It seems that BPM consultants are a rare breed.
There are some “one-man band” BPM consultants.
There are some IT consultancy companies that “also do BPM”.
But there are not a lot of pure BPM consultancy companies.
Expertise in business process management is hard to find.
ROI? If proving ROI in BPM is hard enough, proving ROI in BPM consulting is nearly impossible.
Hindsight is not an exact science. It’s easy to say (when a project goes pear-shape):
If the customer had been better prepared – the problems wouldn’t have happened.
If only someone had set the customer’s expectations correctly.
If only the project had been designed tops-down, instead of bottoms-up.
If only we had simplified the solution, used an agile approach.
Unfortunately, hindsight is a hard ROI to prove.
BPM vendor consultants? Most BPM vendors have their own BPM consultants.
The title “consultant” might be a bit misleading. It’s usually a developer or a business analyst from the professional service team.
Although the consultant will bend over backwards for the customer, there will always be a conflict of interest.
It would be suicidal for a vendor consultant to say that they don’t have X functionality.
It would be very hard for a vendor consultant to minimise quoted days for changes.
It would be very presumptuous to think that a vendor consultant doesn’t think of additional revenue when talking about broadening the implementation into other parts of the organisation.
It would be naive to think that a vendor doesn’t allocate their best consultants to the projects with the highest revenue, and newbies to smaller projects.
Now it might sound as if I’m dismissing the vendor consultant role. Quite the opposite.
BPM vendor consultants provide excellent value to customers. (I should know – I was one…) They cannot be replaced.
But there are limits to their abilities. They are not independent. They don’t always see the broader picture. Their scope and time is limited.
The vendor consultant needs to deal with project delays due the customer dragging their feet on decisions and agreed actions, convincing the customer to go-live.
Roadmap, user acceptance, best practices and methodology – are usually secondary.
And this is where the independent consultant’s advantage comes in.
Independent Consultants? Independent consultancy companies provide value for money in specific areas and specific programme types.
Vendor POCs are a great place for an independent consultant. They know the market, know the products and limitations, know what the customer really needs.
As long as the independent consultant can show an unbiased approach in a POC – the vendors will play ball with them.
Roadmap, user acceptance, best practices and methodologies are other areas independent consultants excel in.
Change Management programmes, Business Transformation programmes, business process programmes around company acquisitions and mergers – pure consulting.
Independent consultants have two main assets: their experience and the trust of the customer.
The future? I can only guess that as we exit the credit crunch, more employees will decide to open up their own independent BPM consultancy companies.
Another trend that I’m expecting to see is the creation of consultancy companies around “change management” and “business transformation”.
This is where I believe independent BPM consultancy companies can deliver real value and have an edge on the vendors.