough call since the company has gone through many years of restructuring. As the project commenced it became clear that the company would need a solid and ambitious growth vision and a deep transformation. The CEO and the executive team agreed that a complete new management model was necessary to develop. Among the top priorities of the new vision were innovation skills, further development of the entrepreneurial culture and customer focus. They decided to hire a consultancy specialized in transformation.
Two-Phase Ambitious Approach Designed to Achieve Desired Transformation
The integrated team of consultants and the company’s executives decided to proceed in two phases.
The First Phase of the Transformation consisted of:

Establishing the architecture and the design principles of the new ensemble
Collaboration with the key stakeholders, the new governance and management model
Framing the desired behaviors with a specific focus on commitment and initiative
Reinforcing accountability and engagement by simplifying the organization’s set-up and reducing the levels of management

In Phase Two the focus was on further implementation of all the components and new policies such as:

Developing the Growth vision
Establishing a new management model based on the desired behaviors
Setting up the New Governance Placing strategy, P&L accountability and levers at Business Unit level

Re-organizing and decentralizing many of the functions to allocate necessary resources (procurement, research, etc.) under the authority of the reshaped business units, direct the remainder of corporate functions to excellence.
The Successful Completion of the Project
The consultant developed and launched a growth program that was the blueprint for the changes the company was planning to undertake. The official restart laid the foundation for the revamped structure of the company. The organization started a new chapter. Fast forward a few years, and now the company has stopped the continous restructuring, has an EBITDA growth in double digits, and is far exceeding its competitors.
The main area of transformation included simplified decentralized management model favoring effective leverage of entrepreneurial culture, growth dynamics, better responsiveness, and speed of decision making and execution.

Additional Information

Achieving Growth by Exploring New Markets with These Four New Strategies
Growing your business is very much about growing your markets at the core. Many new markets are promising but hard to penetrate. And that’s quite logical. An organization needs effective new strategies to enter uncharted territories. Only uniquely suited strategies for the new emerging markets are sufficient enough to bolster your chances for success in these areas.
History is full of business success stories from McDonald’s to Google showcasing the principle that if you are able to tap into newly-minted social trends, rapidly expanding technological innovations among consumers, and new types of consumption, communication, shopping, media and entertainment you are essentially capturing new trends and scaling up your business. These new markets can generate additional revenue, sizeable profits, solidify your share and extend your brand’s awareness. You can dominate your competition in most cases too.
But such lofty goals are not easy to achieve. First and foremost, you need the right strategies and quite often a new perspective to see things in a new light. Even though virgin markets are so attractive and rightfully merit companies interest, to succeed in them, requires new strategies.
Most of the familiar market measuring tools and techniques (such as tracking market share, profit margin trends and so on) do not work well in new markets since there are many variables and an uneven market terrain.
When developing strategy for new and emerging markets, here are 4 top trends that need to be addressed:
1. Educating Customers in New Markets by Uniting with Your Competition
In a new market, when dealing with recently and currently forming trends of consumption, consumers tend to be reluctant and just not used to the products or services in question. In these conditions, overcoming customer’s inertia will be priority. Addressing competition at that stage should not be a main concern. The real battle here will be winning the consumer’s trust and choices, and in many cases teaming up with competition in educating the customers, can be a win-win approach.
2. Selling Directly Can Work Better Compared to Using Established Channels
Selling directly to customers, especially in new and uncharted markets, offers a lot more freedom. Well-established channels can take time to develop, and you can exploit early opportunities via direct commerce with the end-user.
3. Timing Your Market Entry For Better Opportunities
There is no point to enter the game if you cannot capitalize on your advantage now, and stay ahead. It’s rather easy to lose your advantage of being the first in, so well-timed steps will be way more effective.
4. Aiming Small But Playing Big Actually
Tailor your offer and product features to target only a segment of the market. To be all things to all customers is most often a losing proposition. You simply can’t. And there is no point in it either.
There are many and substantial differences between new and old markets. But you can navigate through them very successfully using these ideas above.
For Further Reading:
– Rule of Three Marketing: Market Share and Market Dynamics
– New Business Models in Emerging Markets
– The Risks and Opportunities of Doing Business in Emerging Markets

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.

