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Why Focus on the Roles Within Your Team Can Ensure the Project’s Success?

Why Focus on the Roles Within Your Team Can Ensure the Project’s Success?

“No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” – Althea Gibson

A project usually starts with defining your Project Needs. The definition of the needs also called Requirements, is the first, and one of the most valuable steps in the process of procuring goods and services. However, the procurement requirements for goods are mainly focused on the specifications of the products. For Consulting, the background of the company, the context of the project, the scope, and the deliverables are equally important.

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ompanies that have implemented a Category Management System were able to make breakthrough savings (10-30%) …
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1. Defining the Project Needs –

The whole point is to make sure the consultants have all the elements to submit a relevant proposal. Writing well-defined requirements is the cornerstone of a successful consulting project.
Unfortunately, too many companies are leaving the definition of the work in the hands of their consultants. If you have troubles sleeping, will you go directly to the store to shop for a new bed? Of course not. You would end up with the largest bed in the store with all the gadgets, but your sleeping problem might still be there, unresolved. You need first to review all the other options.
It’s somehow the same when you start defining your needs with a consultant. They will tend to paint your problem with their capabilities and experiences or to make it fit the resources they have available.
2. Clearly identify your problem –

Working internally to define your problem, and identify what could be the best option is key to invite the right consultants to the discussion. It doesn’t mean that your requirements are final. You are just optimizing the chances that the project you are launching will fix the issues you are facing.
When procuring Consulting Services, the requirements are always dependent on the internal and external context of the company. Besides, the definition of what you expect and why is a key success factor for the project. It is always a good idea to formalize your requirements into an RFP, even though you don’t necessarily want or need to organize a tender.

3. Delegating the roles within the team –

Even before you start brainstorming ideas, and envision your ideal outcome, you need to make sure that the right people are in the room. And to build the right team.
Depending on the magnitude of the project, you can adapt the size of your team to it. However, here are a few roles that need to be included:

Number 1 – The Project Sponsor

The Project Sponsor is the person (often a manager or an executive) that will be accountable for the project. S/he will make sure that the project delivers the expected outcomes, and will champion the project to “sell” it within the project team and the organization. S/He will also be the chair of the Steering Committee.
The Project Sponsor has the right authority and decision-making power to lead the project effectively. S/he is also directly impacted by the project outcomes.
Usually, the project sponsor owns the budget. However, in some companies, consulting budgets are centralized under the CEO, Finance, or Strategy. In this case, you might want to invite the budget owner to the party as well

Number 2 – The Project Manager

The Project Manager is the person that has the daily accountability of the project. S/he will guide the consultants and make sure they work under the right conditions with the teams and deliver the expected results in time.
S/he is very often part of the Project Sponsor Team and is impacted directly by the project

Number 3 – The Procurement Leader

Unless you are working on a very small project and you have already a list of potential provides handy, you want to have someone from Procurement in the room. Sourcing the right candidates can take some time, and it is sometimes useful to start early in the process.
Besides, procurement managers are experts in defining needs and preparing bids, while it is rarely the case for the rest of the organization. They can facilitate your work and guide you through the process.
Many companies, however, don’t have the critical mass to have someone dedicated to consulting procurement. In that case, you can include in your team the person in charge of indirect procurement or the Head of Purchasing.

Number 4 – The Main Stakeholders

We mentioned that the project sponsor and the project manager are often part of the same team. However, their department might not be the only one impacted by the project. Ask yourself if you should expect a strong impact on or a profound change in interfaces with another part of the organization. If that’s the case, it can be a good idea to involve them at the requirements stage.
If your project is very large, like a Company-wide Transformation project, you might also want to involve Finance and Strategy, to make sure that it is aligned with the overall strategy.
When you have the right team at work, you can start brainstorming.
 
 
 

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4 Key Areas of Category Management

4 Key Areas of Category Management

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

Category Management should always have two main objectives.

Generating savings, but more importantly,
Maximizing value creation

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

Measure your Performance

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

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

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13 Questions About Internal Consulting Answered. And Why Organizations Should Take Note

13 Questions About Internal Consulting Answered. And Why Organizations Should Take Note

“You can’t sell it outside if you can’t sell it inside.” ― Stan Slap
1. Focus only on the biggest value projects.
Over the past 20 years, the growth of in-house consulting groups has been one of the most notable elements of change in the fast-moving Consulting Industry. It is hard to evaluate the extent of internal Consulting. But large companies such as Bayer, American Express, Google, Airbus, Samsung, Dell, SNCF, BASF, Deutsche Post, etc. have built internal consulting structures that can go from small ad hoc teams to fully-developed groups of 100 consultants and more.

