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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 make sure your consulting spend is supporting your strategy?

Having a consulting strategy is about aligning your consulting budget with your strategic priorities to accelerate the execution of your strategy.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte discusses about how to make sure your consulting spend is supporting your strategy.
Key Takeaway: Ultimately, the goal of procurement groups is not to take over the decision-making process. But rather to support the business lines through the journey and make sure your company gets the most value from consulting by implementing the right best practices .
 

Podcast | What is disruption in consulting?

Disruption is pretty much everywhere which means that there are opportunities to work with consultants to take advantage or react to the disruption in your industry.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte interviews Laurent Thomas to discuss about what is disruption in consulting.
Key Takeaway: There are many ways to work with consultants and each company will have its own path. The explosion of the traditional consulting model as well as the adaptation of consulting offerings to their clients’new needs, are opening new opportunities for clients to leverage consulting to create more value.
 

Leverage the Covid-19 crisis to decrease your consulting costs

Leverage the Covid-19 crisis to decrease your consulting costs.

According to Nariman Behravesh, Chief Economist at the consulting firm IHS Markit, “COVID-19 has caused an economic shock three times worse than the 2008 financial crisis.” Most countries will face a recession of epic proportions, and millions of companies are fighting for their survival​.

Leverage the Covid-19 crisis to decrease your consulting costs – Most consulting firms are struggling.
The consulting industry is no exception to the rule. The industry has always followed the cycles of the economy. Client organizations have delayed projects, reduced scopes, or froze consulting spend altogether, leading to a 10% contraction in value in 2020.
With the pressure on OPEX, client organizations are now screening their expenses to find savings opportunities. And Consulting, which seats in the indirect category and can represent up to 3% of the income, seems like an obvious target. As an executive, you might be tempted to attack the cost base with traditional cost-cutting measures and price negotiations.
But before we go there, let’s have a look at the bigger picture.
 

READ ALSO
When companies face difficulties such as Covid 19 and start to be cash-constrained, they often look to reduce their consulting spend, and Consulting looks like a non-essential line.

How do consultants build their prices?

Consultants are selling their time, or more precisely, the access to expert knowledge and execution workforce during a certain period of time. The potential of production of a Consulting firm is the amount of time available for billing. Every day not billed is lost just like an empty airplane seat. So, the fee structure is usually geared to optimize the utilization rates.
Since Consultants are primarily selling their time, the time spent on a project is the main driver of cost. Usually, the price is calculated as the product of the daily rate per the number of days spent on the project.
The daily rate is most of the time defined with a Cost Plus analysis. What determines the level of daily rate is often the depth of expertise and experience.
An expert guru in a given field can charge up to $10k/day. Indeed, the time spent by a consultant to grow his expertise, develop new methodologies, and share his knowledge through books and articles is not billable. But it influences your buying decision and the success of your project. In a way, you could consider those $10k as 2 for the time and 8 for the expertise’s value.
The seniority can also make a huge difference. You can expect a multiplication factor of 5 or more between an experienced partner and a newly-graduated analyst. Even though you might not be able to fully reconcile the fees with the salary as significant markups and overheads are applied. If you look at most client companies, there is also a significant multiplier between junior roles and vice president ones.  The gap often comes from the analyst starting salary being almost twice what junior profiles can get in the industry combined with the markups and overheads mentioned earlier.
As a result, a project’s team composition is instrumental in defining a consulting project’s price. For instance, a partner at 50% plus 2 juniors full time will cost significantly more than a partner part-time teaming up with some of your team members, especially as the partner will, in most cases, assign a manager to drive the work of the 2 juniors. Suddenly you end up paying much more for the workforce than the expertise you wanted in the first place.