How to enjoy the value creation process

How to enjoy the value creation process

Welcome Professionals…
…as a top management consultant, we all want to create perfect results for our clients. But striving for perfectionism can actually constrain our value creation process.
For a long time in consulting business, I concentrated on achieving perfect results. At my former employer, we were especially great at pointing the attention to areas that were not perfect, yet. Each time when my project leader or partner or eventually the client found some flaws in my work, I used to beat myself up for that. I interpreted every necessary additional iteration loop as a defeat. I was striving for perfectionism.
Years later I was able to discover the drivers behind this behaviour and change my point of view. I recognized that it makes me very unhappy over time to strive for the perfect end product. The end product will never be perfect and if it was, I would already be busy with the next big thing. By having this tendency, it would be impossible for me to stop working and feel satisfied about it.
Today my motivation is different. I commit to delivering the best value I can in a given amount of time. I set time slots for me to work on a specific project and then do the best I can. I embrace opportunities for iteration, because it helps me improve my work. As an additional positive effect, it takes my client on a journey through my value creation process. Communicating intermediate steps and results makes my client value the work much more.
Everyday I try hard to concentrate on the value creation process! I am not attempting to create a perfect end product, but to give my best. Hopefully, that comes close in the end.

4 Key Areas of Category Management

4 Key Areas of Category Management

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

Category Management should always have two main objectives.

Generating savings, but more importantly,
Maximizing value creation

Let’s discuss how Category Management is the perfect lever for bringing your consulting procurement to the next level.

Measure your Performance

If you worry about team performance, the risks, and the issues associated with a Consulting project, you are totally right…
Read More

Companies that have implemented a Category Management System were able to make breakthrough savings (10-30%) and noted improvements in supplier performance, internal client satisfaction, supplier relationships, and visibility on spending.
The problem however is, that Consulting is rarely managed as a category, but rather as part of the indirect procurement together with Travel and Insurance. In some case, Consulting is folded in the professional services category.
But there is a much better way to do it –
The first step to optimizing the Consulting Spend is to recognize Consulting as a strategic category.
Indeed the size of the spend (0.5% to 3% of revenues) added to the potentially significant impact on the business makes it a key enabler of the strategy.
But does Category Management fully apply to the Consulting Category?
Monitoring the Consulting Category – 4 Key Areas  
One of the principles of category management is to implement a continuous analysis of the spend, the market, and the performance of the suppliers to identify opportunities for improvement.

1. Spend Analysis –
Performing a Spend Analysis is often the first step in aligning the Consulting Procurement Strategy with the Company Strategy. To analyze all the projects outsourced and to forecast for the future, you need to aggregate the Consulting Expenses across all organizational divisions.
The objective of the spend analysis is to produce a fully documented understanding of the company’s prior and future spend for Consulting Services, broken down by users and suppliers.
2. Market Analysis –
Knowing the Consulting Market is crucial to procure Consulting Services. Leveraging your existing consulting spend, you can analyze the consulting market for the main capabilities of interest for your company. The second step, often more complex, given the lack of familiarity with the subject, will be to look at the market for the services you could use to accelerate your objectives and create more value.
The outcome from the Consulting Market Analysis should be a better working knowledge of the supplier market and your place in it. You have identified potential suppliers and know your value as a customer.
But unlike other categories, you cannot limit your supplier analysis to only the major players. The complexity of the market, the diversity of the offerings and the granularity of your potential needs make it necessary to take a deeper dive into the Consulting Industry.
3. Supplier Performance Analysis –
The Supplier Performance Analysis should give you a holistic view on the Performance of your Consulting Providers, broken down per capability, organizational division, and project. It is often based on metrics on tangible performance, such as on-time delivery, respect of the initial budget and quality of the deliverables.
4. Managing the Human Factor –
Consulting Services have an intrinsic human component, that has a direct impact on the performance. Attitude and relationships have a powerful effect on the project’s outcome.
The behavior of the Consultant with the different stakeholders, his ability to build trust or to transfer knowledge are parts of the delivery as well.
Especially for Large Companies, it is recommended to look at the performance of the consulting firms at the Partner or project manager level. Indeed, it is not unusual to see significant variability of performance when looking at a company level. However, the performance can be very well correlated with individuals. In other words, people trump brands, and not all Companies are good at everything. Learn to identify the sweet spot of each of your Potential Providers and the partner that you want to work with, depending on your needs.
Last but not least – a Consulting firm can deliver perfect action plans, but fail to support you in the implementation or in transmitting enough knowledge to take over when they leave. Make sure this is taken care of.
 
