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Lean Banking Can Transform Your Institution. Don’t ignore it.

Let’s start with the great news – financial institutions that are leveraging Lean banking operations achieve up to 30% cost reduction within 2 years, and are maintaining cost-efficient operations better than the average in the industry.
Lean processes are being adopted globally by organizations prone to inefficiency that are negatively affecting their earnings.

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10 Ways to Fully Optimize the Potential of Your Internal Consultants

10 Ways to Fully Optimize the Potential of Your Internal Consultants.

More and more client organizations have built an internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group to over their recurring consulting needs. Their leadership now has the chance to execute their projects in-house or with the support of external consultants. A few years ago, the decision was invariably leaning towards external consultants, and some companies were externalizing their entire strategy to consulting firms.

10 Ways to Fully Optimize the Potential of Your Internal Consultants.
But things are changing. The experience gap between external consultancies and in-house consulting on strategic matters is shrinking.

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” – Bill Bradley

Internal consultants are becoming a solid alternative to external solutions, creating a healthy competition forcing both internal and external teams to deliver state-of-the-art performance.
Consulting is an important lever for business process improvement and acquiring a new perspective on your business’s stagnant areas.
Internal consultants are a valuable asset, as they can show you where processes break down and why, how projects are derailed and by who, and a whole host of other insights into the operation of your organization.
As an external consultant, your team members offer a variety of fresh perspectives that cannot be found in the manager’s office or the C-Suite.
There are advantages to work with internal and external consultants. The secret sauce lies in where, when, and how to use them.

READ ALSO
Sourcing a Consulting project is not rocket science. And it is very similar to sourcing other services.

1. Implement an efficient Internal Consulting Group –
When looking at your strategy and the challenges you face in the next 3 to 5 years, you can already identify some recurring consulting needs. A recurring, long-term, and well-defined need for consulting services is often a good start to build internal consulting capacity. However, deciding to set-up an Internal Consulting Group is only the first step. A few elements need to be there to secure sustainable results.
First of all, just like external consultants, internal groups need to have a clear value proposition. Even though you want the group to remain flexible, their core expertise and focus must be very clear. The group should describe the topics where their knowledge will have the most significant impact and the subjects they will not touch under any circumstances.
After that, the group has to demonstrate its value to the rest of the organization. The group has to win projects thanks to a superior impact on the organization. Many companies have tried to force the use of the internal Consulting Groups. They got the exact opposite effect they expected, and the Internal Groups were singled out as the root cause for project failure.
Last, even though the team could be kick-started through an injection of corporate funds, the team has to be able to fund itself by charging the internal clients. If the internal clients don’t see the value, the group will be short-lived.
2. Always elect the best fit based on your context and objectives –
Like any other consulting firm, an internal consulting group has its own Consulting DNA, which takes its roots in creating the group and the managers’ profiles. Unless you have an extended internal consulting group, your consultants’ skills and experience will probably be focused on a few capabilities: this is where you want to use them. Let’s imagine that your Company launched the internal group to rationalize the manufacturing capability. The internal team has developed operational effectiveness skills and experience. Bringing them on a high-level strategy project is a throw of dice.
When consultants are used to implementing painful decisions such as cost-cutting or making sure that teams are delivering synergies at an accelerated pace, good relationships are challenging to sustain. Internal consultants have to manage a situation where they will still be in the Company after the project. External consultants, on the other hand, can come and go without enduring the consequences. In that case, working with external consultants can be a better solution for the Company.
Last, you might have a well-organized make-or-buy decision process. In that case, why not integrate your internal consulting group in the competition for the projects where their skills and experience could be an advantage? It could also lead to setting up hybrid teams to reduce costs and ensure knowledge transfer.
3. Always measure the performance of your projects –
When you are running projects through your internal Consulting Group, it is essential to measure the impact of the projects and your internal clients’ satisfaction. Having feedback on their work is a fantastic tool to build improvement and development plans. Your internal consulting group will be able to grow their skills on the right dimensions and serve better their internal clients. It is also a compelling way to convince internal clients to use their services while comparing with similar external service providers.
 

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Hélène Laffitte

Co-founder & CEO at Consulting Quest

Hélène is the author of Smart Consulting Sourcing, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your Consuting. You can follow @helenelaffitte on Twitter.

