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I was chatting to a client recently, who I have worked with on a number of occasions, over the last nine years. We have done a variety of projects together and many of my customers come back again and again, or come via recommendation.
Its great to be adding value to projects of all types, with various degrees of tech involved, although often its process and cultural change, that brings the true transformational magic.
While talking, I asked a question that I don’t normally ask. That was even though I knew they used other consultants sometimes, why they so often came back for me to work with them?
Their answer surprised me in that it was, “Well we have found when we work with you, we save far more money, than what we pay you in consultancy”. I was pleased in one respect, but I knew if I told my accountant that, they would tell me I should perhaps be charging much more! I certainly wont be notching up my day rate, however I totally understand where they were coming from.
Where I come into projects ‘late in the day’, often to help recover something or do some ‘marriage guidance’ with them and their suppliers, often its already gone too far already. Fix the small initial issues, ask the awkward questions and think them through early, always saves much more time and effort further down the line. Procuring is generally exciting stuff to the procurer, poring over the detail is not glamorous, but very essential. Lots of managers are visionaries, somewhat less are the ‘finishers’, who suffer from extra charges and hassle, further down the line.
Probably, the earlier in the process I get involved, the more potentially can be saved. Often getting into the detail up front, sharpens minds, better defines scope and provides a better yardstick to measure delivery, when the implementation boots hit the ground. Bringing experience of another hundred or so projects with associated intel’, also provides my clients with a potential toolbox of ideas, strategies and methodologies, which could be adapted to work well in their particular situation. In some cases, I have helped reduce overall ICT system costs from over £4m to well less than half that.
Arriving later in a project to help dig a site out of a failing (or potentially failing) project, often provides fewer levers for means of recovery, that’s my experience. Again its all about the detail. Project history detail, contract detail, concise meeting minutes all present and accessible. I have recovered plenty of projects via different results. Every challenge is a little different and each offers potential to turn individual situations around. There are plenty of examples where thinking back, hard cash has been clawed back or saved. Long running projects can be more like a poker game, than a commercial venture.
Certainly, in the future this will all make me think more deeply on potential engagement value add. Meanwhile, don’t suffer in silence, if you need help please give me a shout!
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(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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