 

Ready to generate savings?
Need to maximize value creation?
We will be happy to help. Let’s get the conversation started.
Book your call

Your browser does not support the video tag.

This Week in Consulting: Are you ready for the future of Agriculture?

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, June 3rd 2020

Are you ready for the future of Agriculture?

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“AgDrones in the market today are commonly associated with remote sensing, hyper-spectral imaging, and sophisticated data analytics for precision agriculture practices. However, investigating the current adoption and usage of AgDrones in selected Asian markets, an often overlooked functional application of this technology lies in its capability to resolve more traditional farming challenges, redefining the potential paths to adoption in the continuing assessment of market attractiveness for AgDrones.“
There is little information on how agriculture is using drones. However, you would be surprised to learn the significance of drones in the agriculture industry.
This Week’s Must Read is an insight piece from Ipsos Consulting on the impact of AgDrone adoption to relevant value chain players.
Read on to Find out More: “Commercial Drone Adoption in Agribusiness“ | Markus Scherer, Jessica Chung and Joanne Lo, Ipsos Consulting.

How to Maximize Your Potential as a Preferred Consultant

How to Maximize Your Potential as a Preferred Consultant

There are a variety of reasons people become a consultant. Flexibility, networking, and the excitement of always doing something different are just a few reasons. But along with these benefits comes the risk of not having work for periods of time. To minimize that risk, it is important to make sure that you are a preferred consultant. Here are the 10 commandments of a great consultant, to maximize your potential:
1. Thou shalt be flexible.
Flexibility extends beyond your day-to-day schedule. In order to be a great consultant who constantly has work, you need to be willing to adapt to new projects, cultures, and work constraints. The same thing that worked for one job won’t necessarily work for all jobs. It’s crucial for a great consultant to be flexible by listening to its customer, thinking outside the box and developing new solutions to problems. Likewise, your schedule should be flexible enough to allow for working odd hours, and meeting your clients out of working hours such as nights and weekends at times. Ultimately, isn’t this flexibility and control over your agenda what is really great about being a consultant?
2. Thou shalt adapt to new colleagues.
It’s important to be able to work with many different types of personalities if you want to succeed as a consultant. While one of the benefits of consulting is the excitement of working in new environments, it can also be one of the greatest challenges, since every new environment comes with a new group of colleagues. You will meet people who are combative, passive, easy going, and everything in between. You will even have to forge good working relationships with people who are not colleagues, but who have in-between positions, and you must be able to work with them efficiently. You have the ear of the boss, but you have to be able to work well on the ground, too. Being able to successfully navigate different personalities will enhance your abilities as a consultant.

3. Thou shalt be disciplined.
Working a flexible schedule can be great, but it can also pose the very real challenge of discipline. In order to be an effective consultant, you must be able to work diligently on projects by creating a schedule that will allow you the time and resources that you need to complete a project on time. Your main task as a consultant is to solve problems quickly and efficiently. Knowing how to get in, lend your expertise and advice on a project, and get out quickly is crucial to your success.
4. Thou shalt collaborate.
You need to be collaborative as a consultant, even if you prefer to work mainly on your own or as a leader. Listening to problems and working to develop a solution that will solve those problems means you need to collaborate. Great consultants are team players. So don’t hesitate to share your knowledge. Part of good collaboration is speaking up, as well as listening. It can only have a positive impact on your work and your reputation. Companies will return again and again to consultants who took the time to listen to the company’s problems, who showed initiative, and who worked with key company players to develop a solution.
5. Thou shalt be confident.
Companies generally turn to consultants when they’re faced with a challenge that they just can’t overcome. They’ll feel encouraged when a consultant enters who expresses confidence that she can fix the problem. Do not hesitate to ask questions to get to the bottom of the problem but rely on your experience and knowledge to get through a new challenge, and remind yourself that you’re qualified for the task at hand.

Launch your Consultancy

…as a top management consultant, we all want to create perfect results for our clients. But striving for perfectionism can actually constrain our value creation process.

