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

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

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This Week in Consulting: Can Consulting survive the take over of AI and analytics?

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 27th 2019

Can Consulting survive the take over of AI and analytics?

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“As artificial intelligence takes over the capital markets, will consulting be far behind? The similarity between the two lies in their core: data. Just like traders, consultants offer a data-driven service. And, historically, data challenges have ensured the necessity of a human interface to the data. Data is messy. It is hard to process.​”
Management consulting which tends to view itself as an elite in the business world is vulnerable to AI, a disruptive force of the market.
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from MITSloan where the authors explore the impact of AI and analytics on the “giving advice” industry. They encourage consultants to shift their mental model and identify the “true value” they are bringing to the clients.
Read on to Find out More: “Management Consulting’s AI-powered Existential Crisis “ |Megan Beck and Barry Libert, AIMatters.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Meet Sheldon, the Future of Consulting by Emmanuel Jusserand, Partner at Accenture Digital Strategy​.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

How data analytics are changing the consulting industry?: “As the digital revolution takes root in the consulting industry itself, tremendous opportunities to enhance the client experience are opening up and advising clients on leveraging analytics is now an entrenched part of modern consulting.  However, consultants must learn new skill sets to stay ahead of the disruption, according to experts at management consultancy OC&C Strategy.” Data analytics, smartly deployed, can provide premium insights into an organization’s performance metrics, and the complex changes happening around them. How are consulting practitioners embracing analytics to serve their clients better? | Virtuosi
AI May Soon Replace Even the Most Elite Consultants : “The shift to AI solutions will be a tough pill to swallow for the corporate consulting industry. According to recent research, the U.S. market for corporate advice alone is nearly $60 billion.  Almost all that advice is high cost and human-based.” “In 2017, the same authors, as the cover article, were anticipating how the Consulting Industry would face the disruptive impact of emerging technologies. How have things evolved in two years?. | Megan Beck and Barry Libert
How technology is disrupting the consulting industry: “While technology will see some aspects of work become less important, it will ultimately support and augment consulting work, freeing up labour to add value elsewhere in the firm. According to industry advocates, while tedious tasks could disappear or be outsourced to robots, the need for humans will always be there.” Technology is disrupting the consulting industry alright, changing when and why clients work with consultants, but also how consultants themselves work. But ultimately, isn’t technology just getting rid of the low-value activities and freeing consultants for the high-level consulting work?. | Consultancy.eu
Artificial Intelligence in the Consulting Industry: “The business world is becoming gradually more complex, technical and faster paced hence having a good understanding as to what type of information to collect and how to collect it, in order to create long term growth by launching new and innovative products, enter new markets or seek new sources of growth is vital and a must for businesses to succeed.” As Ai is developing, managers are less relying on consultants, but rather analytical tools, to make decisions. But likewise, the consultants can leverage AI to better their services for their clients. | Dauda Barry, Daudex
Top 12 Overlooked Challenges in Digital Transformation That Can Prove Costly to Clients and Consultants: “In the new digital economy era, the demand for change to the traditional consulting business model is more pressing than ever. Digital transformation is providing consultants with nearly 40% of their revenue, but still, there are plenty of challenges for Clients and Consultants as well.” This article provides several levers that can be implemented to guide Consultants and Clients willing to embrace digital. | Hélène Laffitte, Consulting Quest

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
AI Summit 2020 : here are a number of reasons to account for Ireland’s growing reputation as an Artificial Intelligence Island.
 
WORLD SUMMIT AI : The world’s leading and largest AI summit gathers the global AI ecosystem of Enterprise, BigTech, Startups, Investors and Science, the brightest brains in AI as speakers.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

BNY Mellon saving hundreds of hours a year processing emails with AI: “Hans Brown, BNY Mellon’s global head of innovation, tells Finextra that the bank’s operations team has applied AI to the relatively mundane task of reading e-mails and auto-forwarding them to the relative department.” | Finextra
Deloitte Digital Wins Three Partner Innovation Awards at Dreamforce 2019: “Deloitte announced that it has received three Salesforce Partner Innovation awards in the B2C Commerce, Higher Education and Health Care and Life Sciences categories. Deloitte Digital was recognized for its work with True Alliance, Southern New Hampshire University and Amgen respectively. The awards were presented at Dreamforce 2019.” | PRNewswire
Twitter acquires London AI startup as it looks to target small businesses: “Twitter has snapped up artificial intelligence (AI) marketing platform Aiden as it looks to expand its advertising offering for small businesses.” |James Warrington, CityA.M
Bain & Company expands unpaid parental leave scheme in UK: “Global strategy consultancy Bain & Company has sought to improve the gender equality in its upper echelons by providing a parental leave package that does not “imply or even financially force the birth mother to become the primary care giver.” The new scheme will give new parents – regardless of gender – up to 52 weeks of leave with the first 26 weeks fully paid.” | Consultancy.uk