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2. Who do Internal Consultants usually work with?
Even though internal consultants are permanent employees of an organization and typically only consult for one single ‘client,’ they often provide equivalent services, and in many cases are former external consultants. One could argue that Internal Consulting is the ultimate form of specialization of the Consulting Industry. However, in doing so, companies are partially losing the best practice dimension and independence..
3. Do Internal Consultants have the same expertise as External Consultants?

There used to be an experience and impact gap between internal and external consultants. However, as the value chain is evolving, internal consultants have now access to better talent and methodologies. On some mainstream projects such as commercial excellence or lean, the impact from internal consultants is now equivalent to the one brought by external consultants.
4. How is internal Consulting affecting costs?
Costs are often given as the first reason for creating an internal consulting team, according to CEOs. When most companies were growing and consolidating, the prices of consulting firms have been steadily increasing. Internal Consulting is a great option in lowering this cost.
Large companies have professionalized their Procurement, and they now realize how much they spend on Consulting. Cost-Conscious CEOs want to decrease their Consulting Costs and stop hiring only the large strategy players such as McKinsey, Bain, or Boston Consulting Group.
 
 

5. How are Internal Consultants paid?
Employees in internal consulting groups are most of the time compensated on the same grids than internal employees. Their full cost is, therefore, two to three times lower than external consultants. This indeed it does not include the cost of the partners or the cost of the beautiful office in central Manhattan.
6. What would be the deciding factor in favor of Internal Consultants?
If internal consulting teams can provide performance close to the external ones, the trade-off will almost always lean in favor of the internal team.
7. Is working in an Internal Consulting Group a rewarding career path?
Internal consulting groups can also be used as a career accelerator, inspired by the black belt concept developed by GE. High-potential individuals get trained in consulting problem-solving and managerial concepts. They also acquire the structure and discipline of consultants.
They also get exposed to the top management and highly strategic projects, giving them a broader perspective on the company. After a few years in the Consulting Group, they take a senior position in the organization. Talent is, in this case, kept in-house and developed.
Alternatively, a few years in an internal consulting role can be a smooth entry point within a large organization. The newly hired employees can work on a broad range of projects, and in return, share their experience acquired in prestigious firms with other internal consultants. At the same time, they gain precious knowledge of the company and build a professional network.
8. How are sensitive and confidential projects handled?
Internal Consulting is the preferred choice here rather than hiring an External team. There are projects where the management does not want any outsider view. It might be because it involves a highly strategic decision or very touchy Intellectual Capital. The more people at the party, the higher the risk of breach of confidentiality.
9. How is Clients’ information protected with Internal Consultants?
Most consulting firms will argue that they have established “Chinese walls” and that all information stays private. However, it is at times difficult to disconnect from the information you have and refrain from using it in the next project. But working with Internal consultants decreases the risk of using the information collected as a benchmark or reference from another client, with the next one.
10. Is the Executives’ perspective on working with Consultants changing?
Not long ago, working with consultants was seen as a necessary evil, and we all know the joke about the consultant and the watch. However, Executives have seen the benefits over the years in working with External experts. Their image has shifted to a more neutral position, from judgment to support. As you can imagine, the growing population of ex-consultants in the Executive ranks helps as well.
Companies have understood the interest of dedicated teams working on projects independently from the rest of the organization. They have indeed identified a potential lever for improvement in creating teams with the same focus and ways of working as external consultants.
11. What are the main reasons to start an Internal Consulting team?
Consulting to its core characteristics is about internal teams, experts in their domains, working on project mode to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the company.
You will then realize that many functions in the organization fall under this umbrella. What about the excellence functions newly created to work on commercial or purchasing excellence? Or the customer experience task force? The internal audit team working on processes? The business process management group?
12. How can an organization kickstart an Internal Consulting team?
Setting up improvement teams is not a new concept. But it is worth exploring the evolutions. You can organize them as a single group or community to professionalize the ways of workings. Or manage the demand and optimize the resources by creating fluidity across the teams. Afterward, you can decide to refer to it as Internal Consulting or to keep it stealth.
Organization structures are now optimized to get synergies and make the most of the existing talents. If you put together the needs of all the business lines and support lines, most companies will be able to get a critical mass of similar projects that could justify building a dedicated team.
13. What are the first steps in setting up an Internal Consulting team?
You can start by setting your objectives and the size of the team. Having clear objectives can help the team and position their efforts on the path to success. Another big point is funding. There are various funding models, the most sustainable one is to charge each internal Client the full cost of the project. However, for kick starting your practice and demonstrate the impact you could use corporate funds.