Read More

6. Thou shalt admit your own limitations.
As a consultant, it can seem contradictory to fall short on knowing everything related to your projects. However, skirting around a decision because of your lack of knowledge can backfire big time for you and for your client. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something, but be sure to follow up with someone who does. As a consultant, you have a different network and are more likely to find a reliable source who does know the answer to the problem. What matters is to solve your clients problem not to be the one solving it.
7. Thou shalt keep learning.
Your work as a consultant doesn’t end when a project is finished. Great consultants are experts in their fields, which means they are always on top of the latest research and studies. Subscribe to journals, attend conferences, and find other ways to keep current within your chosen field. Remember, you are filling in the gaps for companies, and that includes a detailed knowledge of recent developments in your discipline.
8. Thou shalt listen first and speak second.
Great consultants understand that their main job is to solve a problem for a company, but the only way to really understand the problem is to listen. Take the time to listen during meetings, and ask questions to ensure that you truly understand what the company wants from you. By listening and being observant, you will better understand the balance of powers, and you can identify allies. In the end, companies trust consultants who spend a little extra time getting to know the company and the specific issue before diving in with a solution.
9. Thou shalt clarify expectations.
Every company has a different relationship with consultants. Some companies expect a consultant to jump in and take over, while others micromanage. Be upfront with the company about expectations, and be honest about what you can deliver before starting a job. This will save many headaches for you and the company, and will ensure that you can be as effective as possible during the project.
10. Thou shalt know when to walk away.
You can only do so much as a consultant. When a client decides to ignore all of your advice and ends up not implementing anything you have suggested, then it’s time to walk away. Understand that you are a consultant and not a member of the company, and that your advice and suggestions are merely that. The company is under no obligation to actually implement your ideas. Also, if you think that your experience simply cannot bring the company more value, it’s best to prepare for the transition and just go. Sometimes, the right move is to walk away from a project and look ahead to a new one.
Each client for whom you work is a new opportunity to network, to better your communication methods, to learn new skills and to hone old ones. At the end of the day, what really matters is the value that you bring to your clients and the strength of the relationship you will build with them. The first, will give you the satisfaction of a job well done but the second beyond the immediate impact on your bottom line will help you reputation and establish recurring revenue streams.

Consulting Playbook: Effective Identification of Growth and Cost Synergy Brings Higher Revenues

Consulting Playbook: Effective Identification of Growth and Cost Synergy Brings Higher Revenues

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #18
The case involved two big players in the Mobility Service sector. The two companies had decided to merge and had identified areas for synergies. However, they could not, for antitrust reasons exchange information prior to the merger. Given the respective geographical coverage and market share of both parties, the antitrust process was anticipated to be quite lengthy. In order to accelerate the integration, and to speed-up the materialization of the synergies both CEO decided to use some external support.
Quantitative and Qualitative Approach Produces Desired Outcome
The Consultant was hired to provide expertise with the merger, the new company’s launch, and more specifically to identify growth and cost synergy applicable to the newly formed company. Strategic direction and top priorities were outlined as part of working groups but it was now a key issue to move down to concrete actions. The project was especially important and expected to deliver the methodology for future growth and cost synergies, including progress-tracking and reporting. Two working teams comprised of senior executives from both companies, closely collaborated in the facilitation of the consulting clean team to ensure the successful outcome.
The Consultancy used a 2-stage Approach –
Preliminary Assessment
Following the executives’ decision to merge, costs and cost synergy were assessed to determine the potential benefits.
Interviews with key players from both companies were held, and the assessment performed was based on numerous documents and records – annual reports, market studies, presentations reviewed. The reached conclusions helped chart the merger and post-merger strategy. The work on the synergies was broken down into manageable work streams with two leaders, one from each company, to supervise the process.
Detailed Synergy Identification and Action Plan
While in the pre-clearance and pre-closing periods, each team using corporate and geographical coordinates, designed synergy targets relating to costs, headcount, and redundancy. These were broken further down into secured (concrete action plans) and identified areas where more analysis was required to determine exact numbers and measures. Those areas included :

Target Corporate Model
Target Regional Organizational Model
Procurement Synergies
Revenue synergies due to better positions, new capabilities and innovation applied
G&A (communication, general services, and legal)

After an intensive exercise of baselining on both sides, tracking tools were put in place to ensure a proper tracking of the synergies as they were progressively identified, confirmed and implemented.
Total synergy and performance realized across all geographical areas and the two companies additionally to each current company’s annual performance represented the equivalent of one year of operating revenues. The consulting team continued to support the integration for a few months and then transferred the reporting tools to the PMI team. Thanks to all the preparatory work, the materialization of the synergies after closing took less than a year.

