The MCA developed the Consultancy Value Framework to try and more clearly present the different strands of value that can be delivered by the profession. This model provides consultancy buyers with a useful frame of reference to think through the nature of the contribution they may be looking for from consultants.
How would you describe the business need?
- “We don’t know where we are” – i.e. looking for an objective assessment of current status, performance and prospects.
- “We don’t know what to do” – i.e. looking for support in developing direction / defining a strategy?
- “We know what to do but we don’t know how to do it” – i.e. looking for support in shaping an approach / defining and mobilising a change initiative of some sort?
- “We know what to do but we don’t have the capability to do it” – i.e. looking for resources, skills or experience not readily available internally in order to undertake an agreed piece of work?
- “We know what to do but we want to share the risk” – i.e. we have decided / embarked on a course of action, but want additional validation or assurance?
What type of contribution are we looking for from the consultancy?
From simple extra resources on the ground at one end, through to insightful challenge based on rich experience at the other, what do you think we need? It may be a combination.
- What type of specialist skills are we short of?
- How deep is the expertise we are looking for? Are there specific certification requirements?
- What types of experience are we short of? What types and depth of experience are we looking for an external consultant to bring?
- How important is the ability to bring to bear a different and independent perspective? To be able to see the bigger picture?
- What level of challenge do we want them to bring? What level of management will they be working with and needing to influence?
- How important is thought leadership – the bringing of new insights or approaches?
What is the value of the consultancy contribution?
- Do we think involving consultants will lead to better decisions – to finding/choosing a different, more optimal solution/way forward? What probability would we put on that? What could be the value of the better decisions?
- Will it lead to better delivery – either of a change project or of an ongoing service? What % would we put on the consultant’s contribution to this? Is it 100%? (i.e. we can’t do it without them) or a much smaller %? (i.e. they are improving the chances of success / helping to mitigate the risk of failure). What value can we put on this? (e.g. time/cost saved or earlier/larger benefits delivered).
- Will it/should it help to develop our people and overall capabilities on a permanent basis? Will it develop better leaders? How would we assess and evaluate this? What emphasis are we placing on knowledge and skills transfer?
- Thinking overall, what will constitute a highly successful consultancy engagement? What are the key criteria? How can/will we put a value on it?
This Value Framework will help consultancy buyers to more clearly identify that nature of the work they require – they must then define this need in such a way that consulting firms can accurately propose how they could deliver it and at what cost.