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Reasons for selecting a particular consulting firm

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Reasons for selecting a particular consulting firm

  1. 1. Reasons for Selecting a Particular Consulting Firm Muhammad Hamdi ! from Management Consulting in Practice by Fiona Czerniawska and Paul May
  2. 2. Reasons for Selecting a Particular Consulting Firm 1. Ability to deliver 2. Experienced consulting team 3. Specialist expertise 4. Originality of approach 5. Experience of client sector/market 6. Reputation
  3. 3. Reasons for Selecting a Particular Consulting Firm 7. Existing relationship with individual 8. Technological resources 9. Recommendation from client networks 10.Existing relationship with firm 11.Price competitiveness 12.Size of firm/team 13.Geographical representation
  4. 4. The Challenge of Consulting Projects (Consultant view) 1. Stakeholder buy-in 2. Complexity of project 3. Time frame 4. Cultural challenges 5. Expectations of client 6. Scale of project
  5. 5. The Challenge of Consulting Projects (Consultant view) 7. Communication with client 8. Consultancy firm's understanding of the business 9. Changing requirements 10.Budget limitations 11.Skill limitations 12.Changing deadlines 13.Changing personnel (client)
  6. 6. The Challenge of Consulting Projects (Client view) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Cultural challenges Time frame Complexity of project Scale of project Consultancy buy-in Resource limitations Budget limitations Skill limitations
  7. 7. The Challenge of Consulting Projects (Client view) 9. Consulting firm's understanding of the client's business 10.Expectations of consultants 11.Changing requirements 12.Changing deadlines 13.Changing personnel (client) 14.Changing personnel (consulting firm)
  8. 8. The Client-Consultant Relationship • What did those involved learn about building effective relationships? The comments divide into three categories as follows: • Discipline and accountability: - ‘A good project manager is essential.' - ‘You need a clearly understood structure: governance is vital.' - ‘We need to ensure that the client understands how the project will operate.' - ‘If you sell a long-term benefit, you must be ready to measure the long-term benefit, and not get sucked into short-term meddling.’ • Leadership: - ‘We now appreciate the effect of a strong leader on a major initiative.' - ‘Senior management sponsorship and decisiveness is critical.' - ‘Keep things simple; do not try and take on too much; ensure senior management buy-in throughout the life cycle of the project. • Flexibility: - ‘Projects of this size and complexity need more, not less, flexibility.' - ‘The solution must be owned by the client staff, as they are responsible and accountable for it. As a consultant, you need to be able to advise and challenge where appropriate …. You also need to be able to back off at times.’ - ‘Maintaining a flexible approach throughout this project helped us to exceed our clients' expectations.'
  9. 9. Meeting Client Expectations • motivational (eg improvements in staff satisfaction); • ability to finish a project on time; • greater management capability; • improved customer satisfaction; • increased productivity; • reduced costs; • changes to headcount; • increased revenue; • acquisition of new customers; • increased market share; • better share price performance.
  10. 10. Analysing client satisfaction in different types of consulting • Clients of outsourcing-related consulting projects were more likely to be satisfied across the board than clients of other types of consulting. • By contrast, clients of IT-related consulting are more likely to be dissatisfied. These were the clients who, across all the different categories of expectations, consistently rated consultants as less likely than average to exceed expectations. • HR consulting clients are more positive than others when it comes to cost reduction and headcount issues - not surprisingly • The surprise in change management consulting lies in the extent to which projects exceeded clients' expectations when it comes to the financial impact. • Strategy consulting are only two areas in which strategy clients' aims are more likely to be met, compared to other types of consulting - headcount and cost reduction. Those measures that reflect growth rather than retrenchment - increased revenue and market share, improved customer acquisition rates and satisfaction
  11. 11. Summary - Key Lessons For Managers and Consultants • More and more work is being done on a project, rather than permanent, basis. Organizations are becoming portfolios of opportunities and resources: some of those resources will come from outside suppliers, such as consulting firms, who offer experience and specialist knowledge • In this environment, collaboration - across internal divisions, with external partners - will be key. As the case studies in this book show, genuine collaboration is best secured at two levels: the corporate (shared risks and rewards) and the individual (personal chemistry). • The most important reasons for choosing a particular consulting firm are that firm's ability to deliver, experience and specialist knowledge. Clients are also more interested in originality than in a firm's size, geographical coverage, or even its reputation.
  12. 12. Summary - Key Lessons For Managers and Consultants • Both clients and consultants recognize that getting buy-in from all those involved is perhaps the most serious obstacle to effective collaboration. However, consultants appear to underestimate the cultural challenges they face and the constraints their clients may be operating under. • Effective relationships are characterized by openness, honesty and trust. Trust can only be built up by individuals working together over a period of time; it's not something that can be transmitted by a consulting brand • Clients believe relationships are forged at middle management levels, whereas consultants tend to think in terms of building top-level relationships only. • The keys to building effective relationships are: focus and accountability; leadership; and flexibility. • Consultants are very likely to meet or exceed client expectations in terms of increased productivity, revenue growth and improved management capability. However, outsourcing and change management clients appear to be more satisfied than IT and strategy consulting clients.
  13. 13. Meeting Client Expectations • • • • • • • • • • • motivational (eg improvements in staff satisfaction); ability to finish a project on time; greater management capability; improved customer satisfaction; increased productivity; reduced costs; changes to headcount; increased revenue; acquisition of new customers; increased market share; better share price performance.

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