So you want to be a knowledge management consultant?

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This presentation examines the issues involved in developing a consulting practice in knowledge management.

This presentation examines the issues involved in developing a consulting practice in knowledge management.

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  • Why this – why now? Observing the trends with the group, people from corporate roles becoming consultants
  • Counselor, educator, facilitator –- it fits my Myers-Briggs type. That’s what I thought.
  • I’ve been involved in KM for 20 years, and in professional services for 15. Noticed shift in market in 2006. Summation of 10 years of online and mergence of 2.0
  • If you’re not comfortable with the notion that you’re always selling WHILE delivering, then maybe consulting isn’t for you. Alternatively, if you have a never-ending stream of referrals and extensions
  • Surprisingly little research has been done of strategy of consulting businesses
  • Globalization of wage rates has been the biggest strategic threat. Large numbers of New entrants has been driven into market. Low barriers of entry – get some cards from Vistaprint and you’re in the game. But once in, where do you put your attention? What are your assets? A good rolodex iis a quickly depreciating asset unless you prime it with new contacts. New social tools help, but there is no competitive advantage to be derived from this.
  • The only winning strategy is to create a series of mini monopolies in which you’re the sole provider. This is a spin on the Blue Ocean strategy, but it’s hard because while the barrier to entry are allow, the barrier to pushing a really unique idea can be quite high when you’re dealing with intangible assets.


