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What do you think of consultants?

30 July 2013 |
Posted in: Purchasing

As procurement professionals, you know what management consultants can do. You know the value good consultants bring to businesses. You also know where consultants have been less effective and where they need to sharpen their thinking to meet emerging business needs.

That’s why we need your help. I’ve been appointed director of the new Management Consultancies Association Think Tank. The Think Tank will ensure consultants’ insights make a positive contribution to debates about public policy, the economy and the business environment. In tough times, policy makers and businesses want to know what delivers results. At their best, consultants apply their analysis of front line realities to the strategic solutions they propose and deliver. So their system-wide approaches and real-world know-how should also benefit important debates on the future of UK plc.

Through a programme of roundtables, workshops and reports, the Think Tank will gather those insights. In the coming year, we will host roundtables on the critical theme of economic growth. The topics covered will include infrastructure, the digital economy, supporting SMEs, carbon reduction and the management structures required for tough times. Each roundtable will lead to a high-profile report, intended to shape government and business thinking.

Preparations are underway for our first roundtable on infrastructure. Paul Skinner, chairman of Infrastructure UK, the government body that oversees government strategy, will meet senior professionals working in the financing, planning and integration of major projects. Discussions with consulting experts have revealed no shortage of sharp insights on this topic.

But we want to make that thinking even sharper – by getting your perspectives.

Many procurement professionals already participate in the MCA’s Consultancy Buyers Forum. The CBF brings them face-to-face with consultants, to help improve mutual understanding and to facilitate collaboration on projects relating specifically to the buying process. We’ve challenged CBF members to join the debate about what contribution they think consultants can make to economic growth.

Now we’re asking you. Based on your experience, or that of your frontline and strategic staff, what can be done to help UK plc grow? And what’s the role of consultants? Have consultants helped your firm grow? Or do you face growth challenges where there’s little evidence of consulting insight and you’d like consultants to do more thinking?

Send me you ideas. My details are on the MCA website where you can also learn more about the Consultancy Buyers Forum. Over to you.

Paul Connolly is director of the Management Consultancies Association Think Tank


2 Responses to “What do you think of consultants?”

  1. There is a place for consultancy in the same way as there is a place for any good advice. You are right saying consultants at their best apply their analysis of front line realities to the strategic solutions they propose to deliver. We welcome system-wide approaches and real-world know-how, but I am afraid, very often I am observing limited knowledge of the reality amongst consultants. I believe it would be a great start if MCA Think Tank work with procurement professionals on understanding day-to-day reality and technics consultants could apply to see the multi-variable picture. Most of the time the issue is in a structural and intelligence maturity of organisation, so diagnosis is the first and foremost consultancy task.

  2. I like consultants. They ask questions and take careful note of your answers. They then feed back these same answers as golden nuggets and send you their invoice. Is there a better example of recycling and sustainability?