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

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

The New Way to Optimize Consulting for Maximum Impact – Key Points to Apply to Your Next Project ( Five Wrong Approach Scenarios and How to Avoid Them?)
"There is a way to do it better - find it." - Thomas Edison Consulting can create great value for ...Read More

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

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

About Consulting Quest

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

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

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 20th 2019

Future of Finance in The Digital World

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

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Big Tech and the Future of Finance.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

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

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

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

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

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

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

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

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

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

About Consulting Quest

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

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Wanting to Read People’s Minds? Discover Instead the Best Sources and Publications on the Consulting Industry

Wanting to Read People’s Minds? Discover Instead the Best Sources and Publications on the Consulting Industry

What clients want? If there was a way to read people’s minds, like in the movie “What Women Want” with Mel Gibson whose character was able to read women’s minds, now the reverse version “What Men Want” with Taraji P. Henson, we bet that Consultants will be eager to be able to do so!
But the reality is not a fictional world, and reading Clients’ minds takes some good old fashioned information and communication. And vice versa, Clients might wish to read Consultants’ minds, but there are more efficient and simple methods: information and communication, and being good at asking questions.
“We run this company on questions, not answers.” – Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google.
By asking questions, especially the right questions, we gain a better understanding of the problems, and we can develop more innovative solutions that fit better the issue at hand.
Questions are not only meant to provide answers and information on a project but even more so to inspire and motivate the parties to seek a deeper understanding.
And in Consulting, probably the most important question pertaining to every single project is:
What extra value can be created beyond the scope of the project?
Being open to new information is part of the process of getting knowledge.
We have compiled a List of the best publications in the Consulting Industry, to help Clients understand the latest trends and stay on top of main developments.

Leverage disruption to create more value through Consulting

Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success​…
Read More

Best Publications –
1.Consulting Magazine, powered by ALM, is probably the oldest publication in the industry. It provides interviews with consulting leaders on a monthly basis, various rankings, firm profiles, and thought leadership articles.
2.Consultancy.org is a online platform launched initially in the Netherlands and the UK and recently scaled to get a global reach. It gathers the latest news about the consulting industry, including market insights, M&A, and leaders’ appointments.
3. Consulting Wiki? is an online multi-author blog dedicated to Consulting. It covers a wide range of topics such as how to create value through consulting, how to buy consulting services and how to manage a consulting practice. It also includes a Q&A forum on a variety of topics.
Best Market Dynamics Resources –
Years ago, the only source of information for Consulting was the report issued by the Kennedy Research. Those days are long gone, and there are now several sources in that space. They all agree on one thing: the market is big and growing. It pretty much stops there, as they are all using proprietary methodologies and definitions.

1.ALM acquired Kennedy Research in 2014 to strengthen the Consulting arm of their professional services offering. They propose the traditional market research services for the Consulting Industry: market trends, market sizes, benchmark, competitive landscape. You have probably already heard about the ALM Vanguard, where they map depth and breadth of capabilities for Consulting Firms.
2.Source Global Research can be considered a direct competitor for ALM. Their focus is, however geared towards large Consulting Firms in need of information about their market. They offer reports organized by geography and industry, presenting the market as seen by the top consulting firms. They also propose a client perception programs and maintain a database of thought leadership.
3.Monadnock Research is a niche player specialized in rate intelligence. They also provide their subscribers with a bi-weekly newsletter featuring consulting industry news, Consulting Firms’ thought leadership content, and industry leadership appointments.
4.Feaco is the European Federation of Management Consultancies Associations. It publishes regularly free reports on the European Consulting Industry, including an interesting segmentation per country.
There are also generalist research sources such as Plunkett’s Industry Almanac, Statista, or IBIS World that can provide insights on the market.
5.The CBF Blueprint, from the Consulting Buyer Forum – a sub-group from the MCA (Management Consulting Association in the UK), aims at improving the collaboration between executives, buyers, and consultants. They have produced, through collaborative working groups under the leadership of Paul Vincent, an interesting framework to get started.
6.The Consulting Provider Guide by ALM is a web-based directory that allows detailed comparisons between the top 400 companies organized by service line, geography, and client industry. Unfortunately, this service requires a subscription.
7.Consulting Quest Directory is a listing of more than 3500 consulting firms globally organized by capability, office locations, and client industry. It is searchable, professionally managed and free.
8.Le Guide des Cabinets de Conseil en Management (The guide of Management Consulting Firms) is a unique publication for the French market that provides a detailed description of the 100 Consulting Firms in France. It was labeled the Gault-et-Millau of Consulting when it was first issued in 1993.
Besides the directories, there is another source of information for Consulting Firms: the rankings and awards. Each of them will cast a different light on the top players.
9.Statista. The rankings are based on recommendations from a vast majority of peers and a few executives. Highly publicized thanks to partnerships with major newspaper and magazines, also highly criticized for being mostly reputational and potentially biased. It appeals to the same behavior as top-of-mind awareness in marketing.
10.Vanguard (ALM). The rankings are based on the depth and the breadth of capabilities. It gives interesting insights on the positioning of top payers in a given field. However, it doesn’t give the depth of the bench on a given capability or a measure of the performance.
11.Vault. The ranking is geared towards candidates and based on peer-review. It is nonetheless an interesting perspective of the more reputable companies, with rankings per practice area, and a special section for “Boutique Consulting Firms.”
12.Forrester Wave. The rankings are based on Consulting Firms information and client feedback. They are very IT/Digital oriented. Besides, the Forrester analysts are narrowing the study to a shortlist of 8-10 companies that they will examine. As a result, you will always find the same 15 companies in the different rankings.
13.WGBM Rankings. This German company is regularly publishing rankings of the best accounting firms and the best consulting firms in Germany. Their rankings are based on client feedback and cover both large consulting firms and mid-sized consulting firms.
In conclusion, rankings by capability and industry based on clients feedback and on a global basis would be ideal. But we are not aware of such platform being developed as of today

