Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mind the Gap

2 consultants of equal delivery ability in the eyes of the buyer.

Consultant 1 is independent or from a boutique consultancy and consultant 2 comes from a large, well-known, branded global consultancy. All too often, although happening less frequently, the buyer is willing to pay more, sometimes substantially more, for Consultant 2.

Little of the largess goes to the consultant herself. It goes to the consulting organization, specifically the management of that organization. The question is “Is the employment of the consultant by a large, well-known, branded global consultancy worth the gap?”.

Some of the anticipated additional benefits of hiring the large consultancy include access to an internal network of experts, ability to be replaced quickly from within the firm, and motivated consultants because they have a career with a big firm.

What if these were largely untrue or not valuable? I’m just saying.

What if the independent has a much richer network of experts? What if the client is better off re-sourcing any replacement that might be necessary than accepting who the firm provides? What if big firm layoffs and revenue distribution are causing consultants to re-think loyalties? Heck, what if the client knew that the consultant boarding process was essentially the same for both profiles – or even better for the independent profile? Or that independents were more motivated to attain client satisfaction than billing hours?

And then there’s the “no one ever got fired for hiring ____ (large, well-known, branded global consultancy)”. However, I see the consulting economy moving to “no one ever got fired for hiring results.” Keep delivering results, whatever consulting profile you are in.

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