2016 Paris – Consulting Procurement 2.0 – Conference Summary

2016 Paris – Consulting Procurement 2.0 – Conference Summary

Consulting Quest hosted its first European Client Conference- Consulting Procurement 2.0, in Paris on November 17. Thank you to everyone who joined us in Paris, on a Péniche boat.

 

The event was very insightful thanks to a combination of both a great mix of attendees from companies like L’Oréal, SNCF, Solvay, consulting firms and professors, mostly French but some made the trip from the UK too; and some quality speakers who presented us with some valuable insights into their expertise.

 

There was a nice interaction between the audience and the speakers, on topics such as the evolution of consulting, how companies buy consulting today, the impact of the digital revolution and how we can better work with consultants.

 

The Impact of Digital Revolution

Everything is now moving online, all companies need their web portal, being able to do e-commerce, communicating online, and keeping in mind that the consumer is more and more active on the move from their smartphone.

 

The consulting firm organization needs to be agile, to adapt to rapid change, to work together, to fail fast so you can succeed sooner utilizing user feedback instead of intuition.

 

Emmanuelle Savarit, CEO of Analyse Concept, explained in detail the variety of roles in the Digital Capability which are more diverse than most imagine. She therefore questioned the ability of the Big 4 to be the best in each digital expertise.

 

Alain Alleaume, Founder and CEO of Altaris, illustrated those trends with the example of cloud computing, and particularly SaaS. Clients have higher expectations as they want consultants to be specialized in their profession giving them a legitimacy to find the best solutions and to support the client when entering the project phase.

 

Therefore, consultants need to adopt an agile methodology, be on constant market watch, understand the vendor market evolution, and bring a real added value, the best “value for money”.

Make or Buy Strategy

Most companies work to optimize their external spend and their pool of suppliers to better support the overall strategy. What are the key activities that can be outsourced?  What providers are appropriate for us?  Is it worth it to outsource a particular activity for the long term? The same questions apply to consulting procurement.

 

Pascal Lupo, President of SNCF Consulting, explained that the advantages of in-house consulting were that the consultant was aligned with the history, the culture of the company, it also has an indisputable confidentiality edge, and of course some economic interest.

 

On the other end, the increasing need for highly specialized consulting makes it far more difficult for buyers to have experienced the volume of consulting projects that would enable them to develop portfolios of reliable and high-performing consulting providers. By working with companies specialized in this field, those companies will be able to analyze their consulting spend, refresh their make or buy strategy, identify robust suppliers and areas where new blood is needed.

 

How Companies Buy Consulting?

William Frost, President of Strategy Analysis International, explained that over the years there has been a clear shift from a product- to a service-driven economy. Products are now only a minor part of any supplier’s offering. The service economy changes the old production paradigm where the supplier’s output is the key economic variable. In the service economy, you NEED a customer to produce. You cannot stock services. The customer thus becomes an integral part of your production process. You no longer supply anything: you co-produce with your customer. The supplier’s input becomes part of the added value of the customer’s own production process whereas the customer is now the supplier’s partner. The consultant as a service provider has also evolved, from supplier of some form of expertise (or forgettable reports) to partner, increasing their integration with the customer.

Consulting Procurement 2.0 – 2016 NYC Conference

Consulting Procurement 2.0 – 2016 NYC Conference

Our First Annual Conference – Consulting Procurement 2.0 was a Success!  We want to thank all the attendees who were able to join us in NYC at the AMA Conference Center yesterday engaging in several high level, strategic discussions on topics such as the evolution of consulting, how companies buy consulting today, how can we better work with consultants, and what are the best practices we should share.  With past and current executives from companies like L’Oréal, Citigroup, PwC, Solvay, Dow Chemicals, Pearson, and Green Silk Associates there were many unique perspectives shaping a robust collaboration of ideas and fresh takeaways.  We want to thank Swapcard for co-sponsoring the event with us and elevating our networking efforts!  Some great connections were made and we are already looking forward to next year’s event!  Please contact us at Info@consultingquest.com to request more information for future events. 

6 reasons for connecting with peers as a Consulting Buyer

6 reasons for connecting with peers as a Consulting Buyer

Among many professionals, the temptation to work alone, without the support of peers, is high. Innovative business people understand the need for connections with peers, with consultants, with journalists, and with the public at large. Great professionals need to build a network of peers, learn from experience of others, reach collective critical mass, get sparring partners, cherry pick best practices, and stay current on the latest trends.

The situation of procurement professionals and particularly the one of those in charge of procuring consulting services falls into this category. Procuring consulting services is quite different from procuring goods. Consulting is a complex industry often described as a matrix of capabilities and industries. Just add a layer a hard and soft skills. A zest of fee structure. And you have got yourself in the shoes of many Consulting Procurement leaders. They need to connect with peers to be able to exchange about their daily challenges with people who can actually understand what they are facing.