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Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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5 Mistakes When Sourcing Consultants You Should Avoid

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This Week in Consulting: Can Consulting survive the take over of AI and analytics?

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 27th 2019

Can Consulting survive the take over of AI and analytics?

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“As artificial intelligence takes over the capital markets, will consulting be far behind? The similarity between the two lies in their core: data. Just like traders, consultants offer a data-driven service. And, historically, data challenges have ensured the necessity of a human interface to the data. Data is messy. It is hard to process.​”
Management consulting which tends to view itself as an elite in the business world is vulnerable to AI, a disruptive force of the market.
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from MITSloan where the authors explore the impact of AI and analytics on the “giving advice” industry. They encourage consultants to shift their mental model and identify the “true value” they are bringing to the clients.
Read on to Find out More: “Management Consulting’s AI-powered Existential Crisis “ |Megan Beck and Barry Libert, AIMatters.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Meet Sheldon, the Future of Consulting by Emmanuel Jusserand, Partner at Accenture Digital Strategy​.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

How data analytics are changing the consulting industry?: “As the digital revolution takes root in the consulting industry itself, tremendous opportunities to enhance the client experience are opening up and advising clients on leveraging analytics is now an entrenched part of modern consulting.  However, consultants must learn new skill sets to stay ahead of the disruption, according to experts at management consultancy OC&C Strategy.” Data analytics, smartly deployed, can provide premium insights into an organization’s performance metrics, and the complex changes happening around them. How are consulting practitioners embracing analytics to serve their clients better? | Virtuosi
AI May Soon Replace Even the Most Elite Consultants : “The shift to AI solutions will be a tough pill to swallow for the corporate consulting industry. According to recent research, the U.S. market for corporate advice alone is nearly $60 billion.  Almost all that advice is high cost and human-based.” “In 2017, the same authors, as the cover article, were anticipating how the Consulting Industry would face the disruptive impact of emerging technologies. How have things evolved in two years?. | Megan Beck and Barry Libert
How technology is disrupting the consulting industry: “While technology will see some aspects of work become less important, it will ultimately support and augment consulting work, freeing up labour to add value elsewhere in the firm. According to industry advocates, while tedious tasks could disappear or be outsourced to robots, the need for humans will always be there.” Technology is disrupting the consulting industry alright, changing when and why clients work with consultants, but also how consultants themselves work. But ultimately, isn’t technology just getting rid of the low-value activities and freeing consultants for the high-level consulting work?. | Consultancy.eu
Artificial Intelligence in the Consulting Industry: “The business world is becoming gradually more complex, technical and faster paced hence having a good understanding as to what type of information to collect and how to collect it, in order to create long term growth by launching new and innovative products, enter new markets or seek new sources of growth is vital and a must for businesses to succeed.” As Ai is developing, managers are less relying on consultants, but rather analytical tools, to make decisions. But likewise, the consultants can leverage AI to better their services for their clients. | Dauda Barry, Daudex
Top 12 Overlooked Challenges in Digital Transformation That Can Prove Costly to Clients and Consultants: “In the new digital economy era, the demand for change to the traditional consulting business model is more pressing than ever. Digital transformation is providing consultants with nearly 40% of their revenue, but still, there are plenty of challenges for Clients and Consultants as well.” This article provides several levers that can be implemented to guide Consultants and Clients willing to embrace digital. | Hélène Laffitte, Consulting Quest

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
AI Summit 2020 : here are a number of reasons to account for Ireland’s growing reputation as an Artificial Intelligence Island.
 
WORLD SUMMIT AI : The world’s leading and largest AI summit gathers the global AI ecosystem of Enterprise, BigTech, Startups, Investors and Science, the brightest brains in AI as speakers.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

