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7 Effective Steps to successfully launch your Consulting Project

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

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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.

Know the Consulting industry

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.
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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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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.

Manage the consulting category

Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general…
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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.
 

Know the consulting category

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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.
 

You need help implementing demand management?
And you just want to share your experience or your success with us?
Don’t hesitate to reach out: we love to hear from you.

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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.

Know the Consulting industry

How to add extra value to my project? How can a Consultant help me expand the possibilities beyond solving the main issues?
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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?
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Please give us a call today, at no obligation, to get the conversation started.

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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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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

The Consulting Market of Oceania is Embracing the Digital Wave- Top 8 Features
"Australia is just so full of surprises." - Bill Bryson Australia is unique not only for the amazing nature, and ...Read More

What to look at when reviewing consulting proposals? Your Top 17 Questions Answered.
"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is ...Read More

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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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What to look at when reviewing consulting proposals? Your Top 17 Questions Answered.

What to look at when reviewing consulting proposals? Your Top 17 Questions Answered.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst you can do is nothing. ” – Theodore Roosevelt

Consulting projects are all about initiative and being proactive. Starting with your winning RFP process that has attracted a score of proposals, the assessment phase now begins. Keep in mind that the real goal is solving a problem for your company, not simply buying a service.
Let’s talk about the quality of a proposal and touch on some important and relevant points.
1. How the most promising proposals differ from the rest? 
So you have received a sufficient number of proposals. On an extensive project, your short-list might still be significant. So if you want to spend enough time on each proposal, funnel down to potential winners, and set aside the rest. Think of the process as a funnel into which you pour all the proposals.
At the narrow end, you will have the most promising proposals. At the very least, these meet every one of your RFP’s criteria. The proposals are convincing, and you have a clear picture of how the project would unfold. The number of proposals is adequate, considering the strategic importance and the budget of the project.
A bit higher up the funnel are the proposals that are slightly off-track but still workable. Maybe they have a good rationale but have missed an inconsequential step. You want to avoid eliminating a potential gem too early in the process.
At the very top of the funnel are the proposals that are off-topic or too generic. Resist the impulse to dismiss all the other proposals, not yet. And keep in mind the process is not over until you have signed a contract with your preferred consulting provider. Don’t rush into rejecting the second-runner. You’d be surprised to learn how many first-runners are disqualified during the negotiation process.
Don’t overlook a proposal from an upstart consulting provider with a great idea but less than desirable proposal-writing/presenting skills. There might be a way to implement that idea, in part or fully, into your business solution.
Be careful not to burn bridges when you send your response to potential consulting suppliers with rejected proposals, regardless of how you view their current bid. Here’s why: in an environment of rapid change, these consultants may evolve into great partners or future suppliers.

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2. How a team of proposal evaluators improves your chance for success? 
You have now the proposals in hand that, at first glance, meet your eligibility requirements and your other basic criteria. It’s time to get serious and pick your evaluation team.
Who might be a part of your team of reviewers? Procurement professionals naturally, and the person in charge of the consulting budget, if any. You should also include the main stakeholders, such as the project sponsor and representants of the functions directly impacted. Perhaps a senior executive or two, who has experience with consulting. Ideally, the team of reviewers should be the team that worked on the RFP.
Seeking input from a range of stakeholders helps to ensure that the evaluation process is perceived as fair and is more likely to result in selecting the best proposal for your project.
If your team lacks deep experience in the area of procurement processes, consider including a qualified and experienced consultant on the team to help you build a process designed to procure the best solution for your company.

3. How a team of proposal evaluators improves your chance for success? 
It is essential to make sure that all your evaluators agree on a few basic principles:

The winning proposal must answer your project’s objectives.
The chosen approach will reinforce and support the overall purpose of the project.
The consultants must have the right competencies.
The selected consulting suppliers must be a good fit for your corporate culture.

Agree on the type of approach that would be best considering the context of the project and your culture. Maybe you are looking for an innovative, original, breakthrough, or transformational approach that your company can leverage to accelerate your strategy. Alternatively, you may want a proven and reliable approach.
Ask the team to review the proposed solutions along the lines of problem resolution, clarity, internal consistency, and ease of implementation, as well as outside-the-box approaches.
4. What are the necessary and critical requirements for the Consulting firm?
There are some prerequisites to work with your company. And making a preliminary check can disqualify a consulting provider right away and save you some time.

Consulting firm eligibility

Many companies have a strict registration process that includes lengthy verifications. Make sure that your consulting firm is already registered, or your project eligible for an exceptional procedure.

