Consulting as a Profession – Part II

This is the second in a short series that furthers some thoughts I have developed over the years in regards to Consulting as a Profession.  In this document I talk about the perception of business value from using consultants.  The definition of ‘consultants’ is worth noting here first as there can be widely different ones.  Consultants in this case are defined as Management Consultants who are professionals that are part of organization like Core Catalysts that has methodologies, process and procedures, templates and standard ways of analyzing and accomplishing work efforts typically organized by projects.  Management Consultants are skilled at tackling various types of challenges at clients that include process improvements, system integration, systems development, business model development and new product development and implementations.  Management Consultants are typically deployed as small teams though can be deployed individually as well.

Business Value is always defined from our clients’ perspective and can vary widely depending on the projects and uses of management consultants.  Here are a few examples based on our experiences.  The first example is where clients use consultants in a staff augmentation manner.  In this case the client can perceive the value as:

  1. Reduced time to get results since they do not have to enter a hiring process for a new employee versus a relatively quick process to engage a skilled consultant.
  2. Reduced time to bring a new person up to speed on the business since consultants typically are adept at fast learning in new situations.
  3. Reduced time for transition to new employees brought in to fill in work efforts being performed by the consultants since consultants always know that they will be eventually leaving the client and will need to perform appropriate transition.

A second example of typical business value provided by using Management Consultants is based on the project that is performed.  The business value can be viewed several ways:

  1. Dependable and predictable results as the projects are performed according to a project plan that has definitive tasks and activities along with associated budgets and due dates and a project governance structure.
  2. The project itself generates business results – i.e. a client invoicing review that uncovers erroneous billing by the client that affects revenue and net income, or a process improvement project that streamlines the process and saves time and money for the client as a new process is implemented or a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is implemented that improves asset control, client invoice and collections and human resources management.
  3. Client team member skills improvements where Management Consultants by their very nature of being project and results focused and deployed with client teams serve as an informal teaching and education platform.
  4. Consultants can be a source of change agents if used as catalysts for new processes or ways of accomplishing business results.

This covers only a few examples of the business value that Management Consultants can bring to clients.  Core Catalysts uses a Value Score Card for documenting and communicating the value we provide to our clients.  This Value Score Card can in turn be used by our clients to help justify the use of consultants in their business.  Our consultants are motivated by providing business results that have definitive business value to our clients.

Jim Wadella, Owner – Founder