The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Business Transformation Consultant
Why do people hire a business transformation consultant? Business transformation is such a complex journey, one that often requires external expertise to navigate successfully.
25 January 2024
Companies facing the challenges of change, whether due to market dynamics, operational inefficiencies, or shifts in organisational culture, will frequently turn to business transformation consultants for guidance. However, the decision to hire external support comes with both advantages and potential drawbacks.
So if you’re thinking about going down the route of hiring external counsel in the form of a business transformation consultant, allow us to shed some light on the pros and cons of making such an investment.
Download our Full Guide to Creating Lasting Change in your Organisation for more insights into harnessing the full potential from business transformation consulting.
Why Hire an External Business Transformation Consultant?
Pros of Business Transformation Consulting
Transformation initiatives demand specialised knowledge, strategic planning, and the ability to execute change effectively. Hiring external consultants provides several benefits:
1. Expertise: One of the primary reasons companies hire a business transformation consultant is to access expertise they may lack internally. External consultants bring a fresh perspective and specialised knowledge that is crucial for navigating the challenges of transformation. Their objective eye can identify solutions and opportunities that might not be apparent to an internal team entrenched in the existing organisational structure.
2. Time Frame: Transformation initiatives often have a limited time frame, typically spanning two to four years. Hiring an external business transformation consultant allows companies to leverage their expertise for the specific duration of the transformation, without the long-term commitment associated with hiring full-time employees. This time-bound approach aligns well with the temporary nature of many transformation projects.
3. Capability: External consultants offer additional capabilities that may not be readily available in-house. Since transformation is often a one-time effort, organisations may lack the necessary skills and resources internally. Bringing in external support allows companies to capitalise on the unique skill sets and perspectives of an experienced business transformation consultant, enhancing the chances of successful transformation.
4. Objectivity: An outside perspective is crucial for effective decision-making during a transformation. Internal teams may struggle with biases, resistance to change, or an attachment to the status quo. External consultants bring objectivity to the table, helping organisations make decisions based on a broader understanding of the market, industry best practices, and innovative solutions.
5. Budget Management: Hiring an external business transformation consultant enables more streamlined budget management. Companies can allocate specific budgets for consulting services, separate from the costs associated with internal employees. This segregation allows for more efficient financial control, preventing overspending and ensuring that resources are allocated appropriately throughout the transformation journey.
What are the issues with hiring an External Business Transformation Consultant?
Cons of Business Transformation Consulting
While the benefits of hiring external consultants are evident, we’ve seen first-hand the problems that typically arise when companies opt for business transformation consulting from a major consultancy.
1. Templated Approach: A common pitfall with major consulting firms is their reliance on a templated approach. The phrase "Nobody ever got fired for hiring McKinsey" reflects the tendency of executives to opt for well-known consultancies, assuming a certain level of reliability.
However, major consultancies often employ one-size-fits-all methodologies, utilising off-the-shelf templates that may not align with the unique characteristics of each organisation. This approach can lead to misguided attempts to impose generic solutions, resulting in chaos and resistance to change among the workforce.
2. Utilisation at the Expense of Value: Large consultancies may start engagements with senior partners, showcasing impressive expertise. However, as the project progresses, there is a tendency for less experienced teams to take over.
The business model of major consultancies often prioritises cost-cutting and maximising utilisation, potentially compromising the delivery of real value. The meticulous documentation, time-stamping, and cost tracking associated with these consultancies can create tensions with clients and shift the focus from solving problems to meeting sales targets and generating new business.
3. Building reliance on them Part of maximising utilisation is also to build reliance on the external business transformation consultant. Major consultancies have a target of “land and expand”. It’s part of their business model to make you dependent on them, so that you keep needing to acquire their services.
We often hear complaints from our sponsors and the people who stay after the consultants leave. It’s always that their people haven’t been upskilled, they don’t have the sustainability to continue the journey and before long, they’re doing another transformation.
How 1ovmany do Business Transformation Consulting differently
All our Business Transformation Consultants are practitioners
So many transformations carried out with major consultancy firms fail to achieve their goals, because they're attempting to rinse and repeat the same process they've used elsewhere, without tailoring it or adapting it for the environment that it's done within.
The difference in working with a London-based boutique consulting firm like us is that we’re practitioners. 1ovmany was built on a set of values based around meeting you where you’re at. We set out to understand your current conditions and culture, as well as the outcomes you’re trying to drive. We face into your company’s challenges and hurdles, instead of sidestepping them, because we’ve experienced them first-hand and learnt how to address them in a variety of different contexts.
Once we’ve understood your current conditions, then we can assess your organisation’s fit-for-purpose, then we can move you to where you want to be.
Value-focused approach to Business Transformation Consulting
While the major consultancies base their business model around utilisation, our belief is focused around creating value for customers. We made a conscious decision not to focus on utilisation, which is why none of our consultants have targets to meet, meaning their focus is on creating value for you, not value for themselves.
Our consulting services incorporate the necessary upskilling, training and coaching, to instil sustainable change, and so that your people can manage and maintain the results of the transformation initiatives.
Download our Full Guide to Creating Lasting Change in your Organisation for more insights into how we help our clients.
About the author
1ovmany Communications Team
We help organisations reach their full potential through continuous and sustainable transformation in customer delivery and product excellence