We tried to include the best and most current resources to help you navigate the Consulting Category,
and assist you with your Procurement needs.
If you have an inquiry or a project you like to discuss with us,
please connect with us today.

Book your call

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

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 13th 2019

All you need to know about Design Thinking

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

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

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

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

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

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

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

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

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

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

Contact Us

CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

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

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

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

About Consulting Quest

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

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

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

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

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

Measure your Performance, Optimize your Consulting Spend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book your call

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This Week in Consulting:The Digital Future of Automotive

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 6th 2019

The Digital Future of Automotive

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

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

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

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

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

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

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

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

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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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Prepare your teams for when the Consultant leaves

Prepare your teams for when the Consultant leaves

You have decided to pivot to a consultant to bridge your company’s skills gaps, better optimize your profits, or boost your marketing and sales effectiveness. As an experienced executive, you completely get that you need a discrete plan—with its clear timelines and goals—and a winning RFP to attract the right partners in the first place.
What may get overlooked, however, is the critical point where the rubber will meet the road: how to follow up the work of the consultant.
After all, procuring a consultant is an investment and the return on that investment comes through the follow-up. Here are the seven most helpful tips for optimizing the return on your consulting procurement.
1. Aim beyond the project.
Envision what success will look like. No, not at the end of the project—longer-term.
Picture someone about to break a block of wood or concrete with a karate chop. If he aims for the block, he instinctually will start to draw back a bit just as he is about to make contact with the block. Now picture him focusing a foot past the block as he aims, then chops. Crack!
Aim past the project. That will help begin to mark the right follow-up path.

Use Consulting Strategically

(…) the procurement process doesn’t stop with the order. To be successful, it should be a long-term process that goes beyond the moment the contract is signed.

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2. Plan the transition from the RFP.
Remember, the RFP is all about procuring solutions, not just making a purchase. With that in mind, think long-term and include the ways to determine whether project goals were met and additional consulting support is needed once the consultant leaves.

Keep in touch. Executives and consultants should keep in touch to ensure that the consultant’s recommended systems and ideas work to resolve the original issue.

Yes, we’re talking about data collection—evidence that the new knowledge and systems work, fail, or result in zero changes that are meaningful. Build in the collecting of data points during the project for three to six months, or even a year afterward.

The data points need to measure the extent to which the solution you were aiming for does exist. You or the consultant can analyze these data as a way to determine project success, failure, or status quo, as well as the next steps to take
Include a compliance check within the RFP. Once the original project ends, the consultant should schedule a return visit to determine to what extent your team absorbed new lessons and how well new systems are being incorporated as intended.
The last deliverable could actually be the proposed way forward.

3. Decision time: figure out which recommendations to keep.
Just because you paid a consultant to address a gap and offer a solution does not mean that your company needs to jump in blindly.
The company’s senior executives can sift through the consultant’s suggestions and cherry-pick the ones that are most likely to solve the issue at hand.
Once that sifting occurs, meet with the consultant for feedback on what your team has chosen as the wheat and what’s the chaff. After all, the consultant may have experience with what result can occur (positive or negative) if recommendation A is kept but recommendation B is tossed.
4. Know the what, the how and the who before the consultant exits.
Clarity with regard to the next steps is key. Knowing what to do but not how to do it is a roadblock to success.
Before the consultant departs, take the time to make sure that everyone affected knows what to do next, and how to do it and that the appropriate resources will be allocated.

The combination of the what to do and the how to do it makes the difference between a return on the consulting investment or a loss. It’s not enough that employees just understand. The rubber won’t meet the road if they can’t also implement what they know they need to do.

Plan ahead to build in ways to manage implementation and potential failures.

Who will be accountable for implementing the plan? How will the activity be steered?
Who will be responsible for correcting implementation issues? How often and by what method will that person be accessible?