Proposal compliance

It might sound bureaucratic, but it will give you a sense of the commitment of the consultants and their ability to serve your needs. A consultant that remits a proposal late, incomplete, or not compliant to the format has either not understood your needs or doesn’t want to adapt to your ways. In both cases, you have a problem.

Ethics and values alignment

Working with the wrong consulting firm can hurt your reputation internally and externally. Make sure that your supplier’s values are aligned with yours.

Potential conflicts of interest check

Some internal consulting groups are providing consulting to external clients. Working with the main competitors from their parent company would clearly be a conflict of interest.

Employees work authorization

With the globalization of the consulting projects, more and more clients are looking for providers outside their regular market. It is not unusual for a European company to win a project with a U.S. company, and vice versa. When you are working with a company that will fly their consultants to your premises, make sure they are authorized to work in the country and your industry.
5. How the Consultant sees and understands the objectives?
Obviously, you are bringing the consulting provider to help you achieve a certain goal. You want them to understand well your objectives and help you identify and implement a solution.
6. Has the consultant properly researched your company’s context?
A bid with limited details about your needs usually screams a narrow understanding of your business, a rushed or a generic proposal, or all of the above. Be uncompromising on that point.
7. Did the consultant reformulate your needs and put them in context?
You want to make sure that the consultant answers your questions and adds some value, rather than just copy-pasting your RFP.
8. Is the proposal introducing elements that don’t seem related?
Several reasons can explain this phenomenon. The first option, you are facing a “cookie-cutter” syndrome. The Consultant is copy-pasting a previous proposal for your project. The second option, they have seen an objective that you had missed in your RFP. In both cases, you want to challenge the consultant to make sure the deliverables are right for your company. You need to buy what you need and only what you need.
9. Do the deliverables completely satisfy you?
Once you have made sure that the consultants have understood what you were trying to do, you want to check if the deliverables they have included in the proposal will indeed answer your questions.
Clearly listed main deliverables
It is essential to ensure the Consultants have answered all the key points of the scope, and that you can compare the core of the proposals.
Back to your RFP, identify all the expected deliverables, and check one by one if they are included in the proposal. Get a sense of what is outside the scope in the bid. Sometimes the consultants take the initiative to reorganize the deliverables and regroup them. Make sure all your initial deliverables are still there.
Additional deliverables relevant to your needs
In some cases, the consultants add deliverables that were not listed in the RFP. Have a close look at how they relate to your main objectives. It can be an interesting addition or just a way for the consultant to increase the scope (and the price). If the deliverable is relevant, ask yourself if it is a must-have or a nice-to-have.
10. Do you trust their approach?
Does the proposed approach support your objectives?
Evaluate the approach proposed by the Consulting provider. Is it what you had in mind? Does it make sense? Is it adapted to your needs? What are the potential limitations of the approach that the consultant is suggesting? Will this approach support a proper buy-in?
11. Is the timeline proposed aligned with your expectations?
Does the timeline match your internal objectives? If not, is it a major issue? Have the consultants explained why they changed the timeline?
12. Is the phasing consistent with the one in your RFP?
Consultants love to cut a project into multiple phases. When you compare the different proposals, make sure that each phase contains the same work and the same deliverables. It is not uncommon to see a Consulting firm descope or underprice the first phase to win the project and generate more substantial costs in further phases.
For very large projects, we recommend to include phasing and commit only to the first phase in the first RFP. The further phases will be handled through another RFP. It will force the winner of the first project to do a good job, and remit competitive pricing at each phase of the project.
13. Is the governance of the project well defined?
Sometimes the difference in price for two proposals comes from the difference of responsibilities (and thus workload) of the consultants vs. your teams. How will the governance of the project be organized? How is the project managed at the steering level? At the working level? What support from your teams is expected at each stage of the project?
14. Is the project resourced properly?
Considering the workload associated with the project, does the staffing seem sufficient? And on the opposite, does the team seem oversized?
15. Will you have enough bandwidth to contribute?
Successful execution is based on cooperation and a balanced workload. Will you and your team have enough availability to support the project?
16. Is the project team senior enough? Will they be credible with your teams?
What is the level of seniority of the partner in charge? Is he taking the responsibility of the project or delegating that to someone more junior? What is the level of experience of the project team? Will this work with your teams?
17. Are you confident the consultant will work well with your teams?
And last but not least, looking at the interactions you had and the composition of the team, do you expect this consultant to work well with you and your teams? And to be a good fit?

