» View all
»U.S. Healthcare Reform and Integration
While each week in the U.S. different reports come out about key aspects of the US healthcare reform being adopted, implemented or delayed, fewer elements of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) impact are clear.
»Financial Services: Shooting from the Hip
It became rapidly clear as the economic crisis spun out of control in 2008 and 2009 that new regulations were coming, and those expectations were not disappointed. Governments around the world rose to the anger their constituents felt as jobs were lost and homes foreclosed on, and sweeping new regulations were enacted. Some were carefully thought out, but others more resembled what could best be described as “shooting from the hip.”
»Twinkies and Positive PR for Private Equity
If you are someone who began hoarding boxes of Twinkies last year, you may have felt a bit reactionary following the recent news on Hostess. With the Private Equity buyout of Hostess, this heartening symbol of U.S. culture is returning to store shelves. Even with expertise on their side, the two firms that agreed to the buyout certainly have their work cut out for them in revitalizing the brand to its glory days.
»The Water’s Nice; Jump In
The market for new market entry strategy consulting is about resources and incentives. It’s a not too hot, not too cold, but just right equation.
»The New War For Talent
When a meteorite blazed through the morning skies of central Russia in mid-February and exploded, the news media described it as a rare event. And it was. Fast forward one month and just about every government in the world is looking at the potential for a "rare event" to visit their borders, and wringing their hands over how to prepare for it.
»Here Comes Patient-Centric Health
U.S consumers are accustomed to choices. We often take for granted our ability to select products, price points and preferred channels. Why, then, do we as patients expect anything less from our healthcare providers?
» View all
»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.
»Extended Stay America Serves Up Free Breakfasts With ‘Grab and Go’
Extended Stay America launched a new Grab and Go Breakfast program, which is available seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at all of its more than 600 locations.
»Homewood Suites Survey: Comfort is King
A new survey of frequent business travelers found that they want more room to spread out, the ability to maintain a normal routine and opportunities to interact with business associates and fellow travelers.
» View all
»Author Q&A: PwC's Ted Shelton
PwC’s Ted Shelton’s book Business Models for the Social Mobile Cloud: Transform Your Business Using Social Media, Mobile Internet, and Cloud Computing, examines how the three technologies are coming together to transform businesses.
»Review: The Three Rules
Why do some companies achieve exceptional performance while so many others struggle to survive? That’s the question Deloitte’s Michael Raynor and Mumtaz Ahmed—along with an international team of dozens of researchers at Deloitte—set out to answer with their book The Three Rules.
»Review: The Athena Doctrine
While women don’t yet rule the world, plenty of people wish they did.
»Review: The Strategy Book
Max McKeown’s The Strategy Book focuses on how to create powerful strategies to deliver success.
»Excerpt: Finding Your Firm’s Growth Engine
The following is an excerpt from Leading Firms: How Great Professional Service Firms Succeed & How Your Firm Can Too by David C. Kuhlman. In the book, Kuhlman distills 25 years of
experience advising senior management at some of the world’s most prominent consulting firms. This excerpt from Chapter Six: “The Growth Engine” explores two of the key factors driving growth in the most successful firms.
»Excerpt: The Online Marketing Revolution
The following is an excerpt from Online Marketing for Professional Services, a thought-provoking and practical approach to online marketing by authors Aaron E. Taylor, Sylvia Montgomery, Sean T. McVey and Lee W. Frederiksen.
»Who Needs an External IT Service Provider?
With business processes outsourcing growing year after year, organizational leaders are spending an increasing amount of time vetting, selecting, and managing vendors, consultants, and service providers. And, with IT services becoming a core facet of project-specific and overall organizational success, some leaders are wondering how to vet such an important part of the team.
While there are many things to look for when selecting an IT service provider, the most important questions to ask yourself are: What do we need? Why do we need it? How can they help?
What do we need?
Identifying the need for an external IT services provider is essential. Is your need project or initiative-based? Is your need on-going and consultative in nature? Do your needs encompass both? As with other third-party professional services support (e.g., accounting, marketing, legal), selecting the right IT vendor involves knowing what help you need; separating the strategic providers from the non-strategic ones depending on your desired results; inviting the most qualified candidates to the table; and asking the right interview questions.
Why do we need it?
You may know what you need, but do you know why you need it? What business process or goal will this firm help you to achieve? This conversation begins with in-depth discussions involving the short-listed IT firms and key members of the internal team to develop a mutual understanding of the projects at-hand and the scopes of each. This is a great way to continue the interview process and gauge if the candidates are easy to talk to, while also getting some additional information regarding the project(s) at hand.
How can they help?
Once you've whittled the list down to two candidates, you need to ask more in-depth, qualifying questions.
* Does the provider have strong business acumen to anchor their technical advice?
* Has the provider implemented similar solutions in our industry?
* Does the provider's technical ability match up with my organization's needs?
* What is their technical project implementation experience?
* What is their technology consultancy experience?
* Is the provider only well-versed in the products they sell?
* Can the provider give an example of a time when they recommended a solution that was best for the client over a solution that would have provided greater financial returns for them?
* Some providers bundle services, but does my organization need all of those services?
* Some providers are focused on implementing the latest and greatest technologies, but are traditional technologies more appropriate for my organization's needs?
* What processes do they have in place to facilitate, manage, and grow our relationship?
* What sort of a grievance channel do they create for me if I'm unhappy?
Asking questions like these can help prevent those tragic realizations down the road that you've selected the wrong firm and have lost valuable time and scarce financial resources.
The bottom line is that IT consultants should not be focused on selling the flashiest package or getting the best margin on products. As with any successful merger or partnership, there must be a laser focus on determining how two organizations can work together in a shared, mutually-beneficial relationship focused on the same business outcome.
It can be a complex process but, if done right, IT outsourcing can prevent headaches and financial losses while helping to support organizational efficiency, productivity, and growth.
Heinan Landa is CEO of Optimal Networks, a technology consulting company.