Steve Repton, Managing Director
It’s the time of year when many organisations are planning ahead for next year. An exciting time, looking at strategic business objectives and determining what projects they need to implement to drive change and transformation to deliver better ways of working and improved services for customers.
The One Consulting team are often asked to support organisations with determining how to get most from their budgets and how they drive value and efficiency without compromising on quality and the customer experience.
At this time of year I’m also often asked the question “why should we use consultants, why can’t we simply look to solve our own problems with our own resources and expertise”? The simple answer to that is you could, however, having spent time both in-house as a buyer of consultancy services and as a consultant I have an interesting perspective on this and from that experience I firmly believe that it’s all about balance.
So, what are the advantages of including consultancy support as part of your forward planning?
The origins of the consulting industry can be traced back to the start of the 20th Century, to the ideas of scientific management and to regulatory change in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash. In the UK, the consulting industry began to grow quickly in the 1950s, fuelled by the arrival of US consulting firms, waves of new technology and management techniques, and increasing demand from clients for highly specialised skills.
Today the UK consulting industry is worth around £10 billion and contributes significantly to the UK economy.
The Management Consultancies Association (MCA) recently carried out an independent survey of business leaders across the public and private sector to find out more about how consulting was valued and what it was used for. The results showed that the use of consultants is widespread across the UK with 84% of businesses polled confirming they had used consulting services and 81% of them said consultants had met or exceeded expectations. Digital and technology advice and business transformation and strategy advisory are the key priorities UK business leaders say they will most need help from consultants on in the future.*
So, the research speaks for itself and I personally think that there are a number of reasons for this….
Consultants most definitely bring with them different thinking and thought provoking ideas gained from other experiences. They bring specialist skills that might not exist in-house or are only needed for a shorter period of time enabling an organisation to pay for that skill on demand only when they need it.
Consultants bring perspective. Organisations will generally have a perspective on how to solve the problem they are facing but want to make sure that what they’re thinking is correct (or that they aren’t so close to the challenge that they’re missing the blindingly obvious answer). So, they turn to consultants to come in and provide their opinions or suggest options for a solution.
Often, consultants will have previous experience of the problem you’re facing. Because consultants often work with many different companies and may have worked through a similar problem in the past with someone else, they can often provide real life solutions based on what they’ve seen work (or not) before. Consultants can bring new and innovative ideas or possible challenges to the table that organisations may not have been able to see on their own.
And sometimes it’s simply another pair of hands! If an organisation does not have the available resources to focus on problems, in times like this, consultants serve as temporary, highly skilled employees. And, by using consultants, companies do not have to pull their employees away from their actual day jobs.
So, how do you make sure you have the consultancy support you need, when you need it?
We always recommend to our clients that they should plan ahead for consultancy support so that a certain amount of your budget is available to access quickly when the need arises. That can help to reduce risk by swiftly responding to issues as and when they occur. We’ve all been in that situation where unplanned things happen and we know we need external support to help resolve it but all our approved budgets are assigned to other activities. It can be a long and drawn out process to get funds signed off and in the meantime problems only get worse! Planning ahead helps to mitigate that risk and frustration.
Finally, I couldn’t really finish this article without a bit of a shameless plug for what we can do at OneConsulting and why we believe we are the consultancy for you!
At OneConsulting we are experts at transformation – particularly for digital and IT change. We are passionate about delivering excellent service and quality outcomes for our clients and we have a track record to prove that.
Our consultants share knowledge and provide an objective and balanced perspective enabling your organisation to leverage new skills. We bring ideas and expertise that enable organisations to have time and space to plan, think, deliver and grow.
We’d love to hear from you if you think you are going to need help with delivering your strategic priorities in the new financial year.