5. Plan to retain learned knowledge and skills.
Whether it’s staff turnover or vacation time, new skills can get lost in life’s shuffle. You need a plan to keep that new information at the forefront of employees’ work.

Is transferring knowledge explicitly part of the mandate?
Will you offer annual refresher courses? Online manuals? Access to the consultant via email or web forum? All of the above?

Will there be a mentoring relationship for an extended timeframe once the project ends? Mentoring often makes the difference between long-term ROI or loss on consulting investments. Just be sure to structure the arrangement with a timeline and clear data points for ending the mentorship.

6. Keep the door open to transformational ideas.
You know what often happens when you focus for a time on a project and then step away. New, perhaps even transformational ideas may pop up unexpectedly.

Depending on how your company is structured, novel ideas can float up to your senior team or through your project team. Or perhaps the consultant experiences a couple of brainstorms once the project has ended.

You will want access to these raw new ideas. Coming on the heels of intense project focus, they may contain just the right germ of an idea that, when shaped and cultivated, can provide an unforeseen breakthrough that boosts your competitive edge.

Explicitly create the potential for following up with the consultant on promising innovative ideas and approaches after the initial project ends.

7. Build in check-ins as a forcing function.
Finally, assuming that you found the consulting team helpful, build in check-ins at the frequency that matches your business tempo to take a fresh look at what was accomplished and perhaps what needs to be tweaked now to continue to optimize the original investment. These build-in check-ins as forcing function will also prevent business as usual from taking over.
Procuring the consultant and working through the project aren’t the goals. Sustainable solutions that boost your competitive edge are the goals.
Meeting those goals requires you to lead the company through a follow-up phase once the consulting team leaves to ensure the highest return on your consulting investment.

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

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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.

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.

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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.

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What Is the Right Size for Your Consulting Team?

What Is the Right Size for Your Consulting Team?

A consulting firm is a dynamic organization that is vulnerable to the fluctuations of the business cycle. New projects come and go, and the people who staff your firm tend to change over time. While you may not have current problems with recruitment, finding the appropriate level of staffing is tricky. A major economic event could shift the entire market, meaning that your company might quickly lose or gain projects that affect your staffing scheme. Whether you have too many staff on hand or not enough, firms rarely end up in the middle with the perfect number of consultants.
Due to unpredictable economic changes, it’s important to have a flexible staffing plan that accounts for factors affecting your firm’s optimal size, taking into account the structure of the business and the market demand. The appropriate level of staffing is not an issue that will go away. With too many consultants, you could lose profitability in the case of headwinds. Without enough consultants, your firm could miss important opportunities to grow and profit. In addition, having excess staff could mean that your firm accepts projects for which it isn’t qualified, which creates the risk of damaging your credibility. In a consulting firm, delivering great value and return on investment for your clients is a must have, but the key to profitability is finding the size and cost structure that works for you.
Optimizing the risk rewards equation
The driver for profitability, in all asset-intensive businesses, is optimizing the utilization of the assets. Consulting, despite being asset light from a tangible asset standpoint carries the bulk of its costs through salaries and follows the same rule as consultants on the payroll also generate the value. This means that you need to find the right trade-off to get the maximum economical performance results from the utilization of each employee, without overextending your human capital budget.
Besides sizing, finding the right equilibrium between base salary and bonus Is very often an underestimated lever. Many consultancies consider the total compensation as a fixed cost and link the bonuses to the quality of delivery without taking advantage of the flexibility it could provide.
Tying part of the bonus calculation to the economic profitability of the firm can not only mitigate partially the risk of the downturn but also drive the right behaviors from your consulting staff.
Another lever can be, to change the ratio between base salary and bonus to lower the guaranteed amount but grant higher rewards if the firm is doing well. This is a deal that many young consultants are more than willing to take as it mimics the classical partner structure the aspire to.

Sizing for the Unexpected
Just like staffing for any business, maintaining the right number of employees directly affects your profitability. Keep in mind that, once you have people on the payroll, you measure profitability by what remains after their checks clear your company bank account.
Your firm makes a financial obligation to employees, at least in the short term, by offering ongoing employment and perhaps benefits and perquisites. When you extend your budget for a certain number of staff, financial issues and downsizing might threaten your ability to keep them on the payroll. Or worse, the pressure to keep up with your payroll needs could lead you to unscrupulous or deviant behaviors to capture new business.
You cannot always predict an economic downturn. Because of this, your firm should add new employees in stages, so as not to overextend the payroll budget. It’s always easier to hire new consultants than it is to fire them, so be prudent. If you do have to begin downsizing, you run the risk of blemishing your firm’s reputation and damaging relationships with your consultants.
Investing in Non  Production activities
When reviewing you sizing assumptions it is important to anticipate that not all days will be productive.

