advertisement
  • One on One
    Subscribe
     

Kennedy Corner

  • »Time To Simplify and Get Organized (Well, At Least Your Cloud Services)
    The practice of adding cloud services in silos and based on specific department needs often results in overlapping and many different contracts with the same vendors.
  • »Riding the Waves of Healthcare Risk
    The modern healthcare system is much like the ocean—stormy, choppy, and hostile at times, soothing, calm and inviting at others. For surfers, the more waves you go for, the more you will catch, and the more likely you’ll “wipe-out.”
  • »The Department of Defense Wants a New Mantra
    “Do more with less.” It’s become a tired refrain that U.S. Department of Defense leadership is all too familiar with hearing from all directions, whether it is their direct superiors, Congress, or the Executive.
  • »Things Go Wrong
    Things go wrong. Anyone who plays poker knows this. One moment you’re on the verge of a royal flush, and the next, you pull a six of diamonds, and you’re called. Things do indeed go wrong.
  • »The Next Big Thing
    Consultants are always looking for the next big thing, the innovation that will see clients storming through their gates, bypassing pesky procurement departments, and writing blank checks for the magic mousetrap that whitens and brightens and cleans windows, too.
  • »JP Morgan and The Whale: A Parable
    After a tumultuous period of banking hyper-regulation after 2008, no one would have suspected in 2012 that JP Morgan, the world’s largest bank, had ineffective controls in place that left the company flat-footed when its “rogue” trader had taken untenable, long-term positions on Credit Default Swaps.
» View all

Travel Advisory

  • »Marriott Goes Big in NYC
    Marriott International, Inc. and G Holdings opened what they’re calling an “iconic addition” to the New York skyline, a combined 378-room Courtyard hotel and 261-suite Residence Inn hotel in midtown Manhattan. The $320 million, 68-story property is the tallest single-use hotel in North America.
  • »Best Places to Stay: Travel Bounces Back
    Consultants are on the road again, at least according to the results of our annual Best Places to Stay survey.
  • »FAA: ‘Staffing Challenges’ Causing Delays
    In case you haven’t noticed, non-weather related delays at U.S. airports are on the rise. (And I know you’ve noticed that weather-related delays are definitely on the rise.)
  • »Hilton’s Building Boom
    Coming off a whirlwind 2012, Hilton Worldwide is the fastest growing global hospitality company by number of rooms.
» View all

Book It!

  • »Excerpt: Procurement as Productivity
    The following is an excerpt from the book Procurement 20/20: Supply Entrepreneurship in a Changing World by a quartet of McKinsey & Company consultants—Peter Spiller, Nicolas Reinecke, Drew Ungerman and Henrique Teixera.
  • »Review: The Risk-Driven Business Model
    Most companies focus their innovation on new products.
  • »Review: Lead Positive
    Today’s business leaders face intense pressure to deliver results in an uncertain, chaotic, and high-stress business environment.
  • »Review: Step Up
    No matter what your title or place in the organization chart, you have the potential to be a leader.
  • »The Three Rules
    Earlier this year, Deloitte Consulting’s Mumtaz Ahmed and Michael Raynor published The Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies Think. The authors set out to answer what was, in their mind, the ultimate business question—how do some companies achieve exceptional performance over the long haul?
  • »Thinking in New Boxes
    Creativity is key if you are to thrive in a time of accelerating change, according to The Boston Consulting Group’s Luc De Brabandere and Alan Iny.
» View all

Security Check

CAPTCHA Image
OK
Cancel
New Image
  • Home
  • Columns
  • Exclusives
8 1 2013
»Four Benefits of the Agile Consulting Firm

By Claus Thorsgaard

How agile is your firm? The ability to be agile can result in several key business benefits. It could mean being able to quickly respond to new opportunities, react to change, and adapt to challenges in ways that you never imagined. When agility is embraced in a firm, there are several outcomes: new business wins and efficient responses to change, thus maintaining profitability, happy clients and good positioning for growth.

Win New Business
In the highly competitive consulting market, firms must respond quickly to win new business opportunities—or risk losing a chance at the sale. So how can agility help?

Propose quickly, yet accurately. Agile firms can quickly identify relevant historical client work to serve as insight for new proposals. Looking at similar past work helps determine what led to profitable results last time, which talent was involved, and whether the pricing was competitive, yet profitable. But you don’t have time for long, complicated data-mining; consultants need information on tasks, resources and availability, all in one place. Further, the information must be easily retrieved and sorted along any of the many variables you may be looking for (for example, by client, by vertical, or by service type). Fortunately, modern tools can help transform all of your firm’s past and current work into meaningful on-demand knowledge.