BNY Mellon saving hundreds of hours a year processing emails with AI: “Hans Brown, BNY Mellon’s global head of innovation, tells Finextra that the bank’s operations team has applied AI to the relatively mundane task of reading e-mails and auto-forwarding them to the relative department.” | Finextra
Deloitte Digital Wins Three Partner Innovation Awards at Dreamforce 2019: “Deloitte announced that it has received three Salesforce Partner Innovation awards in the B2C Commerce, Higher Education and Health Care and Life Sciences categories. Deloitte Digital was recognized for its work with True Alliance, Southern New Hampshire University and Amgen respectively. The awards were presented at Dreamforce 2019.” | PRNewswire
Twitter acquires London AI startup as it looks to target small businesses: “Twitter has snapped up artificial intelligence (AI) marketing platform Aiden as it looks to expand its advertising offering for small businesses.” |James Warrington, CityA.M
Bain & Company expands unpaid parental leave scheme in UK: “Global strategy consultancy Bain & Company has sought to improve the gender equality in its upper echelons by providing a parental leave package that does not “imply or even financially force the birth mother to become the primary care giver.” The new scheme will give new parents – regardless of gender – up to 52 weeks of leave with the first 26 weeks fully paid.” | Consultancy.uk

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The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

The New Way to Optimize Consulting for Maximum Impact – Key Points to Apply to Your Next Project ( Five Wrong Approach Scenarios and How to Avoid Them?)
"There is a way to do it better - find it." - Thomas Edison Consulting can create great value for ...Read More

Wanting to Read People’s Minds? Discover Instead the Best Sources and Publications on the Consulting Industry
What clients want? If there was a way to read people's minds, like in the movie "What Women Want" with ...Read More

Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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This Week in Consulting: Future of Finance in the Digital Word

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 20th 2019

Future of Finance in The Digital World

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“The digital world ‘feels’ different. Extraordinary economic changes are happening at such a fast pace. At a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Accenture Chairman and CEO Pierre Naterme said: ‘Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000.​”
Historically, the finance function’s focus has been around promoting organizational efficiencies and reducing operational costs. Technology is allowing the finance function to refocus its energy on revenue and value creation.
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) where the authors help us to understand how finance functions meet the challenges their organizations face in a digital world
Read on to Find out More: “Re-inventing finance for a digital world “ | Dr. Martin Farrar, CGMA.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Big Tech and the Future of Finance.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Future of Finance: Finance disrupted– “As we edge toward the third decade of the century, business-as-usual methodologies no longer keep pace with the tides of innovation and unprecedented change. According to KPMG LLP’s  CEO Outlook survey, 76 percent of chief executive officers (CEOs) admit that their growth relies on their ability to challenge and disrupt any business norm.” An interesting approach to how the CFO should respond to a business environment in turmoil. | Ron Walker, Sanjay Sehgal, KPMG
Do you define your CFO role? Or does it define you? “The chief financial officer (CFO) role is being disrupted by digital innovation, the proliferation of data, a volatile risk environment, increasing regulation and a growing circle of demanding stakeholders. CFOs who don’t proactively define their role in response to these major forces could compromise their ability to shape strategy with the CEO and drive the innovation necessary for sustainable growth.” This survey tries to decode the DNA of the finance leader, with profiles and job descriptions becoming more and more diverse. | Hanne Jesca Bax, Robert Brand, Rick Fezell, Annette Kimmitt and Tony Klimas, EY
Digital Transformation Of The Finance Function: “Driven by the accelerating digitalization, the finance function faces the risk of being reduced to an efficiency-first support role. By redefining its value contribution and self-perception, finance can seize the opportunities that digitalization offers to develop into a digital driver that shapes the digital landscape of the entire organization.” The authors offer insights and actionable steps on how finance can become the digital driver of an organization, harness the opportunities of big data and AI, and grow fast. | Dr. Philipp Andres, Dr. Thomas Fritz, Christian Lattwein and Jörg Stäglich, Oliver Wyman
A Finance Chief’s Practical View of Robotics and AI: “Discussion around the impact of intelligent automation often centers on what it means for consumers, or its implications for the workplace and the changing nature of jobs. But what does it mean in practice for finance professionals?” Michael Burwell, CFO, Willis Towers Watson shows us the practical implementation of AI and its impact on day-to-day operations. | Michael Burwell, Willis Towers Watson

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
The Future of Finance and CFO Summit 2020 : Redefining finance, embracing new opportunities for value-creation in an age of digital business.
 
Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference : In the midst of all the uncertainty, one thing is certain: Finance functions will need to significantly evolve to meet the business needs of the future.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

Marsh & McLennan : Holiday Shopping Looks Merry This Year Despite Recession Fears According to Oliver Wyman– “US consumers are not letting a possible recession dampen their holiday spirit and plan to spend an average of $375 during Black Friday and Cyber Monday according to Oliver Wyman. This is a slight drop from $390 in 2018” | Market screener
Verizon 5G service goes live in Boston, Houston and Sioux Falls: “Verizon 5G networking makes its way to three more cities Tuesday: Boston, Houston and Sioux Falls. This brings the total number of cities with the carrier’s faster network to 18, with plans to reach 30 by the end of 2019.” | Oscar Gonzalez, CNET
Deloitte Working with Amazon Web Services to Create New Health Ecosystems Through Data: “AWS Data Exchange, a New AWS Service, Helps Organizations Securely Find, Subscribe to and Use Third-Party Data in the Cloud; Deloitte’s Suite of Solutions and Services Can Help Life Sciences and Health Care Organizations Curate in a Private, Secure and Responsible Way to Enable Medical Innovation and New Data Driven Business Models” |PRNewswire
Brexit and beyond: The challenges for banks and consultancies– “As the political drama of Brexit continues to unfold, and the future of the UK’s position in Europe remains unclear, businesses across Europe are still in the dark over what will happen next. Francesco Scarnera, UK CEO at Be Shaping the Future, a financial services advisory, reflects on Brexit’s impact on banks and consultancies.” | Consultancy.uk

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

Wanting to Read People’s Minds? Discover Instead the Best Sources and Publications on the Consulting Industry
What clients want? If there was a way to read people's minds, like in the movie "What Women Want" with ...Read More

Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

3 Best Ways to Measure Consulting Performance – In Short, Medium & Long-Term Formats
Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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This Week in Consulting: All you need to know about Design Thinking

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 13th 2019

All you need to know about Design Thinking

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“Design Thinking is not an exclusive property of designers—all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering, and business have practiced it. So, why call it Design Thinking? What’s special about Design Thinking is that designers’ work processes can help us systematically extract, teach, learn and apply these human-centered techniques to solve problems in a creative and innovative way – in our designs, in our businesses, in our countries, in our lives.​”
The ‘Design Thinking’ is a description of the application of the well-tried design process to new challenges and opportunities, used by people from both design and non-design backgrounds. How to use design and design thinking for innovation and better results?
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) where the authors help us to understand Design Thinking by breaking down the process into five phases
Read on to Find out More: “What is Design Thinking and Why Is It So Popular? “ | Rikke Dam and Teo Siang, Interaction Design Foundation.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Design Thinking is a 5-step process to come up with meaningful ideas that solve real problems for a particular group of people​​.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Why Design Thinking Works? “In a recent seven-year study in which I looked in depth at 50 projects from a range of sectors, including business, health care, and social services, I have seen that another social technology, design thinking, has the potential to do for innovation exactly what TQM did for manufacturing: unleash people’s full creative energies, win their commitment, and radically improve processes.” Here the author explains how human behaviors can get in the way of innovation and how design thinking tools and clear process steps can help teams break free of them. | Jeanne Liedtka, HBR
Maximizing Digital Transformation Innovation -Design Thinking: “With the evolution of technological advances, organizations need to transform to address rapidly changing business landscapes, which is the main reason why digital transformation is so crucial for companies that enables to redefine the complex business process into simple and innovative solutions that helps business executives focus more on business results, innovation and continuous development.” This article shows how the design thinking approach could help launch a wave of innovation in technology and digital disruption. | SatishKumar Boguda and Shailaja Arsid, IJERT
Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation: “Designing is more than creating products and services; it can be applied to systems, procedures, protocols, and customer experiences. Design is transforming the way leading companies create value.” The author presents an interesting point of view on how the success rate for innovation dramatically improves when design principles are applied to strategy and innovation. | Linda Naiman, Creativity at Work
Why Design Thinking is Relevant? “In many ways, design thinking is about having a methodology that helps you feel comfortable wading into the messy complexity of creating something new to the world. The better you get at it, the more you’ll build creative confidence to take on bigger challenges.” Why is design thinking relevant to the challenges we’re facing today? An interesting interview with David Kelly, the founder of IDEO. | David Kelley, IDEO

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
NEXT: the conference on innovation through design thinking : NEXT is the annual event dedicated to innovation through design thinking for all those who want to transform their company and who are looking for concrete and applicable solutions to successfully implement.
 