Planning to work with your Internal Consulting Group?
We can offer you an objective, fresh advice, and any assistance you might need.
Please get in touch today, to learn how Consulting Quest could help the success of this project.
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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?)

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 companies who can use it strategically and are able to leverage the advantages it offers. But there are smart ways to do it, and some not so smart.
So how is your company spending on Consulting? And what projects are best to focus on? You probably have seen an internal project not delivering fast and strong enough because the team players were too busy in their daily operations. And were petrified at the idea of jeopardizing their careers.
Consulting can be a powerful lever for Companies to accelerate value creation and avoid some pitfalls. It addresses two main challenges: focus and independence. Projects supported by the right consultant can achieve higher value than the same projects done internally.
But Clients do not always optimize the way they use Consulting. Based on years of experience in helping companies like yours, we have seen the most common issues play over and over again.

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The Three Major Aspects in Optimizing your Consulting Spend for Maximum Impact –
1. Focus only on the biggest value projects.
The first step in optimizing your use of Consulting is to make sure you are spending your money on the right projects.
What this means is aiming for alignment of projects with your strategy, and decide which projects are best to spend money on. Your strategy reflects your vision, and your Consulting projects should be fully synchronized with it.
There is no one-fits-all strategy that will magically produce a competitive edge for your Company. But most executives would recognize that, besides an ambitious strategy, success cannot happen without the alignment of all the elements of the business, including the spend and the organization, to the overall strategy.
2. Are your projects strategic?
There are two Main Categories of Consulting projects, and it’s important to distinguish them.
Among the consulting projects done during the last 12 months, how many were supporting your strategy? Or at least considered strategic at the time they were launched?
 

The two types of strategic projects:

Core Strategy Projects – These are projects that support a core strategic workstream, and directly advance the long-term vision of the company. Projects enabling strategic projects fall in this category as well. For instance, your company has decided to implement a customer-centric organization. The consulting project supporting the transformation will be considered a core strategy project.
Strategic Adaptation Projects – These are projects that are needed to adapt an issue or a new regulation. For instance, when the French government decided to regulate Gas Distribution in 2000, all gas operators in France had two years to get compliant with the new regulation. The project supporting the adaptation of internal rules and organizations was a strategic adaptation project.

It’s really easy to view and sort your projects in these two categories. You can have a limited number of non-strategic projects, in particular, small projects under the demand management threshold.
3. Five Wrong Approach Scenarios and How to Avoid Them?
– Underutilizing Consulting:This situation is quite frequent in traditional industries, such as chemicals or manufacturing and applies to small to mid-sized Companies. Executives tend to think that consulting is expensive, or that Consultants do not really create value. Using Consulting is seen as a sign of weakness and a waste of money.
– Overutilizing Consulting: In some Companies, Executives cannot move a finger without the help of a consultant. A Large European bank noticed during a budget exercise supported by a large Consulting firm that all the different functions of the group had prepared the meeting with their “private” consultant. Another Change management consultant realized that all participants in the team-building workshop he was facilitating for his manufacturing client, were, in fact, coming from various consulting firms.
– When Consultants are utilized on the wrong projects: This mistake is the most common one. Companies don’t always anticipate and prioritize their needs for Consulting and draw their consultant anytime they are stuck or need to accelerate. The first one to use the budget gets the resources. But was implementing a brand new ERP on a division that is about to be divested, a smart move?
– Getting lost between internal and external resources: This is a tricky situation. These companies have identified the priorities of their projects, but they underestimated the challenges of handling them internally or the benefits of third-party intervention.
– Applying the wrong compensation models: There are many ways to compensate consultants, and each one of them has a range of applications when it benefits both sides. Few companies have mastered this subject and apply optimized compensation models. Should you compensate for time or impact? How to handle a project that is late by one year? You need to be very clear on these questions.

Ready to launch your next project?
Need a fresh take or new expertise?
We will be happy to help.
Please give us a call today, at no obligation, to get the conversation started.
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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

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

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

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But here are the shocking facts :

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

 

There are a few reasons that prevent collaboration:

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

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

Why not measure the achievement of these objectives

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

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

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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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This Week in Consulting:Technology is not the only driver for Change in Procurement.