Additional Information

Synergy Excellence – 6 Practices To Help You Aim for The Best Synergies
In many mergers, it’s not uncommon that synergies do not materialize as expected leaving the companies’ executives puzzled. This fact alone can be very disappointing to executives and staff alike. Let’s take a closer look at the possibilities of optimizing synergies. One of the underlying reasons for the sub par outcomes, is related to huge overestimation of the synergies due to lack of solid due diligence, board estimates, and a lack of clear understanding of the expectations of the merger.
However it is highly recommended to look at some mergers that over delivered, and see what practices produced these results.
We should also mention that synergies strongly depend on the company’s size and type of industry. A good example for lower synergies is the retail sector, while telecommunications companies often realize bigger synergies.
Here are 6 Practices to Apply for the Best Synergies:

Fact – Announced synergies in more than 65% of the cases are overestimated. It is important that companies have more realistic projections.
The best companies who achieved greatest synergies are the ones that had a clear blueprint in realizing their ambitious goals. They are the companies who reached full potential, and were able to minimize inefficiencies and reaped the fruits of scaling up.
Merging companies need more accuracy in calculating synergies. Costs prior to the deal must be well evaluated, and a deeper understanding of what can be gain with the merger is a must.
Also important is to set clear target of the costs compared to bigger and smaller competitors.
Using the Deal Thesis and function-by-function benchmarks can provide the best approach in evaluating the costs and the best synergies.
Setting ambitious goals of 5% instead of expected 1-3% in synergies, is achievable when all aspects of the merger are fully optimized.

For Further Reading –
– The World is Bumpy
– To Get Value from a Merger, Grow Sales
– Cost Synergies
– M&A: Identifying and Realizing Synergies
– Negative Synergies in M&A

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.

7 Effective Steps to successfully launch your Consulting Project

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.
With that said, let’s discuss this topic in more detail.

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information. – Benjamin Disraeli

There are some important points for consideration here.
Before you launch your next Consulting project, you need to review some critical aspects, such as:
1. The downside of asymmetrical information –
And why should you care as a client?
Asymmetrical information, otherwise known as information failure, refers to a situation when one party in a transaction has more information, than the other party. Almost all economic transactions involve some information asymmetries.

Leverage Disruption to create more value through Consulting

Management consulting companies have mastered the art of selling “digital transformation” projects to clients, but still struggle to adopt digital tools in their business model.

Read More

2. How does asymmetrical information distort the Client-Consultant relationship? –
Asymmetrical information is particularly present when it is difficult for the client to judge the quality of the product or service. In Consulting, partners and consultants know their industry and their trade inside out, while the clients and their buyers have limited information.
3. Quality of Consulting services – Market Insights –
You might be familiar with the work of George Akerlof “The Market for Lemons”, where he explained that in certain markets, it’s difficult to distinguish the good product (“pears”) from the bad product (“lemons”). To mitigate the risk, the Buyer will use the average statistics of the market while the Seller has detailed information for each product. The Seller will tend to sell the product of lower quality to minimize their losses, and the best product won’t be sold. As a result, the market will shrink, and the average product quality will decrease. The case for Consulting is very relevant, as well. And as a Client, you need to be aware of these insights.
4. How to overcome the disadvantages when buying Consulting services? –
Unless they are handling several consulting projects a month in each capability, buyers of consulting services are at a disadvantage when negotiating with consulting providers.As a result, they might become risk-averse in their choice of consulting providers and choose consulting firms based on mostly their reputation or their existing relationship. The winners then are the large consulting firms that provide constant high-quality work and are excellent at building relationships.

How to get started? – 
The 7 Most Effective Steps in Launching Your Next Consulting Project-
If you are confident that you like to start a Consulting project, these are the most effective steps to follow:
1. Define your needs.
The definition of the scope of your project is a compulsory step in the RFP (Request for Proposal) process. You need to gather a team made of the major stakeholders and agree on the expected results, timeline, and budget for the project. Even though you are thinking of bringing in external resources to lead the project, the sound principles of project management still apply. Determine the real problem to solve and the project objectives. Many consulting projects fail because the scope is too vague and too broad.
2. Organize a competition among the prospective providers.
Organizing a healthy competition is not that complex. You have to keep in mind that the goal of the process goes beyond the sourcing and focus on the success of the project. Organizing a competition without putting all the candidates in the right conditions to give their best answer is meaningless. You need to bring in relevant potential consulting suppliers and give them a fair chance to get the project.
3. As a client, you are the boss.
Don’t let the Consulting firm dictate the pace or the content of the conversation. Explain your process beforehand. They need to give you one contact person, and to comply with your rules.The same applies to Terms & Conditions. Work with your documents based on your internal policies. Define, for instance, your rule for Travel expenses: Expenses capped at 15%, pre-approved by your teams, and based on your Company policy. Be fair to all consulting firms and apply the same to rules to everyone.