Staff your Consultancy

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First by design as assignments usually don’t align themselves to optimize your own schedule. Second as you need to dedicate some time to other activities that are key to the sustainability of your company. Those activities will range from commercial and networking to more knowledge related tasks on research, capitalization, thought leadership and knowledge sharing. This layer in your resource planning is extremely important as it will condition your ability to bring something fresh to your clients and also your flexibility to move from one contract to another.
Preparing for good news
Once you have defined the minimum size and added some resources to handle other activities, choosing the right size for a consulting firm is still not an exact science. As it turns out, with a sizing like this you might be unable to take additional projects and therefore to grow your business.
The secret formula lies somewhere in the ideal balance between internal and external resources. This means that you have enough full-time consultants on staff to provide stability and to inspire client confidence. While at the same time, you have successful partnerships with external organizations and individuals to meet the requirements of special projects on schedule.
You want the size of the staff to meet the level of projected demand. You also want your company to build a network of value partners and qualified subcontractors. This enables your firm to augment consulting staff when the demand for all projects exceeds your internal capacity. When you accept new projects, you can temporarily take on extra consultants. Later, you can scale down to the usual team size, especially after those extra projects are completed. Unless in the frame of a deliberate strategic move, none of your projects should extend your firm too far beyond its core competencies.

Partnering With Qualified Staff
While you may rely on external consultants, you must also ensure that each of these resources possesses the right skillset for the job. Not every consultant will have the appropriate qualifications for each new project. You may need a diverse recruitment strategy to attract subcontractors who can augment your operations.
Beyond the optimization of your cost base and the proper management of your company’s risk profile, working with external partners creates new business opportunities. When you expand your professional network, you can pitch new business. Your additional partners can bring capabilities that are complementary to your core business. At first, this may seem like conflicting advice, but your firm should begin by adding partners with capabilities that closely relate to your core competencies.

While you could augment your staff through relationships with other firms around the world, it’s important to choose those located in countries or regions that offer your company the biggest competitive advantage. The intent is to win new business. This occurs, in part, by attracting the interest of the companies that are familiar with your new business partners.
Finally Answering the Question: What is the Right Size for Your Consulting Team?
Your firm will eventually adjust the number of staff, hopefully, to include more consultants. This will mean that the pessimistic scenario is improving and that you are actually growing your activities in a sustainable way. Even though financial challenges may arise, you will agree that the best time to add more human assets is when things are going well. When your company is successfully completing its current projects and attracting more projects and your worst case scenario in term of planning can cover your internal staff it may be time to consider adding at least a few consultants to your team. In essence, you are scaling up to prepare for future growth while managing risks. Looking at your teams and discussing the capabilities needed for new opportunities, as well as factoring in the use of qualified partners and subcontractors, will help you to optimize your consulting set-up.
Balancing your current resources, while leveraging partnerships, doesn’t mean you need to fundamentally change your recruitment plan but those adjustments can make all the difference on your balance sheet, reduce risk, provide higher rewards to your employees and open up new opportunities to fuel your growth

Consulting Playbook: Executing a Strategic Change from Hospitality to Service Provider

Consulting Playbook: Executing a Strategic Change from Hospitality to Service Provider

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #29
A large hospitality leader decided to initiate a strategic change from a pure hospitality business to becoming a service provider. As a result, all the global distribution teams needed to be repositioned, including all 800 direct and indirect sales people. The company decided it was best to look for the support of a consulting firm.
The Consultant’s Approach
The first task was focused assessing and optimizing the performance of the sales force and sales tools. The diagnostic addressed multiple dimensions of the sales force effectiveness: Sales force organization, sizing, territories, workload, talent, compensation, etc. The entire commercial perimeter was looked at: B2B sales in all sectors (by company, intermediary, etc.) and for all businesses, one shot sale, or multi annual contracts. The recommendation was made and the consulting firm also aided in the implementation of the strategy. The implementation of new tools was done in the first few months. They were able to save time by using standard tools and reducing costly customization. After the arrival of new tools, the organization adjusted and optimized all processes. Additional talent was brought in to handle the new scope of work.
The Success of the Project Concluded with the Following
Great reorganization deployment was achieved in less than 6 months, and all stakeholders provided support. The company achieved the deployment of the new sales process without additional investment and noticed a significant improvement in their B2B Sales Performance by 15% for all large and medium size accounts.

