most consulting teams are limited in the amount
of time that they can spend studying the organization. Less time spent studying an organization
leads to inadequate or improper knowledge, which
leads to incorrectly identifying and implementing
a solution, which in turn leads to the same organization’s problem not being solved.
Instead of attempting to cram the necessary research into a condensed window of time, or negotiating for a larger window of time that still won’t be
enough, what if there was a way to guarantee that
your consulting team had the in-depth institutional
knowledge of your client’s company? This previous
impossibility and perceived situational mirage is a
reality when consulting and staff augmentation are
integrated. When a management consulting firm
contracts an employee out to a client, there are
three major benefits that are realized, aside from
the services and funds that are switching hands.
First, a collaborative relationship is forged between
the two companies, and if your company is sound,
then that relationship is rooted in trust.
Second, the consultancy receives on-the-ground
analysis of a client that it previously didn’t have access to. It’s one thing to read the process map that a
department is supposed to follow. It’s another to be
a contributing component of that process, and grasp
an in-depth understanding of how the process is actually performed in real-life.
Third, the consulting firm gains control over the
day-to-day execution of a client’s organization.
As an example, a resource is contracted out to fill
the role of a financial analyst within the project management department for a client in the utility sector.
While that resource is performing his/her daily functions and meeting client deliverables, the resource
is acquiring institutional knowledge regarding the
inner-workings of the client’s organization.
The type of institutional knowledge that is impossible to be learned in a cram session, but is the result
of attending several client staff meetings, eating
lunch with client management and field personnel,
witnessing first-hand work-arounds to existing processes, and general hallway banter. This first-hand
information is critical to truly understanding the client and having the ability to craft catered solutions
that fit the mold of the company.
When a client starts to solicit proposals for their
organization’s problem, the consultancy that employs the financial analyst will already have a map
of the organization’s terrain, while the other bidding
consultancies will still be trying to measure the organization’s topography.
Improper implementation of a solution is a common misstep in consulting engagements. The consulting and staff augmentation hybrid model counteracts this common occurrence by affording the
consultancy control. Control and trust. The blended model gives the forward- looking consulting
firm the ability to physically execute the chosen
solution, whereas traditional consulting firms are
placed on the sidelines monitoring and overseeing
the implementation without the ability to directly
govern their destiny.
The hybrid consultancy rolls out their new capital
project close-out policy; a policy in which the financial analyst plays an integral role. In that scenario,
the financial analyst is able to provide on-the-ground
feedback regarding the relevancy and effectiveness
of the new policy. Whether it’s recommending a simple tweak that the policy requires or advocating the
new policy to the client’s internal financial analyst
resources, the blended consultancy has a clear advantage over the traditional consultancy.
Like most fields, the further specialization of management consulting is still a fruitful path for those in
the industry. But an under-utilized market, yet highly effective strategy is the grafting of management
consulting and staff augmentation. The knowledge
of a client’s organizational terrain, coupled with the
organic leverage the hybrid consulting firms receive
during implementation phases make the blending
of consulting and staff augmentation a necessity for
firms that strive to be ahead of the competition.
Kyle Loving is a manager at Motive Power, a management
consulting firm which specializes in project management
to help its clients effectively and efficiently manage their
projects and organizations. Kyle resides in San Francisco
and currently leads two billion-dollar portfolio
management engagements as well as comprehensive
project management services for a large capital electric