4. Be the “Early Bird” or start the process early.
Most of the time, you are not in such a hurry. When projects are complex, integrate Q&A sessions in the process. In all cases, give the consulting firms enough time to prepare their proposal. They will only be more detailed.
Generally, response turnaround times should be in the range of one week for a small project, two weeks for a standard consulting project and three to four weeks for a very large project (PMI, company-wide transformation, …).
Anticipate also spending some extra time for back-and-forth communication with the consulting providers to adjust the proposals
5. Sharing the roles.
As a general rule, business lines should focus on the Business Expertise, and Procurement should bring their Consulting and Procurement perspective to the table.

6. Create excitement.
If you decide to work with Consultants, you are interested in their analytical skills, their expertise or their outstanding communication competencies. Don’t waste their talent (and your money) on menial tasks. They are better employed at complex projects where they can do their magic. Besides, they might not be interested in working on small projects, and your project could go down on their priority list. And it might not be ‘good news’ in regards to quality and expertise.
If you are looking more for another pair of arms, or data crunching, you might prefer freelance platforms such as Catalent, TalMix, even networks like 2PS or Eden McCallum. You will find bright individuals ready to take on very small projects or interim work.
7. Time management and timing.
If you can afford it, take your time. It is sometimes difficult to translate the business challenges and the needs into a project. You might not be sure even if the project will happen, or have a clear scope in mind. The RFI (Request for Information) can be a good way to collect and leverage information. It will help you refine your approach to solving the problem and develop consensus within your organization. It can also be a smart way to narrow the number of contestants on your list before engaging in the RFP process.
Be careful to give a fair chance to all the consulting firms you engaged in your RFI, so your company is not seen just as a brain picker.
When the scope is clear, you can take an educated guess at how many consultants you need for the project. You can also think about the value expected from the project. That should help you define ballpark how much you are ready to pay for that project.

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

Your browser does not support the video tag.

This Week in Consulting: Is Actuary ready for the looming digital revolution?

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, February 19th 2020

Innovation 2020: more of the same?

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“Over the years, the phrase disruptive innovation has come to mean all manner of things to people. But the broad, sweeping implication that “disruptive” is synonymous with “ambitious upstart” is not correct, is it? How would you like to define disruptive innovation for the record?​”
Disruptive innovations are not breakthrough innovations that alter how business is done but, rather, consist of products and services that are simple, accessible, and affordable.
This Week’s Must Read  is an Interview with the late Clayton M. Christensen by Karen Dillon where they explore what do we know now about the power of disruption.
Read on to Find out More: “Disruption 2020: An Interview With Clayton M. Christensen“ | Karen Dillon for MITSloan.

  Thank you for Signing Up

Receive "This Week in Consulting" in your Mailbox

Please complete this form to create an account, receive email updates and much more.
  Please correct the marked field(s) below

 
1,false,1,First Name,2

 
1,false,1,Last Name,2

*

1,true,6,Contact Email,2

 *

*Required Fields

Note: It is our responsibility to protect your privacy and we guarantee that your email address will be completely confidential.

THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

This week video is a podcast: Henry Chesbrough, adjunct professor at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business, coined the term “open innovation” over a decade ago​.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Why don’t leaders ‘get’ disruptive innovation? “Disruptive innovation is a victim of its own success. Since Clayton Christensen coined the term in 1995, it’s become the mantra of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs seeking investment for their apps and tech companies hoping to make their latest devices sound more exciting. It’s the buzzword of choice for on-trend executives, a blanket term that’s frequently applied to many new technologies, services and business practices.” The author explains that launching digital transformation without mastering disruptive innovation is useless. | Duncan Jefferies, Raconteur
When Disruption Hits Your Business Model – Surviving The Collision: “So much has been said about disruptive innovation, that it can sometimes feel that to be in a traditional, scaled business is to somehow be on a fast track to extinction. In fact, scaled businesses are remarkable success stories – to have survived from start-up to profitable-at-scale is no mean feat. The threat of disruption might be existential, but that doesn’t negate the fact that within the success of the current business lie the clues to the shape of the future business.” What are the innovation levers for your current business model to adapt to the disruptive changes in your environment? | Tobias Rooney and Tom Gray, Fahrenheit 212
Breaking Down the Barriers to Innovation: “To catalyze innovation, companies have invested billions in internal venture capital, incubators, accelerators, and field trips to Silicon Valley. Yet according to a McKinsey survey, 94% of executives are dissatisfied with their firms’ innovation performance. Across industries, one survey after another has found the same thing: Businesses just aren’t getting the impact they want, despite all their spending.” How can your organization develop and implement its own BEANs (Behavior Enablers, Artifacts, and Nudges) to unleash innovation? | Scott D. Anthony, Paul Cobban, Rahul Nair and Natalie Painchaud, HBR
Five Common Mistakes In Innovation: “There’s a growing consensus around what it takes to be truly innovative. Launch some great new products and services. Encourage your people to take risks. Get started on the long, hard work of creating metrics and processes that help employees engage with new ideas. That’s what the world’s most innovative companies are doing. But just because you know how to do something doesn’t mean you will do it.” Are you willing to make the cultural changes necessary to get more innovative? | Dev Patnaik, Jump.

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
VivaTech 2020:  We create the conditions to spark positive change. By helping startups and major corporate groups become the digital champions of tomorrow…
 
Hello Tomorrow GLOBAL SUMMIT:  Let’s reflect on the issues of today to better shape the future we want.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

Charging point manufacturer Pod Point acquired by EDF: “EDF, one of the ‘big six’ electricity providers in the UK, has acquired a majority stake in Pod Point, which manufactures home and public electric vehicle chargers.” | Dave Leggett, Just Auto
Oliver Wyman Sees Expansion Ahead for Aviation Industry Despite Challenges: “The next decade will be more challenging for the aviation industry than the 10 years previous years, despite prospects for rising passenger demand, according to Oliver Wyman’s annual Global Fleet & MRO Forecast.” | Oliver Wyman
McKinsey buys Orpheus: “This month, McKinsey announced it was acquiring Orpheus, a regional yet specialized (and highly capable) spend and procurement analysis provider based in Germany. For a primer on Orpheus and the acquisition, see our initial Nexus coverage” |Spend Matters
Changes to UK taxation could add billions to the economy: “A new report by professional services firms Alvarez & Marsal Taxand and Capital Economics has identified several post-Brexit tax changes that could provide the UK economy with billions in new economic value.” | 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

Top 7 Questions about Internal and External Consultants You Wanted Answered But Were Hesitant to Ask
Wondering what precisely are the differences between Internal and External consultants? We think there are seven distinctions, so let's explore ...Read More

Top 8 Steps to Follow When Negotiating and Preparing Your Consulting Agreement
"Every great building once begun as a building plan. That means, sitting in that building plan on the table is ...Read More

How to measure the value created in Consulting?
"The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Abraham Lincoln The Consulting industry today is considered ...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.

Follows

Loading

Most Recent

Loading

Most Popular

Optimize the Ups and Minimize the Downs of Your Procurement Capability Journey

Working with consultants can bring in tremendous benefits, but if you don’t know how to manage the procurement process, the results might be far from satisfactory. A first scan of your expenses, where the observation period will be the previous fiscal year, will give you a good basis for slicing and dicing the information. Having this structured data will allow you to understand the patterns of your Consulting Spend. You can capture quick gains, get the buy-in of your employees and embark on a self-funded journey.

Loading

Top 5 Articles

The 8 Defining Stages in the History of Consulting

“Consultant” is not just a fancy name, but a professional who can make a difference in how a company address challenges and succeeds. A simple definition of a “consultant” includes the following: a provider of expert advice to another person or an entity, who is compensated for their services.

Loading

Top 5 Articles

The 8 Defining Stages in the History of Consulting

“Consultant” is not just a fancy name, but a professional who can make a difference in how a company address challenges and succeeds. A simple definition of a “consultant” includes the following: a provider of expert advice to another person or an entity, who is compensated for their services.

Loading