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Continued - In a world of instant gratification, how do management consulting services fare?

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

To continue from the previous post on the impact of value when instant gratification is a standard expectation, we will discuss one of the lasting frustrations for business leaders when working with consulting teams. When the phases of work are lined up but the results are far from being achieved, business owners tend to dismiss the value of consulting services. From our conversations, business leaders were much more interested in understanding the entire project lifecycle even though some nuances might arise along the way.

All leaders were in consensus that they would forgo instant gratification in consulting projects, however a clear timeline was a basic expectation, along with tangible results. Timeline becomes a hot topic in much of our research as business leaders tend to vocalize how a small project now has led them to a proliferation of projects, paying invoices monthly with unclear future. While not every project has evolved into a multi-year multi-million-dollar project, there has been a sense of labyrinth when it came to consulting projects at their site.

What is the root cause? And what is the solution?

There are two types of proliferation – (1) cross-selling services to various departments/regions, and (2) multiple phases and scope changes. The success rate to win projects is exponentially higher at an existing client rather than trying to gain a new client, hence cross-selling is a very common mechanism that works well for consulting firms. Consulting firms typically tend to stand by for any new projects at the existing client, and that might leave clients with less than stellar sentiments, especially when they aren't able to objectively qualify a consulting firm for each opportunity. However, with increasing forced distance and technology-based meetings & discussions, the amount of proliferation of consulting projects into various department will diminish. We will see clients engaging various consulting firms for each opportunity and qualifying them based on experience and results. Clients will leverage mature procurement organizations to help and partner when purchasing and managing consulting firms.

How to reduce phased outlook?

Most clients prefer projects that are less than twelve months to ensure the budget cycle stays congruent with results they hope to see with the initiative. We will see a trend of finite timeline projects going forward due to the unclear advantage clients are left with after consulting projects. Large scale transformations are hard to engage for twelve months, but those will not be the norm in the future. One area that clients can really help drive results is by providing a clear scope with appropriate trigger variables to validate the project, in addition, be able to articulate the required results. The results should be tied to a numerical impact to help drive concise project trajectory. Based on this, consulting firms will be able to drive projects in a straightforward and lean manner. This will allow consulting firms and clients to agree on a single purchase order to track closely on the benefits. While not every project is straightforward as we might hope for, often times, when a clear scope, objective, and result is articulated, it becomes apparent how to leverage a consulting firm and their services.

We will tackle the fee structure in the next blog.



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MECE Inc. is a platform connecting corporate clients with consulting firms. We work with consulting firms of all sizes to understand their expertise and niche to position for top-of-mind when it meets the client's need. We utilize data-driven approach to provide clients with consulting firms that best meet their need and pair with simplified proprietary RFP process to easily find the team and firm that is best positioned for each need. For more information, contact us at marketing@meceinc.com

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