Design Thinking Conference 2020 : For Design Thinking professionals who practice what they preach in their own organizations or with other organizations.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

FinTech Company OKLink Wins Deloitte “Hong Kong Rising Star”: “LEAP Holdings Group Limited (“the Group”; Stock code: 1499) is pleased to announce that OKLink Fintech Limited (“OKLink”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Group, was awarded the “Hong Kong Rising Star” by Deloitte in 2019 HK Tech Fast 20 and Rising Star Program on 8 November 2019.” | Marie Jones, Business News Asia
KPMG launches innovation scale-up with Axillium partnership: “As clients look to tap greater levels of government support for their research and development efforts, KPMG has forged a new partnership with research and innovation agency Axillium. The Midlands-based firm has supported nearly 200 organisations to move their innovation programmes forward and helped raise more than £210 million in government grant funding.” | Consultancy.uk
HSBC and RBS set to launch new digital banking platforms: “HSBC rolled out a new app-based business banking service – previously known internally as ‘Project Iceberg’ and now named ‘HSBC Kinetic’ – in beta testing mode on Monday, while RBS is putting the finishing touches to its new digital bank Bo ahead of a public roll-out later this month.” |Iain Withers, Sinead Cruise, Reuters
P&G Aims For Lasting Social Impact With NatGeo Series: “While brands have been an integral part of television since the dawn of the medium, typically as sponsors, P&G is aiming to take that relationship to the next level by helping to produce a new cable TV series.” | Diana Marszalek, The Holmes Report

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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If you are interested in submitting an article, an event or an ad, contact us!

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

Everything You Like to Know About In-House Consulting and How to Optimize Your Internal Consultants’ Potential
Your internal consulting, transformation team, or excellence group, is a great asset that can make every project a success. The ...Read More

3 Best Ways to Measure Consulting Performance – In Short, Medium & Long-Term Formats
Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

The 13 Key Steps in Demand Management Implementation
Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general. Its implementation for the consulting category is ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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This Week in Consulting:The Digital Future of Automotive

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, November 6th 2019

The Digital Future of Automotive

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“Both consumers and automotive executives put less emphasis on the brand in an autonomous, mobility-as-a-service paradigm. Brands need to prioritize in-vehicle digital experiences over driving features to differentiate.”
Radical change is looming for the global automotive industry. What actions can the industry take to accommodate this change?
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from IBM where the authors explore how can automotive organizations evolve to operate and innovate in a digital and data environment?
Read on to Find out More: “Automotive 2030 “ | Daniel Knoedler,Dirk Wollschlaeger, and Ben Stanley, IBM.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

How will the automotive industry change in the future and how does that impact Europe?​

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

The race for cybersecurity: Protecting the connected car in the era of new regulation: “Cybersecurity has risen in importance as the automotive industry undergoes a transformation driven by new personal-mobility concepts, autonomous driving, vehicle electrification, and car connectivity. In fact, it has become a core consideration, given the digitization of in-car systems, the propagation of software, and the creation of new, fully digital mobility services.” As digital transformation exposes new cybersecurity threats , the authors explains what OEMs can do to protect their cars and customers from hackers. | Johannes Deichmann, Benjamin Klein, Gundbert Scherf, and Rupert Stuetzle, McKinsey
‘The pain is just beginning’: After 38,000 layoffs, Wall Street wakes up to ‘peak car’– “For the auto business, “the pain is just beginning,” according to the Nomura analyst Masataka Kunugimoto and his team. “We now expect global auto demand to be down 3%,” year on year, in 2019, he told clients recently.” The world may have passed “peak car” and people in the future will need fewer personal vehicles. It’s maybe why the industry is staring down the barrel of a significant downturn. | Jim Edwards, Business Insider
The automotive industry has not reached ‘peak car’ as some analysts suggest: “When all around you there are people saying the car business is being disrupted, that electric vehicles are coming to eat the gas-powered automobiles’ lunch, and that Uber and Lyft will destroy traditional car ownership, it can be easy to overlook the basic fact that US auto sales are strong, have been strong, and should be relatively strong in the future.” The article presents an interesting counterpoint to the previous article from Business Insider. Has the automotive industry really reached a car peak? | Matthew DeBord, Business Insider
What Does the Future Hold for Self-Driving Cars? “Self-driving cars are poised to revolutionize the transportation industry. There have been many significant shifts in the auto industry since the beginning of commercial auto production roughly eight decades ago, but the basic formula of a human operator guiding a vehicle using a steering wheel and pedals has held pretty steady across that time span. “ Here the author presents the driverless-vehicle revolution from an investor perspective. | CKeith Noonan, The Motley Fool

