Recovering value from investment in 'strategic' partners

 

Course-correction for those high profile investments that haven’t fulfilled their potential

Think about the initiative sprawling across your business...

 

You know the one: the strategy / quality / change / customer focus* (*delete as applicable) programme

 

...assisted’ by external consultants,
 

...which has a road-map for delivery that seems increasingly opaque, despite early promise and enthusiasm.    

 

Or the ‘enterprise solution’ you bought from a systems integrator,

 

...where people see they have to do their jobs differently now, but they can’t really see net benefits, despite the consulting support you bought.

 

It’s good to avoid getting into positions like this, but not always easy given the circumstances under which you hired your ‘partners’—or  the business models of most consulting firms.

 

 

So why aren’t they delivering now?  And what can you do about it?

 

We find that when a large scale assignment under-performs, it is for a mixture of reasons:
 

  • Over-ambitious scope and unrealistic commitments (on both sides)
     

  • Poor stakeholder management
     

  • Misalignment of commercial drivers which means it’s not in the consultants’ interests to provide their best or most efficient resources.

 

We are experts in identifying what went wrong and, critically, what to do about it now.

 

How?

 

We start with a quick review of engagement terms of reference, team capability, program management and client handling.   

 

Often, we’re appointed to audit the approach, or to review the quality of outputs and sometimes to assess the quality of the team deployed. 

 

Sometimes, we’re also asked work with the consultants to get them back on track.  Other times, we’re asked to advise on the procurement exercise from the beginning.

 

We’re glad we’re not mainstream consultants. 

 

People hire mainstream consultants for all kinds of reasons, beyond the written brief:
 

  • As a way of legitimising unpopular organisational decisions, already made
     

  • To prove that a given problem is indeed intractable or that the best solution is already in place
     

  • To prove to a parent company / regulator that there really is no more cost reduction to be found
     

  • As a political expediency to damage a rival Executive’s position
     

  • They arrived as part of a systems deal to help ‘customize’/implement a ‘solution’ and now you can’t seem to get rid of them.      

 

Fair enough. You hired them and briefed them with clear intent, but to get the best out of them under circumstances like these, it pays know what you’re dealing with. 

 

We know what it takes.  We’ve managed them directly, and on behalf of clients, many times before.