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4 Reasons Why Dubai 2020 World Expo Will Spur Growth in the Consulting Market

4 Reasons Why Dubai 2020 World Expo Will Spur Growth in the Consulting Market

“The tallest building in the world is now in Dubai, the biggest factory in the world is in China, the largest oil refinery is in India, the largest investment fund in the world is in Abu Dhabi, the largest Ferris wheel in the world is in Singapore.”-Fareed Zakaria

Dubai probably is one of the most modern and fascinating cities in the world, a crossroad of cultures and home to 3.13 million people, from 200 nationalities who work there. If you haven’t visited it yet, maybe you should consider it in the future. As a modern business hub, playing an important role, Dubai connects the Middle East to the Far East, and Europe to Asia. One of the major global trade events Dubai 2020 World Expo, will be hosted there. In this post, we will highlight a few reasons why this event will positively affect the city’s economic growth. But before we focus on Dubai, let’s discuss for a minute the Middle East as a region.
The New Middle East – Economically Robust, Politically Volatile–
Most countries in the region are moving forward with institutional reforms to diversify their economies and to improve attractiveness for investors.
Oil-related activities are registering a rejuvenated growth while non-oil related activities continue to develop as part of the regional government strategies to leverage oil related surplus.
The region is expected to grow slightly around 2.5% in the years to come. The political instability and the volatility of oil prices could, however, hinder significant investment plans and slow down the growth.
Saudi Arabia plans as part of its 2030 vision, to double their base of SMEs. The country is also heavily investing in technology start-ups both within and outside the country.
The top 3 sectors driving economic growth in the region are:

Energy sector, especially in the oil-producing countries,
Financial services, and related IT and HR services
Government related activities directly connected with education and large-scale infrastructure projects.

Israel, despite its small market size, and limited opportunities to expand locally, remains a very dynamic scene for start-ups, finance, and high-tech companies.

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In Turkey, the main drivers of the recovery from the recent financial crisis, are the on-going banking regulations, the Energy infrastructural developments and the growing investments.
As one of the fastest developing markets in the world, according to Joe O’Mahoney, the Middle East welcomed its first Consultants in the 1960s, and the 1970s, when local governments needed help to organize their ministries.
Still today, management consultants coming from Europe, and North America, provide services otherwise unavailable due to the limited number of local consultancies.
As local economies mature, the growth in the consulting market continues, more than twice faster than GDP.
Consulting also helps compensate shortages in skills, and it is not unusual to find entire departments made of expats and consultants. For example, speaking of U.A.E. and Dubai, the local Emiratis population represents just 20% of the overall population.
Beyond Energy, the diversification of the economy is firing on all cylinders driving demand for financial services to manufacturing expertise, as well as infrastructure and defense.

Increase in Consulting Projects –
Two major events with worldwide significance that will take will place in the Middle East are Dubai 2020 World Expo and FIFA world cup 2022 in Qatar, They are expected to stimulate the market, and create new substantial consulting projects.
Technology and Digital as well, similar to other countries, serve as catalysts for significant projects in all sectors of the economy.
Top 4 Reasons Why Dubai 2020 World Expo Will Spur Growth in the Consulting Market As Well–
World Expos bring together a global business community to share innovation, ideas and make progress on issues of such as the global economy, sustainable development and improved quality of life, and variety of other issues. The event attracts millions of visitors to see and explore pavilions, exhibitions, and cultural events. And as a major event, it boosts the host city’s economy.
1. Stronger Tourism Sector –
An expected 25 million visitors to Dubai during the Expo 2020, is already affecting the local economy. There was a 4% increase in the stock market index of Emirates right after it won the bid for Expo 2020.
The construction projects  that were delayed or derailed during the 2008 Global recession, are also back on track. We will see many more flights as well, and overall boost in transportation services.
2. Infrastructure Expansion –
World Expo puts a pressing demand on the infrastructure of the city, and Dubai 2020 World Expo requires significant development in that area. Jebel Ali area, where the event will take place, will benefit from new roads, metro extension, buildings, hotels and facilities to accommodate visitors.
3. Impact on the Job Market –
Expo 2020 will bring a boom in the job market as outlined here above, due to the increase of visitors, operations, business activity, and so on. The number of new projects directly related to the World Expo is anticipated to create  277,000 new jobs, mainly in the tourism, travel and entertainment sectors, as well as in construction.
4.The Need for Consulting Services –
The top 10 consultancies are taking note and have already established digital and innovation outposts in the region.
This influx of investments and Consultants to the Middle East could seem disproportionate when looking at the market size, not much bigger than the Benelux. However, the amounts and profitability of the consulting contracts can probably justify this phenomenon. The scarcity of local mid-sized consultancies reflects a lack of reliable, potentially cheaper service providers.

If your organization is based in the U.A.E. or planning to work on a Consulting project in the region,
we will be happy to offer you any assistance you might need to successfully plan and execute the project.
Please get in touch at your earliest convenience, and let’s take it from there

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The Importance of the Other Elements in your Consulting RFP – 8 Points to Consider

The Importance of the Other Elements in your Consulting RFP – 8 Points to Consider

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle.

