Yashodhan Swant, CEO & Director, Process LOGIX Consulting
As forecasted by many research companies, GDP of India is slated to grow from 5.5% to 6.3% in the year 2015. This indicates that there will be remarkable industrial growth resulting into need for outsourcing non-core expertise to external entities, mostly consultants. But the question is, do we (India), really have a pool of consultants that can cater to these needs?
Today, India has a highly unorganized and scattered consulting industry. Most of the major chunk of consulting contracts is captured by big consulting firms like McKinsey, PWC, BCG, Bain, AT Kearney, and other of a similar size and scale. The remaining market potential is to some extent tapped by small and medium consulting firms or individual consultants. Most of it is not being tapped since there is a scarcity of consulting capability that can address the needs of these customers.
There are 2 major reasons to why this gap exists and continue to widen up -
In most cases, the management of an organization keeps struggling with non-core activities and have a realization that they need help from an external consultant to bring in the expertise and bandwidth to manage these activities. But somehow with the lack of clarity on what and how much to expect from a consultant and how to manage the contract, they are not willing to initiate any dialogue with such consultants. This results in consulting opportunities in such companies getting buried away. But the most intriguing fact is that the management of such organizations seldom realizes that they are burning out their business potential by not utilizing the services of an expert. The first thing such organizations should do is to engage a consultant to help them design the strategy to work with consultants.
The Consultants Do Not Have Matured Consulting Practices and They Fail To Deliver-
This is the worst nightmare of the customer who has hired the services of a consultant. And sadly enough, in India we get to witness many consultants not delivering the required output of their services. In India, most small and medium consulting firms / consultants have started operating based out of just their past working experience. What they forget to do before they start operating is that they should adopt or build a strong consulting model. The methods and approaches needs to be well defined before a consultant starts working on an assignment. In my personal experience, I have seen many consultants just working on an ad-hoc basis. In most contracts the scope of engagement is not clearly defined. And this contributes to the failure of the consulting contract to a large extent.
To be able to successfully cater to consulting assignments that will be catalyzed due to the economical growth, here are some of the aspects that the consulting firms / consultants in India need to work on-
· Build a Brand
What the potential customers look at is how your brand is positioned. Some of the key questions in the minds of the potential customers are - does it look like a sound organization; does the consulting organization have a well proven track; does the consultant posses right technical and project management capabilities? The consultant's brand should be able to address these concerns.
· Build A Competent Team
The consulting firm should have the right resource pool. All the resources should be competent in the job that they are going to perform within the consulting assignments, be it the front facing role or a support role. Having a competent team will reflect in the way the assignment is handled. The customers really take a note of that.
· Develop And Establish A Strong Consulting Model
Having competent people only cannot result into successful turnaround of the consulting assignment. The consulting organization should have a clearly defined path of how the engagement will proceed from start to end. What will be the key phases and activities; what will be the key roles; how the information will be managed; what will be the deliverable, etc. All these should be well defined within the consulting model.
· Publish Success Stories
Every success story should get published so that all other potential clients get a feel that this is the right consulting firm for them. In most cases, the potential clients' shortlist the consulting firm which has a success story that relates to them. So, more the diversity in your success stories the better.
· Establish A Knowledge Management Process
When you start building your consulting business and you keep on turning around more and more assignments, you already have an ample amount of knowledge generated through these experiences. A process for managing that knowledge will help not only in streamlining similar projects in future but will also in developing newer consulting services.
India currently offers a great platform for building a long lasting consulting business that can help consultants to grow globally. A right approach in capturing this opportunity is what is needed the most.