In 20th century the role of a consultant for business was limited to providing mainly legal, finance or recruiting services. This has dramatically changed within the last two decades. Nowadays you can find a vast variety of consulting services in the market from strategic planning to graphic design.
Of cause an option of doing the task with existing company resources always exists. So, every businessman or a manager, before jumping into some new activity and deciding if he/she is going to use the existing company resource or invite a consultant should consider a number of factors.
First of all, the word “new” is a key one in this story. If you are thinking of launching something new, you may not have an expertise or dedicated resource for this. As a result your new project may struggle to get a priority in the list of other important tasks or suffer from lack of appropriate knowledge within the project team.
The same applies if the task is very specific and is not a part of your regular business. Does not matter, if it has been performed by your staff before. You may still want to analyse the previous performance efficiency and compare it to the outsourcing option.
Second, in all the cases when you are looking for evaluation and raising the performance efficiency a fresh viewpoint and objectivity may be needed. It is needless to say that you won’t be able to get much of this from your employees.
Third, if you have a one time or recurring task which is limited in time and requires very specific skills. In such a case keeping a specialist on payroll would be more of a problem than of a solution.
To summarise the above, there are situations when you have to review the potential of your existing staff and consider bringing in the consultancy into you company. Your choice is not limited to your staff option or consultant option. It is a good practice to find a balance combining those two. The triggers for the need of your consideration are:
- Something new or not specific for your company
- Objectivity and independence of a viewpoint are important for the task
- Specific tasks limited in time.
Below is the non-inclusive list of examples when you might think about finding a consultant to do a job.
- New or specific tasks:
- To build a new company unit;
- To start a new business direction;
- To launch a new information system;
- Objectivity and independence are required:
- To validate ideas that have already been created in the organization;
- To analyze, diagnose or criticize (constructively) the existing business situation;
- To identify a source of a problem;
- To conduct potential fraud investigation;
- To resolve an employee related conflict;
- Short specific tasks:
- To teach the new skills;
- To announce the headcount cut;
- To announce and drive serious changes;
- To access a network of business or government contacts
I truly believe that the success depends a lot on the instruments one uses to do the job. Each instrument has its purpose. The better one understands how to apply the instrument, the better is the result. In this context the company staff and the consultants are the instruments in one’s hand to achieve business goals and objectives.
Hope, this text will be of a help to enable you to apply those instruments in the best possible way.