Synergy is really what most Clients and Consultants aim for when joining forces on a project. There are logic and advantage in synergy, and that’s how a single project creates extra value.
The best way to view your Consulting project is this: You are not making a purchase, but solving a problem – don’t look at the means, but focus more on the outcomes you expect from the project.
When you work on your RFP, there are 8 points to consider in regards to the other elements:
1. Approach to the selection process  –
Clarity and transparency in the selection process matters a lot and can make a big difference in the quality of the product you will receive. You need to communicate and describe to the prospective providers how the selection process will unfold.
First, let’s outline the key milestones for the RFP process. It is important for consulting candidates to understand how much time they have to prepare and submit their proposal. It will also give them an idea on when the project could start.
Usually, at this point, you should have signed a Non Disclosure Agreement with the potential candidates. Even if this step is not mandatory, we highly recommend protecting your confidentiality.

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2. Stages in the RFP process –

Distribution of the RFP and intention to Bid
Questions and Answers pre-proposal submission (Answers should be shared with all participants)
Timeframe for the reception of the proposals
Short-list and feedback
Presentations
Selection
Project kick of

3. Stakeholders engagement –
It’s advisable to get several stakeholders involved. They can participate in the selection committee, and organize face to face discussions with the finalist (or you can leverage new technologies like Skype, Zoom, and Google hangouts).
And now let’s have a look at the proposal’s content.

4. Proposal’s content –

Give some background information about who you are – Unless you are working exclusively with companies you already know (but not always a good idea), you need to let them know about your organization.
Explain the context of the assignment – A project is rarely unidimensional. Understanding the political and technical implications of a project is key to design a customized solution to your problems.
Detail your expectations in plain English – Put on paper the benefits and documents you expect from the project but also the constraints you might have.

To enable proper comparisons, do not hesitate to specify in your RFP a few expectations of the proposal and from the consultant, for example, you can include:

A description of the objectives pursued, the approach and deliverables, the planning for the project highlighting the key milestones as well as the project management structure proposed (including the contribution required from the client).
Demonstration of competence, also the consulting firm should provide references on similar projects (industry/capability), the CVs of the actual consultants that are expected to work on the project and examples of thought leadership they have produced in the field.
Fees and workload should be detailed enough to enable a clear understanding of the cost structure associated with the project.

Finally, you should describe how the Q&A between sending RFP and receiving the proposal will be organized. When should the question be sent? How will the answers be shared with the consulting providers.
5. Sharing your decision’s criteria –
Your selection criteria and expectations of the proposal have to be explicit. In principle, you know already how you will perform the selection. If not, well, that is the right moment to think about it. Selection criteria are usually a blend of components such as:

The capability of the firm to get the job done – Leveraging feedback from previous clients on previous projects.
The expertise of the firm in the required field – Ideally, the consulting firm should provide some thought leadership or position papers in the niche.
The clarity of the approach and the deliverables – You need to understand if the deliverables are those you expect but also to understand how the consultant intends to get there.
The composition of the team – You need to make sure that the consultants who will work on the project daily have the right seniority and experience.
The fit with the company – In short, do you think you will work well together? Will they have the right impact and recognition with your peers?
The price of the project – Can you afford their services? Are you getting a clear value for your money? Are there hidden fees to be considered?

As you can see, these considerations are much broader than the sole price. Even though there is no magic formula using clear criteria, communicating them to the Consulting firms early in the process is key for getting a high-quality proposal, and taking informed and fair decisions. 
6. Providing schedule and budget clues –
Whether your project is urgent or not, you likely have a timeline in mind. Or at least some internal deadlines or meetings. Knowing your schedule for the project is key for the consulting candidates. It will directly impact the team composition and the cost of the project.
Users and buyers rarely include their budget in the RFP. However, if you are on a very tight budget, it can make sense to include that information in the RFP to make sure that you don’t lose time for proposals you cannot afford. Besides, the consultants will be able to come up with trade-offs or design-to-cost proposals.
7. Indicating your other requirements –
You might have other requirements that you want to include in your RFP. For instance, you might be interested in having references and contact information to check the references. You can also have some eligibility criteria linked to your internal procurement policies. Maybe your consulting providers have to be registered as a provider.
8. Giving a single point of contact –
You also need to define the main point of contact during the process. Will it be someone from procurement, one of the executives, or even a third party? All the interactions with Consulting firms during the RFP process should go through that person. Letting the Consulting firms connect directly with the Executives of their choice would give an advantage to the incumbents and distort the competition.

Ready to get started on your next Consulting project?
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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