How do Consultants make money?
Now that we know how Consultants invoice their clients let’s take a step back and get the big picture. Of course, understanding your suppliers’ cost structure is just one small part of the equation, but it will help you get the gist of the constraints.
Whatever the size of the Consulting Firm, the main expense item is people. If you think about it, it probably makes sense since consultants are the service. Consulting Firms spend a lot of money on attracting and retaining talents. Within most consulting firms, non-partners consultants are considered as fixed costs.
Depending on the company’s size, overheads can represent a very significant share of the overall costs. Top consultancies have made a fancy address and fancy offices a large part of their brand. They also present an almost balanced ratio between consultants and nonconsultants in their staff. Obviously, boutique consultancies and independent consultants will be much leaner on this cost category.
Once you have the cost of employees and overheads covered, the next cost center on the center of the list will be marketing and sales. Building a brand, growing recognition, getting thought leadership out there is key to generate leads and solidify a company’s position. Again, this category can be quite slim for small firms.
Indeed, the consulting cost structure is that simple, fixed costs are limited to some overhead and SG&A, the main cost by far being the wages of consultants.
Take the full salary, including potential bonus, add some margin expectation to cover for various SG&A, add some margin expectation and divide by a target utilization in a given number of days: you just got yourself a daily rate.
The recipe for profitability is simple: utilize your consultants enough to cover those three categories. Any turnover beyond this threshold will fill the bonus pool to pay the partners and shareholders.
Sales and pricing will drive the top line, but utilization is king. The consulting firm’s right-sizing will drive profitability. Oversize and partners will share a meager bonus as most revenues will be used to pay the teams. Undersize, and you might miss significant opportunities. It explains why more and more companies are using a flexible workforce and the recent rise of consulting marketplaces.
How do Consulting firms face the crisis?
Many consulting firms took a bit hit since the beginning of the crisis. Between the travel restrictions and the consulting freezes, they may not have worked on new projects since March.
They have used their cash at hand to cover costs for a while and then probably have stopped all subcontracting and furloughed some or all of their employees. Since most of the costs come from wages, this measure should have allowed them to balance their cash flows.
But then the next step is probably to cut rent and marketing expenses. In an industry that is increasingly relying on thought leadership and content creation, consulting business owners have to make tough decisions to reduce their costs without jeopardizing future sales and brand awareness.
Another important factor for them to manage is talent retention. Consulting Firms cannot keep their consultants on furlough forever. And since consulting is about selling your time and expertise, they need to maintain this expertise by staffing consultants and projects and keeping employees engaged by assigning them on interesting projects.
As a result, consultants will be hungry for projects. After all, 80% of something is better than 100% of nothing.
Large consulting firms have little room to cut their margins because of their shareholders and their pyramidal structure. They will focus on reduced expectations and accept smaller projects. The odd staffing practice requiring consultants to work full time on projects will, for sure, limit their options.
Small to mid-sized consulting firms are more flexible. They will accept smaller projects than usual and lower prices. They might also accept projects outside their core expertise, putting their brand and reputation in danger.
As you can see, there will be opportunities for client organizations to reduce their consulting costs through negotiations. And in the short-run, you can probably expect a decrease of 10-15%.
But what would be the impact of the long run? And how to take advantage of the situation in a socially responsible way?
Next week: Leverage the Covid-19 crisis to decrease your consulting costs – Act as a “risk-sharing partner.”
 
 

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

Podcast | How to make sure your consulting spend is supporting your strategy?

What is disruption in consulting?

Leverage the Covid-19 crisis to decrease your consulting costs- part2

Are there opportunities for client organizations to reduce their consulting costs with the covid crisis?

Podcast | What is disruption in consulting?

What is disruption in consulting?

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: What’s next for the Mining & Metals Industry?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,November 18th ,2020, All you need to know about How and when will the Aerospace Industry recover from the coronavirus crisis?
read more

This Week In Consulting: How and when will the Aerospace Industry recover from the coronavirus crisis?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,November 18th ,2020, All you need to know about How and when will the Aerospace Industry recover from the coronavirus crisis?
read more

This Week In Consulting: How is the Professional Services Industry facing the current crisis?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,November 11th ,2020, All you need to know about How is the Professional Services Industry facing the current crisis.
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 | Do I really need an RFP for a Consulting project?

Writing well-defined requirements is the cornerstone of a successful consulting project. Even when you don’t organize a tender..
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte discusses about the RFP for Consulting services
Key Takeaway: Writing RFPs for all projects is a prerequisite to implementing demand management, making or buying, and tight project management principles. In other words, it is the first step to taking control of your consulting spend.
 

4 efficient ways to reduce your consulting spend (crisis or not)

4 efficient ways to reduce your consulting spend (crisis or not).

When companies face difficulties such as Covid 19 and start to be cash-constrained, they often look to reduce their expenses, and Consulting looks like a non-essential line. The most common option is to initiate a consulting freeze​.

4 efficient ways to reduce your consulting spend.
But is Consulting a nice-to-have expense? Or are companies leaving value on the table?
Actually, Consultants can help companies to get their battle plan in order, identify short- and medium-term opportunities, and prepare for the aftermaths.
There are many projects where consultants can help their clients create value better and faster or sort out priorities when issues are piling up. As an outsider, a Consultant often can form a perspective that others in your organization can’t provide.
There are several levers that these companies can use to optimize their consulting spend and do more with less.
 

