Viewpoint: The Big 8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use a Large Consulting Firm

David Fields writes in his article, Viewpoint: The Big 8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use a Large Consulting Firm that he has become convinced that large consulting companies are no longer the best solutions to most clients problems.

The large consulting companies generally provide sound work and feature excellent processes and are smart, conscientious professionals.

In most cases, however, a company will achieve better results by turning to a small consulting firm.  He gives 8 reasons that a small firm will give better results.

  1. Larger staff does not equate to more efficacy.  Five hundred mediocre strategists just means reaching more people with mediocre ideas
  2. Big Ideas emanate from small collaborators.  Many of the new ideas are being published by members of small consulting firms.
  3. Increased personnel drive decreased efficiency.  Having your project handled by a consultant stamping out identical solutions with efficient precision is not beneficial for your company.  Thus extra capabilities only results in increased overhead.
  4. “We’re right where you need us” holds little sway.  In the current age of internet communications and efficient travel, having a consultant located closely to the assignment has little value.
  5. Entrepreneurial thinking is found in small companies. Small consultancies understand being flexible, nimble, cost conscience, and the value of disruptive thinking.  You are less likely to find this thinking in large, bureaucratic organizations.
  6. The big thinker won’t be working on your project.  When you engage a breakthrough thinker in a small consultancy, you most likely will be working with that key person.
  7. Large consultancies are slow to adopt new ideas.  Momentum is a fact of life in a large organization.  Small organizations are more nimble and able to adapt to new information.
  8. The consultant’s success is not aligned fully with your outcome.  When you work with a boutique consulting group, there is little doubt who the customer is and that the consultant’s success is closely linked to the success of the customer.

There are times, such as projects that requires a large resource pool, that a large consultancy is more advantageous, but in many cases a smaller company will be more responsive and the outcome will be better aligned with the company’s needs.


Review – 7 Ways to Disrupt Your Industry

Review – 7 Ways to Disrupt Your Industry,

Bruce Kasanoff & Michael Hinshaw, Fast Company, June 4th, 2012

Messrs Kasanoff and Hinshaw’s thesis in 7 Ways to Disrupt Your Industry is that disruption is coming and every firm is going to feel the effects.  They offer 7 ways to lead the disruption vs. fall victim to it.

I want to explore 3 of the recommendations:

1) Totally eliminate your industry’s persistent customer pain points.

Practices exist that drive your customers crazy.  Most companies interface with their customers are stupid and cause considerable bad feelings.

The best comparison of this is how you are treated by Microsoft vs. Apple.  Microsoft continually changes how you interact with their products, with frequent failures and freezes.  Apple just works well.  Try buying something on Itunes to see how simple it is.

Their recommendation is to look at your interface through the customers’ eyes.  If it is complicated, just fix it.

Unfortunately, this is not terribly disruptive.  Most market leaders already have extensively redesigned their interfaces.  If you still have difficulty here, you are way behind.

2) Dramatically reduce complexity.

Stripping out complexity is the new mantra. The more complex any process or practice in your company, the more hidden wastes exist that result in huge cost to the business.  Take out the complexity and you will be much more competitive.

This includes your product.  Customers don’t want to pay for features that they don’t want.  Start simple and add only the features they will pay for.  This takes huge efforts, but puts your company in a leading product position.  Complexity impacts the customer interface.   Simplicity equals less errors with the customer.

Again, Apple’s sleek designs are simple to interface with, are flexible but are not overly stuffed with features that people don’t want.

3) Cut prices by 90 percent (or more)

You don’t cut prices by 90 percent through marginal improvements.

You need to look at what is the customers’ problem that needs to be solved and innovate how to solve it with the lowest input of energy.  This will also help to focus on reducing complexity with your product and interface.  All costs must be looked at and eliminated if they don’t add value by directly solving the customers’ problem.

By putting the investment into making your product and company easy to work with a sleek, low cost product will help to greatly insulate you from the disruptive marketplace.