I have experience of providing a consultancy service in the UK and the Middle East. This has been to the CVS sector in the UK, and to the welfare to work / skills sector in the Saudi Arabia. Using a consultative approach to consultancy I seek to understand the problem of the client and I can then recommend an appropriate set of solutions.
There are details below identifying the benefits of consultancy services to an organisation.
There can be many benefits to using a consultant, but before looking at them it is important to understand the nature of a consultant’s engagement with the client will change as priorities are refined and projects develop. This means there must be processes that keep the project focused and stop it becoming an open-ended arrangement. There needs to be an end outcome. The client needs to remember the initial purpose of the consultancy, and that changes in direction are subject to rigorous assessment.
The consultancy assignment can contain a number of aims simultaneously. In some cases there may be a clear sequence from the strategic, through the tactical, to operational. The process might be straight forward but in other cases there may be a need to change consultancies or to add other practices to the team, as the consultancy you started with may not end up being the most appropriate going forward.
The benefits of consultancy to an organisation:
- Unique solutions that reflect the circumstances and aspirations of the organisation
- Quicker progress because the consultant or team aren’t distracted by other organisation tasks
- Additional knowledge of ‘best practice’ and effective solutions from within the organisations work sector
- Increased exposure to expertise from a chosen work sector / management experience
- Provision of specific technical skills that are non-existent or in short supply in-house, and the opportunity to transfer skills to in-house staff
- Effective change management skills due to consultant or teams independent and objective outlook
Overall, this should lead to a good return on investment, demonstrated through the organisations improved performance. The client can increase the likelihood of a good outcome by establishing with the consultant what the final report will include and how it will be presented. They should understand the time commitment of the consultancy that will carry out the work, and any issues discussed at the beginning.
A final key area to consider is an agreement regarding the transfer of knowledge from the consultant to the key people in the organisation. It is important that the organisation is briefed about the project to prevent obstruction or lack of commitment.