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, October 23rd  2019

Technology is not the only driver for Change in Procurement.Talent is one too.

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“The expectation of procurement is changing. Procurement leadership is challenged to develop strategies that map more closely to business priorities, delivering results to maintain high levels of executive support.”
Talent shortage and talent management have been on the agenda of procurement leadership teams for many years. Tom Graham  investigates why this gap continues to exist.
This Week’s Must Read is an insight piece from Spend Matters where guest  Tom Graham, from  Berwick Partners, explains how the needs for talent in procurement is changing, but the approach to recruitment is still the  same.
Read on to Find out More: “The Future Talent Shortage Within The Procurement Industry “ | Spend Matters,Tom Graham, from  Berwick Partners.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

How can procurement work with HR to attract, retain and develop the best possible talent?​

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Meeting in the Middle: Procurement and HR for Total Talent Management: “Organizations are seeing the benefits of hiring in an on-demand capacity as short-term and contractual positions offer greater flexibility and speed the time to fill specific project needs. These alternative roles are becoming even more important as options for candidates are increasingly limited – in the near zero unemployment U.S. labor market, organizations are battling for the same resources and need to find ways to expand the talent pool.”The article present how HR and procurement can collaborate to efficiently source the right talents. | Workforce Logic
In the digital transformation of procurement, humans remain front and centre: “As the economy has shifted – particularly in the UK – away from manufacturing and into the services sector, with business functions increasingly outsourced, Powell has noticed a shift in the scale of buying and the emphasis on supplier relationship management in order to maintain value for an organisation, as well as bringing innovation and competitive advantage, has grown.” In the article, Richard Powell goes over the changes occurrent in procurement over the last 25 years, and gives his perspective on the impact of digital transformation. | Olivia Minnock, Supply Chain Digital
How Can Procurement Create a Competitive Advantage in Talent Acquisition: “83% of respondents in a recent survey made by the US Society for Human Resource Management have had trouble recruiting the right candidates over the last 12 months. 75% of them believe it is due to a skills shortage among applicants. More and more companies report facing this talent shortage. One might ask: “how can there be a talent shortage and simultaneously somewhat concerning unemployment levels in some countries?”Can we apply a sound make or buy strategy to talent acquisition? What would be the impact of involving procurement in talent recruitment? This piece from Arnaud Malarde goes over the benefits of looking at talent acquisition from a procurement perspective. | Arnaud Malarde, HR Tecnologist
The Next-Generation Procurement Talent Profile: “Research by The Hackett Group indicates dramatic changes in the nature of work are imminent as a result of rapid maturing and adoption of so called “smart automation” technologies. Tens of millions of enterprise roles, including millions in business service functions, will be affected, as rules-based, routine work and basic cognitive tasks are automated, and knowledge work is transformed through augmented intelligence.”Procurement is changing indeed, and the impact on the talent needed is inevitable. What will the next generation procurement professional look like? This article presents The Hackett Group’s research on the impact of digital transformation on procurement roles and needed skills. | Angela Caswell-LaPierre, Erik Dorr and Tony DiRomualdo, The Hackett Group

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
Data, Intelligence & Technology Forum : The 4th annual DIT Forum will guide you through the next stage in your digital journey, exploring how to elevate your digital strategy and scale solutions across the organisation and further.
 
The Asia Pacific Procurement Congress 2019 : focus on how you can overcome these challenges and more, ensuring your function’s strategy delivers maximum value to your wider business.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

Developing skills in the management consulting industry: “Calvert Markham, Director at the Centre for Management Consulting Excellence, has published the most recent editions of two consulting books first released thirty years ago. Markham reflects on how the skills of management consultants have evolved on the back of the industry’s changing face.” | Consultancy.uk
Cognizant Set to Buy Technology Consulting Firm Contino: “The DevOps approach to cloud migration, core modernization and cloud security is reshaping how enterprises in all industries are building their infrastructures. This new set of holistic cloud capabilities from Contino will enable us to offer and more readily deploy transformative cloud-based solutions.”  | The Economic Times
BCG Acquires Design Consultancy AllofUs to Expand Design Capabilities: “Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the world’s leading management consulting firms, announced today that it has acquired AllofUs, a leading design consultancy based in London. The acquisition will broaden and deepen BCG’s overall digital offerings and strengthen its design capabilities in particular.” |Boston Consulting Group
Aon, CIL, Deloitte and GK Strategy win private equity award: “Unquote, a platform for Europe’s private equity landscape, has unveiled the winners of its British Private Equity Awards.” | 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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