The evolution of consulting

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It’s very interesting to me as I look back at my consulting career, and compare it to now, to see the consulting world has changed for me, and at least some of my friends.  When I first started consulting, it worked for one of the big firms.  They would send me to a project every single week.  It was my job to be onsite at the client, every week.  Remote work wasn’t even an option, except for Friday’s.  Now I fast forward 15 years, and my last few contracts have been primarily remote.  Meaning I make a visit once a month or every two months, otherwise everything is done by conference call, webex, etc.  What changed???  Was it just me?

I don’t think it was just me.  I think it has a lot to do the client becoming much smarter in how they use their budgets.  Back when I first started consulting, companies seemed to just have money to throw away.  When you figure that on average (of course this varies by location) it costs $1000-$2000 per person, per week.  Back in the day, there could be 20 – 50 consultants on a project.  Now, many of the projects I’ve worked on in the past 5 years have been 10 consultants or less.  Why is this?  in my opinion, it has to do with companies finding independent consultants with solid skills compared to 15 years ago, you let a big integrator come in with their army (many of which were learning on the job).  By getting solid skilled people, companies were able to cut down the number of people needed by a factor of 2, or in some instances as much as 10.

To follow that thought, when a proven resource was found, it was no longer such a requirement to see them in the office every day.  Especially, when week after week, the consultant was getting their tasks accomplished remotely.  So this begs the question, is there value add to spending $1000 – $2000/person/week just to have someone on-site.  There is no question that is valuable in certain times of a project, initial blueprinting, major testing cycles, and go-live.  I’ve done projects like this for the past 4 years, and each has been just as successful as any project that I traveled every week.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Is it only certain modules?  is it only certain industries?

Thanks for reading,

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