Much has changed in 30 years! It is unfathomable to admit that’s how long my professional life has been in and around technology and process consulting, but alas, it is true. Today’s business and technology environments are faster and more demanding by the day, let alone the decade. Products must launch more quickly. Supply chain is tight. Procurement is fierce. Master Data is an important asset. Fewer employees accomplish more throughput. Robotic Process Automation and Big Data are changing the way work is completed. Not to mention this thing called “the Internet” that didn’t even exist when I graduated from college (well if it did, I didn’t know about it).
So much information is available, sometimes people wonder why consultants are still needed? Here’s my analogy. At the beginning of the winter in Cleveland, in dire need, I tried to roar my snow blower to life. No dice. My limited knowledge had me guessing that it was a spark plug issue. YouTube had videos to show me exactly what I needed to do to accomplish a spark plug cleaning or replacement step by step. Guess what, I didn’t have time and I certainly didn’t have the knowledge to make sense of the instructions. So, I trusted the expert, had it repaired quickly and once the snow was clear, was back in action.
Sometimes when people are doing their top 1, 2 and 3 jobs, there is no bandwidth to take on more. And often, the time to build deep skills at the expense of completing other tasks is not the highest value decision. In personal and professional life, experts exist to rapidly help you keep your goals on track.
Consultants have their place in our economy, but the business of consulting has evolved too, especially within boutique firms. No longer does an army of people need to camp out at a client’s office for a year to introduce new technology. In an ever-expanding and fast paced technological landscape, it is a core CPS tenant that custom solutions are costly to the customer, lengthy to develop and inflexible for long term maintenance. Our firm was founded on the belief that more rapidly delivering solutions, with the best platforms in the market, would provide the most value to customers. Our firm will remain nimble in recognizing that the best platform choices may change over time.
The CPS approach sounds great for the customer because, well, it is! However, it introduces issues to the financial viability of a boutique firm. Bench time (or time where resources are not allocated) increases the more rapid, impactful solutions that can be delivered. To maximize financial health, this either means more projects are required or that those projects be perfectly aligned in timing. Additionally, it puts pressure on the consulting firm to raise rates to keep highly skilled and experienced resources available for customers. The CPS expertise is around process automation and the associated BI strategies to encourage continuous improvement. Not exactly a cheap labor-force.
We have evolved our go-to-market to address the push and pull of our strategy for high value, rapid, lower cost solutions to our customers while protecting our precious workforce. Business Process Managed Services (BPMS) is the answer. CPS has found that working with our strategic customers to plan multi-year strategies allows us to actually provide services and support at below market level rates. BPMS is a win-win. Our customers know that they have a schedule in place to continue process automation and BI projects, and CPS can plan staffing levels in a much more predictable way. Typically the projects we work on provide payback term of less than 6 months. By doing more of that, in a less expensive fashion, has been a great value prop from CPS to our customer base.