Similarly, an agile firm can easily determine if the right types of resources are available and not soft-booked for future work. Quick identification of current and future capacity helps the firm commit to the timeline and even assign specific, knowledgeable resources if requested by the client. This means having accurate information of current work, upcoming future work and resource availability—organized and noted by skill sets, talent and experience level. The information should be easily retrievable, not locked away in various information silos, and only available to the one team member with access.

Imagine the advantage for a consulting firm that quickly responds to a new business opportunity with an immediate proposal that commits to the resources and timeline, and shows examples of relevant past work. Putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes, which firm would you choose?

Grow Profitably

Even the best-planned consulting engagements are still subject to change: resources can shift, scopes can change, and budgets can fluctuate. Though these changes typically have adverse effects on profit margins, agility helps firms to respond appropriately, thus maintaining, rather than jeopardizing, their expected margin on the work.

Picture an engagement that suddenly expands in scope to add an extra assignment. An agile firm quickly determines who has the appropriate skill and available capacity to take on the additional work—and can see how this additional work will impact current and future work. Doing this means having the right information together; not only so that information is easily accessible, but also so the engagement manager can see the firm-wide cause and effect of making the change.

Picture the alternative: Firms with disconnected information may respond quickly but perhaps incorrectly. Taking on the expanded scope may have negative consequences, which could leave your consulting firm unable to service other work in the pipeline or over-extend its resource capacity.

Over-extending staff can jeopardize employee morale and can lead to robbing other teams of individuals to complete the work, with detrimental effects that include understaffing other projects and delivering a lower quality of work.

Delight Clients 

Agile firms are better positioned to satisfy clients, and manage their expectations. Flexible processes give firms the agility they need to respond to client demands. Consider a client who prefers an invoice that includes a complete breakdown of the work provided, as opposed to a top-line description.

Firms with rigid, inflexible systems may not be able to produce such an invoice, leading to an unsatisfied client. Or they’re left with highly manual processes, which are inefficient and lead to errors, and also affect client profitability. We all want to satisfy, and even delight our clients; wouldn’t you like client satisfaction to be profitable?

Capture Opportunities for Growth
Finally, agile firms are better poised to respond to growth opportunities. Responsive organizations can modify their processes and structure to react to new business opportunities, like new service offerings or expansion into new geographies.

Often, the key to such an agile response lies in systems that can quickly adapt to these opportunities, because minimal internal retooling or reorganization is needed, and also inexpensively, because such systems don’t need inefficient and cumbersome manual steps as a stop-gap while being retooled.

Getting Started

Don’t be overwhelmed. Just keep in mind that agility means accessible information and organization. It’s not about introducing hundreds of new procedures, check-in points or processes; it‘s about empowering staff at all levels with crucial data personalized to the needs of the client or project.

If “growth” and “profitability” are the first words that you want to come to mind as you describe your firm, then “agile” must come close behind. Only when your firm is truly agile can it consistently capture new business, respond quickly to change, and position your firm for continued growth.


Claus Thorsgaard is Deltek’s EVP and general manager, professional services.
»Related Articles
  • Exclusives
advertisement

CMAG Careers

CMAG Subscribe Ad

 

  • Platinum Sponsors:

    BCG
    Deloitte

    Gold Sponsors:

    Mesirow

    Ernst & Young
    PwC

    Silver Sponsors:

    Capco
    KPMG

    Alix Partners
    ZS

    AonHewitt
  • Register

    Gold Sponsors:

    BCG
    Ernst & Young
    PwC
    Mesirow

    Silver Sponsors:

    IBM
    Mercer
    Capco
    Deloitte
  • Featured Speakers:

    Joseph Kornik

    Joseph Kornik
    Publisher and Editor-in-Chief,
    Consulting magazine

    Brian Murphy

    Brian Murphy
    Chief of Staff, Point B

    Brian Jacobsen

    Brian Jacobsen
    General Manager, Slalom Consulting

    Tom Rodenhauser

    Tom Rodenhauser
    Managing Director, Advisory Services, Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory

    Sponsor Speaker:

    Drew West

    Drew West
    Director, Product Marketing,
    Deltek

    Sponsored By:

    Deltek Logo
|
»

Searching

page loading