Additional Information

The Most Interesting New Trends in Hospitality
Smarter Hotels
Hotels managed by robots? It’s happening in Japan already! And it’s becoming more common for hotels to have self-check-in available in the lobby and even at hotel bars, while in-room Netflix, sufficient Wi-Fi, and Apple TV services are quickly becoming an industry standard. Hotels are abandoning the old and embracing the new.
Free Wi-Fi Always
Wi-Fi is as necessary as a bathroom for most traveler’s stays. Many hotels are expanding their networks to provide more reliable service, while some beachfront properties are even expanding their networks to outdoor areas and beaches.
Lax Check-Out Times
Late check-outs for no extra charge are becoming more popular, with many properties allowing guests to decide when they are going to checkout, instead of requiring them to vacate their room at a certain time. Other hotels are experimenting with 24-hour blocks; if you check in at 3PM, you have until 3PM the next day to check-out.
Hotels Get Ready for Millennials
Hotels try to appeal to millennial travelers. Millennials are looking for hi-tech, high-touch experiences when they travel. They also seek out personalized, gourmet experiences for a reasonable price. Big-brand hotel groups are tapping into the youth market by launching brands with cheaper price points and putting a strong focus on lifestyle, locality, and insider knowledge. Lobby bars and hotel restaurants in these new hotels are being opened up for a combination of work, play, and dining spaces, designed with this youthful customer in mind. Since millennials are quick to criticize via social media, customer service will be key in winning over this group of travelers.
Eco-Friendly Focus
Hotels continue to commit to sustainable practices. In New York, 16 hotels have signed a commitment to lower their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in the next decade. 1 Hotel Central Park has started educating guests on sustainability, where all of the hotel’s showers have a five-minute hourglass in order to remind guests of careful water consumption.
For Further Reading:
• Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook 2017 • The Future Of Customer Service: Five Consumer Trends And Best Practices • 6 Mega-Trends in Hotel Technology

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.

The 13 Key Steps in Demand Management Implementation

The 13 Key Steps in Demand Management Implementation

Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general. Its implementation for the consulting category is a no-brainer if you want to keep your spend under control and aligned with your strategy.But what are the key steps that can ensure successful Demand Management execution?Below we have mapped out the steps in implementing Demand Management that you can easily apply too.

“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.” -Ralph Marston

 
1. The Purpose and the Challenge–
Demand management is a supply chain management system that balances and strategically aligns demand with operating capability across the supply chain through the rapid and successful integration of the market needs in the direction of the suppliers. In short, it makes sure you are spending on the right priorities.The challenge of it often lies with its successful implementation for companies that are not well-prepared and fail to deliver the expected results.
 

Know the consulting category

Australia is unique not only for the amazing nature, and species like koalas and kangaroos, but the remarkable Consulting market growth of 6-7% for the past few years.
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2.  Have a Clear Strategy –
The driver for the demand of Consulting should be projects closely aligned with the strategic direction of the Company. Executives have to translate the strategy into the Demand Management principles and decision-making process. A clear strategy will simplify this work and facilitate the buy-in of the top Management.
3. Use Effective Decision-making Approach –
All projects cannot be viewed the same way. The Company has to define a segmentation of the potential needs in Consulting and the associated Decision-Making Process. It will include a threshold for projects to be handled directly, as well as the person including in the decision for each segment.
4. Have a Proper Budget Limits Defined –
The budget constraints are a critical element of Demand Management. You need to agree, at the highest level of the Company, on how much money you want to invest in Consulting, and what are your expectationsin termsof returns.
5. Your Degree of Centralization Choice –
The important questions to answer here are: What needs to be done?And who is best suited for the role overseeingthe process? Management requires some degree of centralization of the consulting budgets or at least the decision to proceed.To ensure good synergy between Consulting Investments and Strategy, many companies have given the accountability to manage the demand fortheir strategy or transformation teams.This role can be located at the Corporate or BU level. Or both depending on thresholds and company culture.

6. Get Top Management’s Support –
The Implementation of Demand Management is very likely to change the ways of buying Consulting Services. Most executives will be reluctant to lose flexibility from“before.”Beyond the project, the Top Management has to openly support and push for the DMS to ensure that the principles and processes will be respected across the board.
7. Create Alignment for a Successful Demand Management Launch–
You need to focus on creating alignment. It’s properly done when you formalize the target process. Methodologies and prioritization criteria have to be clear and fair, to allow proper consolidation and treatment.Once the key stakeholders are aligned, you can communicate with your teams.
Ideally,you can try some dry runs on historical data or with your largest units and fine-tune the methodologies. Then consolidate projects assessments and resources requirements, and set a deadline for demand management to start.
8. Prioritize Projects and Launch Immediately –
As with many other things, it’s a smart approach to prioritize your projects and start with the most important ones immediately. Other attractive, or “nice to do” projects, are placed in a pool and prioritized based on budgetfeasibility. Small projects (under the threshold) are left to the discretion of the management (resource permitting).
Any demand above a certain threshold has to be addressed by either the strategic or the indirect procurement team.
9. Simplify Based on Results –
Strict governance is mandatory on all projects with the possibility to kill projects,not yielding satisfactory results. Therefore, it’s mandatory to analyze the results. At the end of each project, you should lead a post-mortem analysis to assess the performance of the Consulting Firm.
You will also check if the priority criteria were justified enabling a virtuous cycle. Depending on the results, the strategic team will adjust the decision-making process, the panel of Consulting Firms and the procurement team will adapt the panel of Consulting Firms available for further work.
10. Review the Projects’ Sequenc-
Positioning your projects sharply over the course of the year is a key element that is oftenunderestimated. Make sure you have a goodbalance between transformational projects and projects,generating short-term results that can help you to do more with less. In other words, some cost savings projects can unlock enough resources to kick-start a digital transformation.
11. Adjust Costs into 1 or 2 Fiscal Years –
It is sometimes tricky for Companies to finance major Consulting Projects over the course of a fiscal year. If the costs are in year 1and the results in year 2, the bottom line is impacted. A better way to do that is by spreading the costs. For example -to circumvent this unfortunate situation is to start projects after the summer break. With a 60 days payment term, if you accrue for costs,you will spread them over two years,and if you don’t, there is a good chance you will start paying in January,and the cost vs benefits will end up positive. Even if you don’t get the impact on the earnings, you will get the cash.
12. Apply Successful Practices –
The key element is to find the balanced mesh between the core principles of Demand Management, the specificities of the Consulting Category,and the Company Culture. If the system is too rigid, Executives will work around it. If it is too flexible, the Company will not get the full benefits of the system.
13. Have Effective Communication with Suppliers –
Last but not least, you have to communicatewith your suppliers. Explain why and how you will implement Demand Management and how it will impact them. They need to understand the new rules to play alongwiththem.Demand management is a well-known tool for procurement teams. But the implementation for intangible categories such as consulting is not always easy. But implementing these above simple steps will get you closer to a best-in-class consulting sourcing capability.
 