READ ALSO
If there was a “secret sauce” to find the right provider for a Consulting project, it probably lies in the combination of 8 key markers

Make sure you spend on the right projects –

Demand management allows the teams to differentiate between the “must-have” and the “nice to have.” You can keep your money for what is really important. Focusing the efforts on a limited number of impactful projects is often yielding a much greater value than sugar coating on a large number of minor projects. Difficult to assess what the impact can be as it relates to the quality of your demand management. However, assuming you can redirect 25% of funds to higher-value projects can be a good proxy.
Demand Management has to be rooted in a robust decision-making process that allows maintaining the strategic direction of the Company while controlling the costs. You need to define what part of the budget will be allocated to strategic projects, and what part will be left at the discretion of managers. You can also prioritize your projects and start with the ones that generate immediate value, such as cost savings projects, for instance.
Pros: Ensures the alignment between spend and strategy, Keeps costs under control
Cons: Requires some degree of centralization, requires strict governance

Focus on the most urgent problems to solve –
Defining the right scope has a direct impact on the overall cost of a project. Scope on the wrong problem and you spend a lot of money for nothing. Scope on a subject too wide, and you will pay for more than you actually needed or use the wrong consultants for part of the job. The impact can be significant as scoping mistakes can lead to 50 to 100% extra costs, and the value missed could have a considerable opportunity cost.
Working internally to define your problem and identify the options is key to inviting the right consultants to the discussion. It doesn’t mean that your requirements are final. You are just optimizing the chances that the project you are launching will fix the issues you face.
Pros: Ensures you focus on the most urgent problems to solve, Gives procurement an opportunity to lead the consulting sourcing effort
Cons: Does not apply to regulatory changes
Work with the right consultants-
Sourcing the right consultants for your project is key to make sure you will get the right value at the end of the process. Besides, organizing a relevant competition will ensure that you get competitive proposals and provide some leverage for negotiation. Without proper sourcing and a relevant competition, you will lack proper leverage and risk ending up doing the work with the wrong consultants. By experience, setting up a relevant competition can yield from 30 to 50% of savings. Obviously, working with the wrong consultants can significantly reduce the impact. As a working assumption, a 25 to 50% impact difference seems reasonable.
It can be interesting to leverage 2nd and 3rd Tier Consulting Firms (small to mid-sized) to decrease the average costs, cover the niche and/or very operational needs from your business lines, and help you control the Tail Spend while optimizing the ROI.
A good indicator to check if you are using Consultants properly from this Tier is to look at your top 10 Consulting projects from the previous year. Can you identify some small specialized niche players? Do you see mostly the same names coming up over and over?
Pros: Helps lower your average consulting costs, Gives you access to more niche expertise
Cons: Is difficult if you have long payment terms (90+ days), Is not always possible for highly political projects
Manage your projects to deliver the right value –
To assess the importance of the managing step, you can simply picture an internal project lacking project management, governance, or support from key stakeholders. What are the odds of getting something meaningful achieved? Pretty low, right? The same is true for consulting projects. Without proper management, you will be at risk. Not managing the project can waste up to 100% of the project cost (not accounting for your teams’ wasted time), the value you were expecting from the project itself.
When you are outsourcing parts or the whole project, you add another layer of complexity to project management. While managing the project will impact the triangle cost-quality-time, managing the contract will ensure compliance with the contractual terms. The changes in scope or staffing should be traced all along with the life of a project.
Pros: Increases the chances to reach the targeted impact, Keeps costs in tracks
Cons: Requires internal resources
You can use one or all of these levers to optimize your consulting spend. Implementing some form of demand management will help you make sure to invest where the most value will be created. Consequently, you can focus on selecting the right projects, sourcing the right consultants, and managing them to maximize the impact.
This does not prevent you from giving your organization savings targets but will ensure a balanced result.
 

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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  Thank you for Signing Up

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Consulting sourcing tips

Podcast | How to make sure your consulting spend is supporting your strategy?

What is disruption in consulting?

Leverage the Covid-19 crisis to decrease your consulting costs- part2

Are there opportunities for client organizations to reduce their consulting costs with the covid crisis?

Podcast | What is disruption in consulting?

What is disruption in consulting?

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: What’s next for the Mining & Metals Industry?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,November 18th ,2020, All you need to know about How and when will the Aerospace Industry recover from the coronavirus crisis?
read more

This Week In Consulting: How and when will the Aerospace Industry recover from the coronavirus crisis?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,November 18th ,2020, All you need to know about How and when will the Aerospace Industry recover from the coronavirus crisis?
read more

This Week In Consulting: How is the Professional Services Industry facing the current crisis?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week,November 11th ,2020, All you need to know about How is the Professional Services Industry facing the current crisis.
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 | What does make or buy strategy look like for the consulting category?

When you launch a project, you know that assigning an independent task force can bring focus, speed, which is sometimes enough for the success of a project. Lets see what could be your options.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains how Make or buy strategy looks like for the consulting category.
Key Takeaway: Implementing make or buy for consulting like this requires some degree of centralization and an increase collaboration between procurement, business lines, strategy, finance and human resources.
 