  • 1. ONTOLOGIQUE  Doug Breitbart & Joe Raimondo  Semantic System Design COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011-14
  • 2. SO YOU WANT TO BE A KM CONSULTANT? Joe Raimondo Ontologique November 2014 COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2014
  • 5. 3 FACTOR KM MODEL  Innovation  Monetization  Stewardship  All projects KM have one or more, in some ratio  Ratio(s) determine approach COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011-14
  • 7. K&IM COMPETENCIES  Developer  Designer  Story teller  Teacher  Geek  Facilitator  Practitioner  Semanticist/Ontologist  Methodologist  Developmentalist  Change agent  Negotiator 7
  • 8. ANALYZE K&IM BEST PRACTICES: NAVIGABILITY (JR) 8 •Smarter Content •Everything in noSQL •Semantic & social search •Auto-everything •Case: “Don’t mention search” Source: Robert Gray tc/gcvep.html
  • 11. SO YOU WANT TO BE A KM CONSULTANT?  The Making of a Consultant  The State of the KM Consulting Market  KM Consulting –a Career Perspective  KM Consulting Strategy: 2015 & Beyond  Seven Keys for Consulting Success  Conclusions & Takeaways  Questions COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 12. THE MAKING OF A CONSULTANT  I Always wanted to be a consultant  I don’t know why © COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 13. THE MAKING OF A CONSULTANT - Worked in “Big KM” – Big 4 in the ‘90’s. The time we fondly remember. - The eye of the storm for KM at the time - Everyone want to get back to that time - But, IT’S NOT COMING BACK! COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 14. THE KM PROFESSIONAL SERVICES MARKET 2014 - Vertical Market Perspective - Horizontal Market Perspective - The Bottom Line COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 15. KM CONSULTING – A VERTICAL MARKET PERSPECTIVE  Pharma & Life Science  - AV & BV  Financial Services  Integrated Manufacturing  Chemical and Process Manufacturing  Professional Services  Public Sector  Non-profit COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 16. KM CONSULTING – A HORIZONTAL MARKET PERSPECTIVE  Subject matter expertise  Project & Analysis Expertise  Technical/Platform Expertise  KM Expertise (plus…)  Trusted Advisor/Guru COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 17. KM MARKET – THE BOTTOM LINE 1) Knowledge Management is still relevant - Still the best term to encompass the broad spectrum of technologies and disciplines involved in optimizing the value of an organization’s intellectual assets. 2) The strategic justification is a major challenge - Business environment of cost-cutting and consolidation 3) The tactical justifications are driven by - Platform consolidation - The search for “intelligent” life - Public sector-graying workforce 4) Finding the right “internal team” and defining their concept COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 18. KM CONSULTING –A CAREER PERSPECTIVE - Three Words - Who Gets the Coffee? - A-B-C - Guru-dom COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 19. UP OR OUT - Successful consultants are like sharks – they have to keep moving - The Big 4 model – up or out – is kind of a constant, either you qualify yourself as a partner, or you eventually land a staff position at a client - There are staff positions at consulting firms, but it a risky proposition – always the first to go in a downturn. COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 20. WHO GETS THE COFFEE? - In my experience, the key to long-term success in consulting is SELLING, not delivery - Once you sell, of course you deliver – but the long-term perspective on business development and closing is the engine for growth. - Consultants who aren’t good at sales, but who are successful, will have a good sales team at their side - Successful sales in consulting comes in all forms, from cold calling to 100 percent networking COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 21. A-B-C - Selling in consulting come in many forms: - High volume, sales as marketing - Low-key networking, the country club approach - Proposal machines - The all important follow-on COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 22. GURU-DOM  The option to being the big closer/Partner/Principal is to be a Guru.  Requires more of a focus on constantly generating new intellectual property.  Still requires selling and closing, but the IP (books, courses, methods, etc.) are the primary draw. COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 23. KM CONSULTING STRATEGY: 2015 & BEYOND  Strategy as the Optimization of a Portfolio of Intellectual Assets  A Textbook Approach  Strategy and the Sole Practitioner COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 24. STRATEGY: OPTIMIZING A PORTFOLIO OF INTELLECTUAL ASSETS - E.g., practice what you preach - Develop and Leverage your own portfolio of assets - Capture, classify and develop avenues for distribution of as much of the artifacts of your intellectual effort as possible - Provides the engine for generating the intellectual assets that move your firm forward  For more info, see The June 2005 Harvard Business Review “Surprising Economics of a "People Business” by Felix Barber, Rainer Strack COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 25. A TEXTBOOK FIVE-FACTOR PERSPECTIVE Strategic factors driving decisions about allocation of: - Time/Attention - Capital (financial/social) COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 26. STRATEGY AND THE SOLE PRACTITIONER  Even sole practitioners faces the need to operate strategically  - “Kill and eat” is not really a strategy  If you’re not operating strategically, you short-change your clients, even if you are totally successful at delivery COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 27. SEVEN KEYS TO CONSULTING SUCCESS (1) Winning the Proposal Game (2) Your Give Away (3) Dealing with Expectations (4) Moving In – becoming part of the family (5) Appearing bigger than you are—project yourself (6) Eating your own dog food—practicing what you preach (7) Build your virtual team COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 28. WINNING THE PROPOSAL GAME  Successful proposals don’t simply win you business - They are the blueprint for maintaining the relationship with the client  Successful proposals usually win on the strength of the team, and the demonstration of capability to perform  - You need to document all your past experience (qualifications) rigorously.  You need to run the proposal through an applicable project management method to clarify scope, identify resources and role, and to manage risk. COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 29. YOUR GIVE AWAY  You might offer a “freebie” – a lure for potential clients  - A free taste of the services you offer to get them hooked  The BEST charge clients for their give-away.  - It gets the client’s skin in the game  Make sure that you (and the potential client) don’t confuse your give away with your real offer! COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 30. DEALING WITH EXPECTATIONS  Winning professional services business requires setting high expectations.  The biggest source of suffering in professional practice is the inevitable divergence of expectations once delivery begins.  The client is always right – to a point.  It’s important to establish a partnership with clients that allows give and take.  Don’t be afraid to fire a client. In the long ruin, it’s more important to maintain your professional integrity than to be abused for billable hours. COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 31. MOVING IN – BECOMING PART OF THE FAMILY  “Be thou familiar but by no means vulgar..”  You want to cultivate a trusted advisory relationship AND maintain your independence.  This is a high-wire act for consultants.  You have to create your own structure that YOU belong to so you’re not dependent on belonging o the client’s culture and structure. COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 32. APPEARING BIGGER— PROJECTING YOURSELF  One of the tenets of small business is to find ways to appear bigger than you are.  Overinvesting in image – quality of materials, deliverables, web site, etc. is one way to accomplish this.  Pulling in allies from your network to flesh out your team also can be helpful.  Be smart about this, and also be accurate. Leaving people with an impression is different that mis-representing yourself. COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 33. EATING YOUR OWN DOG FOOD—PRACTICING WHAT YOU PREACH  Vexes every consultant – focus should be on delivery and new business development.  But especially in a discipline like KM, it’s important to be able to lead client – to show a vision, to open their eyes.  Practicing KM internally – no matter your size – expands the boundaries of your professional capabilities. COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 34. BUILD YOUR VIRTUAL TEAM  Consultants are expected to be experts in their disciplines. But too often they think that their expertise in on domain extends to other domain.  Beyond your professional cadre, it’s important to build a social network that’s balanced with people who have key skills – sales, marketing, branding and image, project management, etc.  Train your teams eyes to spot opportunities for you. They should be clear about what you do that they can reliably identify an obvious opportunity back to you.  - Train them! COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011
  • 35. QUESTIONS  Joe Raimondo, @JoeRaimondo   COPYRIGHT © ONTOLOGIQUE 2011