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Consulting Playbook: Hospitality Leader Successfully Splits into Two Separate Organizations

Consulting Playbook: Hospitality Leader Successfully Splits into Two Separate Organizations

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #8
The Travel and Hospitality Industry have gone through exciting changes that have transformed the entire traveler’s experience not just the industry itself. For hotels, hospitality services, and travel agents to stay in touch with evolving consumer trends, new and effective strategies need to be designed and implemented to secure revenues. Operations, services, customer relationship and marketing plans should align with the latest dynamics shaping up the industry.
Let’s have a look at a particular situation – A Worldwide Leader Hotel Group had to be divided into two separate companies both listed on the stock exchange. Creation of the new hospitality company posed the need to launch a large scale transition program involving dozens of countries in support of new standalone strategy.
The Executive Committee decided to hire a consultant to support and help accelerate the transformation process.
The Approach the Consultant took consisted of the following steps:

In-depth diagnostic of the management and culture, governance, and strategic landscape analysis were successfully completed.
Assistance to the Executive Committee in the design of strategic direction and transition program. Including actions to engage key stakeholders:

Brainstorming and Strategy Sessions organized with the CEO, the Executive Committee and a number of employees to define the strategic direction and the structure of the company wide program (level of ambition, growth levers, and transition programs)
Get the top managers from all countries involved in the implementation of the program

Engage the Board in the strategy and planning process tools and methods designed to support the launch of the strategic framework in all 40 countries (pilot case + specific support to large countries) Design and implementation of new governance and organization’s values and principles.
Strengthening the cooperation of the executive team to create an effective working environment. The overall corporate governance was reviewed and corporate functions reinstalled in a value adding role, with clear and shared priorities identified
Definition and support of four large scale transversal change programs on Innovation, Product Development, Technology and Talent
Roadshow event organized for all the 10,000 employees of the group to celebrate the launch of the new company and share the direction

The Impact on the Organizations achieved the following:

Successful onboarding of the new CEO and executive teams, helping them achieve a year’s progress in about three months
Four large transversal change programs defined and implemented
Successful completion marked by 20% EBIT rise and stock price hike by 40% – just one year after the 1st listing on Paris Stock Exchange.

Additional Information

Mobile and Technology Trends Affecting the Industry
Below we have outlined 3 new and notable marketing trends that every hotel and hospitality industry management needs to pay attention to:
1. Personalized Marketing Approach with a Guest Mailing List
With the growing share of online traveling and booking services and the leading providers such as Expedia, Booking, etc.; there is an underlying discrepancy with hotel chains and their access to guest’s personal contact information. If the booking agent desires to not share the guest’s email address, the hotel is at a disadvantage. Data is as important to hotels, as it is to all other businesses, when it comes to planning future marketing activities. Guest’s contact information is an essential and valuable piece in that puzzle. In creating that precious mailing list with previous guests, often the best option hotels are left with is their front desk staff being able to capture this information.
2. Mobile Marketing Impacting the Hospitality Services
Did you know that 52% of travelers who book trips online in 2016, are doing so using a mobile device? The mobile enabled technology and new consumer trends require a comprehensive mobile marketing strategy, and to become an integrated part of the overall marketing plans of every hotel and hotel management organization. This means that focus on responsive design, one-click booking, and location technology are very necessary points. Guests often use a cross-platform approach, so hotels need offer a seamless multiplatform experience before, during and after their stay.
With the growing competition from private accommodations, vacation rentals and alternative accommodations, the need for personalized guest offers and experience is even more pressing now, as hotels and hotels chains need to work harder to capture and retain market share. Creating last-minute mobile promotions with attractive bonuses can appeal to local residents as well, and younger guests who travel more spontaneously.
3. Increasing Revenues with the Help of New Data Trends
A few new trends in traveling and vacationing are rich in opportunity to be explored. They include last-minute trips which are growing steadily, the short local getaway and mini-vacations adding to that, and business trips combined with fun and pleasure, or Bleisure, as they are referred to. We will also see more multi-generational and multi-family travelling. But the best part is that, most of the new data on traveling is well captured via CRM that integrates data from both online and offline sources. This data, used properly, can empower an organization into planning and delivering the best experience and the most value, revenue and profits.
For Further Reading:
– Hospitality Industry Trends to Watch in 2016
– Predicting the Rise of the Smart Hotel in 2016
– What Do Millennials Want? Hotels Have Some Ideas
– The Best Travel Apps For 2016

