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
The most important reasons for choosing a particular consulting firm are that firm's ability to deliver, experience and specialist knowledge.
Both clients and consultants recognize that getting buy-in from all those involved is perhaps the most serious
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.
The factors that distinguish good consulting probably have not changed since the early 1980s, when the era of the independent adviser gave way to that of the large-scale, complex projects that dominate today's skyline. That these factors have not changed is
Clients want consultants to play by the rules. Once a project has been agreed, clients want consultants to do what they have said they would, when they have said they would do it. They also want to be charged an agreed amount of money, not write a blank cheque. When consultants step outside the parameters of a project, they can erode the benefits of a project perhaps to a point where the costs exceed the return, and embarrass a client internally (who has to defend the choice and management of the consulting team). Above all else,
No client wants to waste time familiarizing a consultant with the issues faced by a particular sector. Thus, when it comes to hiring consultants, clients consistently rate the consultants' understanding of a sector or other specialist know-how far higher than factors such as an existing relationship, the geographical coverage of a firm, the
Specialist knowledge and practical experience provide the platform on which consultants build their credibility. But good consultants do not stop there: they use that credibility as a justification for having unambiguous,
This is - or should be - the bottom line of consulting. Clients hire consultants because there are skills they need, but lack. They could take the option of hiring a