  1. Build a Network of Peers

Even though Companies can have a significant budget for Consulting Projects, most Consulting Procurement executives handle a limited number of project in relative isolation.  Many of them have been trained with core-business procurement, or indirect procurement. So, when facing consulting projects, they are very tempted to reinvent the wheel each time, or to just apply the sound principles that they have learned in their previous jobs. Just like this procurement leader, working in a railway company, who insisted in adding a 10-year guarantee clause in a consulting agreement, “because that is the company policy”.

Rather than just seeking consulting procurement information through only books and online material, find ways to connect with peers in your industry. Trade shows, a community of practice, professional organizations, and firms who specialize in networking consultants with clients are all important tools to connect with peers. 

  1. Learn from the experience of others

Exchanges with peers from diverse backgrounds, culture and activities give professionals the ability to discover new perspectives on consulting procurement, and learn about cases that you haven’t face yet. Increasing your surface of exchange will increase your exposure to the variety of situations faced by your peers.

And who knows. Someone in your network may have faced the same challenge…

This increased surface area multiplies the opportunities for growing as procurement leader by learning from practical cases, sharing challenges and identifying best practices. You can learn from peers, academics, journalists, as well as consultants. This community of learning empowers you to not only increase learning, but facilitates the reach of critical mass. 

  1. Reach Critical Mass Collectively 

Many rare skills, such as consulting procurement, are acquired and maintained on the field through facing again and again the same issues. As a business professional, your services are limited by your ability to access enough information to identify trends and best practices in your field. It is hard to reach that critical mass of information to allows you to master your skill.

With more peers around the table, you accelerate the building process and guarantee that you are able to reach that critical mass collectively. Through your peers, you each gain momentum and reach the critical mass necessary to succeed faster. 

  1. Get Yourself Sparring Partners

Not only does collaboration increase learning about specific situations and projects, it helps you improve your internal processes at a faster rate as well. Two heads are better than one, and two sets of hands go faster. Although it feels risky for business leaders to open themselves up to even one peer, let alone a network of peers, the open source revolution in software and computing shows the power of collaboration in a field which was driven by secrets and control for many years. 

Sharing about Consulting Procurement does not mean you risk to lose your competitive advantage or breach confidentiality, because you can just decide what you share. Good networking merely takes others’ work and integrates it with your own business so that everyone is empowered to grow more. Networking defines relationships based upon the level of connectedness you have with your peers: the more connected you become, the more meaningful the interactions become.

  1. Cherry Pick best practices

A key part of building a network of peers and increasing your collaborative processes is to be able to identify the best practices as a group. Before integrating in your own processes, think about how it would fit with your strategy, your organization and your existing policies and what impact it would have on other processes. 

Let’s say you have heard that Wenowatwedoo, a leader in your industry, is using independent consultants for their needs for marketing excellence. You immediately think you should do the same. But what you don’t know is that Wenowatwedoo has a dedicated team in charge of Marketing Excellence made of former consultants. So for that specific needs, they merely need arms and legs to complement their team, where your company would need the whole team of marketing excellence. Excellent best practice, but not for you.

Cherry picking on what consulting other companies have used might be the most difficult exercise as it requires a fit with your context and strategy but there are many other process elements that can garner tremendous value without presenting the same challenge. But on managing confidentiality, scoping projects, sourcing, selecting consultants, negotiating fees, using creative fee structures or measuring consultants’ performance, there are many levers that can help you to professionalize your own practices.

  1. Stay current on the latest trends

Your needs for consulting are changing every year to adapt to new strategic context, to new opportunities opened by new technologies, etc. You have to stay current on the latest trend and be connected with academics and thought leaders. This will give you the ability to spots threats and opportunities early on, and anticipate the impact on your field.

Besides, keeping up-to-date with your industry is key for building expert power and earn the trust and respect of the other executives in your company.

Connecting with peers is part of your development as a professional, it will help you in getting better at your job, become the go-to partner for the executives of your company, and provide you with sparring partners to call when you are facing a tough challenge. It will give you the keys to enable deliver quality procurement services for your business, to get more value of your consulting spend and to create more value for your company. On a personal level, you will have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with your peers.

So now the question is … what are you waiting for?

About Consulting Quest and the consulting client conference: Consulting Procurement 2.0

We are leading the innovative changes in consulting procurement among industries. The conference we are organizing for consulting clients in July is designed to help professionals in need of consulting understand how to buy consulting in an efficient way for their company. Consulting Procurement 2.0: Getting More Out of Your Consulting in New York City on July 19th will give you these tools and more. Please contact us for registration packages and information.

SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE

SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE

While discussing with our clients over the last two years, we have realized that they were eager to know more about trends and best practices in consulting procurement, but that there was very little material for them to read and learn from.

In response, Consulting Quest has decided to launch a survey on how companies buy consulting to help consulting clients to get the best value of their consulting spend.

The survey will get participants from all over the world to identify trends and best practices and build a playbook for consulting clients.

If you have 10 minutes to share your experience and get access to the results, just follow the link below before July 5th

Survey ‘Consulting Procurement 2.0

The results will be shared during our C3 conference Consulting Procurement 2.0: Getting more of your Consulting held on July 19th in New York, and will be available for all survey participants after the conference.