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.

3 Essentials When You Present Your Proposal to the Client

Sweat trickled down Bernie’s neck.
He sat in the lobby with his briefcase balanced on his knees, panicking.
His meeting with the client was scheduled for 3pm. It was now 3.09 and no sign of the client. None of this waiting around was doing his nerves any good. The longer he waited, the more time he had to forget his practiced lines and get his thoughts jumbled.
Bernie was a top-notch consultant. His clients loved him. Whether it was improving processes, cutting costs, or finding efficiencies in already super-streamlined processes; Bernie worked magic on his clients’ businesses.
His firm held him out to their other employees as the bright light; the example that everyone else should follow. They proudly shared feedback they had received from customers about the projects Bernie had worked on. Not a year had passed where Bernie hadn’t been the recipient of a huge bonus.
People who had worked with Bernie knew he was good, but they also knew about his weakness.
Bernie was deathly scared of public speaking. When it came time to do presentations, Bernie went from hero to zero. And this was a big problem… Because, for Bernie to work his consulting magic, he first had to present the client with a proposal and convince them that he had some magic tricks to share.
That’s where Bernie found himself right now. Sweating up a storm in the lead up to a presentation to convince a client he was the confident, self-assured guy for the job. The thought of “being confident” brought the sweat in gushes.
At 3.14 the receptionist called his name. “Apologies for the wait, Mr. Jones. Mr. Grisham will see you now in room 3.”
Bernie’s heart rate shifted from “fast” to “gallop”. He picked up his things, dropped his briefcase, picked it up again, and then made his way to meeting room 3.
*
Unless he’s very lucky, Bernie’s presentation is going to be a tough one. Have you ever found yourself in Bernie’s position? Feeling as though if you could just get past the presentation part, everything else would be a breeze?
Next time you have a proposal presentation coming up, focus less on your anxiety about public speaking and your fear around making mistakes. Focus instead on the people you are speaking to and how you can help them. This will not only improve your presentation, it will also reduce your nerves.
If you want to get your next proposal accepted by the client, here are 3 essentials for your presentation:
1. Empathize with your listeners
When you have a presentation to do it can be tempting to just want to “get it done”. You rush through it as fast as possible because you know you’re going to feel more comfortable when you get to the end.
There’s a big problem with this approach. You’re focused on yourself, not your audience.
When you focus on yourself in a presentation– how you feel, who’s judging you, how embarrassing this is –the message of who you care about is transmitted loud and clear to your audience.
When the audience understands you don’t care about them, and that you’re just trying to “get it done”, they disengage from you and your message.
To keep the audience with you, to influence and persuade them, you need to empathize with them.
That means focus on them. Forget about how you feel and focus on how they feel.
In the lead up to, and during, your presentation, think about the audience. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. When you do this your presentation will be better received.
2. Clearly outline the benefits of your proposal
If you don’t tell the client what’s in it for them you give them no reason to listen to you.
You start out with their undivided attention, so don’t squander it by not showing them explicitly how their lives will be better.
Talk about the benefits of your proposal rather than the features.
Let’s look at a TV remote as an example.
Imagine you’re selling TV remotes, back when they were first introduced.
Selling on features sounds like, “This button changes the channel. This button switches the TV on and off. The infra-red beam has a range of 10 feet.”
Selling on benefits sounds like, “Now when you want to change channels you can do it while you sit in your comfortable sofa, enjoying your beer.“
Benefits beat features because you’re building an image in your customer’s mind about how their life is going to improve.
3. Contrast before and after
Another way to paint a clear picture for your client is to contrast before and after.
Outline for your client the problems that they are currently experiencing and then show them what they can expect once they have accepted your proposal.
In summary, when you empathize with your client, you show them how they can benefit from your proposal, and you contrast before and after you set the stage for a winning bid.

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