What is Consultancy
As the profession has matured- so the role of consultants profession has been transformed. According to definitions the consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time
Today Consultants now do much more than writing reports with information supplied by the clients and make recommendations, which the client has to implement on his own.
The consultants are now much ‘pro active’. They often bring with them considerable knowledge of particular industries, markets, products and services which provides a context for judging their clients problems and proposing solutions. Moreover they increasingly stay with their clients during the implementation phase.
Even if the consultants are more active today in the resolution of the clients problem they still make the distinction between being a consultant and a manager.
Consultants frequently reaffirmed that they are not there to supplant ‘the role of management’. They are there to advice. That advice is now extremely extensive. Management consultants- depending on their skills and size of course- will advice on personnel and pay issues, organizational structures, financial management, manufacturing methods, information technology, quality control, marketing strategy, acquisitions and mergers. A few will also provide assistance with technical developments for new products or for environmental management.
Two of the most common reasons why organizations call in consultant is that they have specialist skills and can provide advice on a problem quite new to the organization but perfectly familiar to them.
Having confronted large scale computing issues that they have never experienced before many IT Companies used to call in consultants. They were of great help in sorting out current problems and in extreme cases to help a client through a major corporate crisis.
Nowadays consultants are increasingly being hired because the industries have plans for future which require outside advice.
Behind these circumstantial reasons lies another and very crucial one- the objectivity of independent advice. Consultants are often brought in because they will have no axe to grind. Even if their recommendations are obvious, the objectivity of those recommendations is what matters. Consultants can make proposals that would be unacceptable if made internally. The independence that the outsider can bring underlies every decision to bring in a consultant.
According to Hugh Parker, a 40 years old experienced consultant, “We have a client right now where the board has been struggling with an issue that has been fostering for a long time and the board is divided. We believe we can help them because we will come to the problem with a completely open mind. That’s why they have brought us in.”
Another reason for hiring consultants but one that is often forgotten is that the client is buying managerial time which many companies today is itself a scarce resource. Most organizations today use so much time just keeping their functions going that there is little time left for anything else. Consultants are brought in to plan a project, manage it and then help with its implementation.