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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?

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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

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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.

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.
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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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About Consulting Quest

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

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Podcast | How to assess the written proposals for your project?

Assessing the written proposals is a key step in the process. It helps identify the most promising proposals and move forward to the decision.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains how to assess the written proposals for your project.
Key Takeaway: When you are working on a large cohort of consulting providers, you should focus at first on the most promising proposals to save time and energy. Sometimes consultants look better on paper. Review your selection criteria and offer the short-listed candidates a chance to convince you they are the best for this project.

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.

Use Consulting Strategically

Attention executives: if you are considering outsourcing a project to a consulting firm, (…), we have great news—there’s a new way to view the value of the right consultant.

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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.

Best Proven Techniques to Position and Prioritize Your Consulting Needs and Find the Right Consultants

Best Proven Techniques to Position and Prioritize Your Consulting Needs and Find the Right Consultants

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” – Stephen R. Covey

Prioritization is the key to understanding and solving the needs your organization faces. And we have a few proven and powerful tips on evaluating your situation to help you prioritize your needs.
1. Your ideal provider according to 6 key markers –
We discussed in our previous blog post the necessity of defining your key markers; now you can start positioning your ideal company on different dimensions. Depending on the context of your project, and the expected results, you can define where on these dimensions, your potential providers need to be. For instance, a small IT company based in Tunisia wants to enter a new market: Fintech. They are curious about understanding the value chain and identifying opportunities for their company.

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They have identified six key markers for potential suppliers:

Capability: The consulting provider needs to have experience in market entry and growth strategy.
Industry Experience: The consulting provider they need has a broad knowledge of the Fintech industry, and the major trends internationally and regionally.
Footprint: They are looking at a company based either in North Africa or in Europe to limit the additional expenses and get access to high-level expertise.
Budget: The Company has a small budget for the diagnosis part. They are looking at an independent consultant or a very small boutique.
Delivery Model: The Company is building a new structure. They want a high-level strategic approach integrating the internal and external political aspects. They also want their team to learn more about Fintech in the process.
Culture: They are looking for consultants that can speak either Arabic or French and have experience working in North Africa.

You will very rarely find a perfect match to this ideal Consulting “DNA profile”.
However, it’s the best starting point to search for the next best match for a project.

 
2. Prioritization of your needs – the effective approach –
Prioritization is different and unique to every company and every project. The project sponsor and the project manager have probably an idea of what is more important to them. Is it skill over industry knowledge? Or culture over footprint? Budget over skills?
Understanding the priority for each dimension will help you narrow down your list of potential providers. With both the markers, the ideal position on each marker and the level of priority for each dimension, you will be able to draw an “Ideal Consulting DNA Profile” for your project.
3. Finding the best match – Internal or External sources –
When you know what you are looking for, you can start searching for the right fit.
As you focus on building the right team of experts, it can be tempting to source external consultants directly. But we wouldn’t be doing our job right if we didn’t encourage you to perform a short make-or-buy assessment of your project.
Can your project be done in-house? Do you have the right resources? Do you need external knowledge? Is there some confidential IP involved? Can the project be partially outsourced?
These questions are particularly relevant if you have internal consulting or improvement/excellence teams.
There are several tools you can use to start your search.
Internal Sources

Your Company might already have a List of Preferred Providers, an internal database of Consulting Firms, or a list of Consulting Firms in your field.
Your network/colleagues that have worked previously with Consultants might have a few recommendations (or warnings).
You may have a database of evaluation reports or previous bids where you can find some interesting information.

External Sources

A Directory of Consulting firms, such as the Consulting Quest Directory that organizes Consulting firms per region, capability and industry served.
Articles and books written on the field you are interested in
A List of professional associations in your industry or in the capability you need
A plain and simple Google Search (or Qwant or DuckDuckGo searches)

Don’t hesitate to use several sources to find new experts. And don’t forget to assess each company based on your criteria even if you have worked successfully with them previously or found them a little short on a previous proposal.
4. Building a preliminary List of potential players –
Your first step is to build a preliminary list of potential players. The size of your project will impact the length of your list. For instance, if you have to source a mid-sized project and you are aiming to compare three potential providers, you should include roughly fifteen to twenty companies in your first search. 
Once your list is ready, you can contacting the companies to make sure they are indeed a god fit. As a rule of thumb, you should consider 30% of the companies that don’t have the right Consulting “DNA Profile” and 30% that are not available or interested in the project.
The next step is to identify among the potential players the three providers that are the best fit with your criteria and start the RFP process. 

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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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