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
ICRVS 2019 : International Conference on Road and Vehicle Safety aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Road and Vehicle Safety.
 
Strategies in Car Body Engineering 2020 : Only one thing is certain, that nothing is certain. Which is why “flexibility” and “agility” are currently among the most frequently used terms in the automotive industry.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan and Microsoft join others on new blockchain token spec: “A new specification to allow businesses to create blockchain-based tokens for international trade and finance has been published – and businesses have already tested digital money based on it for cross border payments and settlement.” | Lucas Mearian, Computerworld
Neal Thompson joined BNY Mellon as Head of FX Options: “BNY Mellon, US based multinational banking and financial service provider recently revealed that its senior level leadership team is undergoing a change.” | Karthik Sivasubramaniam, The Industry Spread
PwC’s Reggie Walker: On the Trust Responsibility and Why Marketing Exists to Drive Strategy– “interview : The Chief Commercial Officer defines the CMO role as a juggler, as it touches every aspect of the business.”  |Forbes
OC&C advises Bridgepoint on sale of Bike24: “UK-based private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital has opted to exit from its investment in German bicycle retailer Bike24, with support from OC&C Strategy Consultants. The news sees The Riverside Company acquire Bike24, just two years after selling it to Bridgepoint in the first place.” | Consultancy.uk

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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3 Best Ways to Measure Consulting Performance – In Short, Medium & Long-Term Formats
Let's start with the question - How important is measuring the performance of Consulting Services' providers? For Consultants - as ...Read More

The 13 Key Steps in Demand Management Implementation
Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general. Its implementation for the consulting category is ...Read More

The Consulting Market of Oceania is Embracing the Digital Wave- Top 8 Features
"Australia is just so full of surprises." - Bill Bryson Australia is unique not only for the amazing nature, and ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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This Week in Consulting:The Digital Transformation in Aerospace and Defense

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, October 30th  2019

The digital Transformation in Aerospace and Defense

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“The impact Industry 4.0 technologies can have on A&D companies varies depending on a company’s size, where it is in the supply chain, what its role in the supply chain is, and, most importantly, its business focus. For A&D companies to successfully implement Industry 4.0 at the enterprise level, digital transformation should occur at three levels: customer engagement, new products/services and platforms, and intelligent assets.”
Digital transformation is certainly a lever for aerospace and defense companies and industrial 4.0 technologies could be the key to future competitiveness..
This Week’s Must Read  is an insight piece from Deloitte where the consultants discuss what A&D companies can do better to achieve digital transformation.
Read on to Find out More: “Aerospace & Defense 4.0 “ | Robin Lineberger, Aijaz Hussain, Tim Hanley, Vincent Rutgers and Brenna Sniderman, Deloitte.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

Aerospace companies are tasked with designing and creating products for conditions that may not exist inside a lab or even on the planet.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Agile methods in complex Aerospace & Defence projects: “About 25 years ago, the hype around “lean” took of: lean management, lean production, lean etc. Nowadays, the new buzzword is “agile”. At our clients and everywhere in the industry we find change projects around agility: agile company, agile management, agile deve­lop­ment, agile processes etc. However, the understanding of what “agile” means and what these change projects are aiming at is very vague.” The author explains how Agile methods and mindset can be applied in A&D. | Martin Kraus, Actrans
Blockchain Technology for Aerospace MRO and Parts Tracking: “Blockchain Technology enables end-to-end component lifecycle visibility, trusted data exchange across internal and external MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) stakeholders, and unified operational efficiency across the MRO Value Chain. This results in decreased risk, decreased turnaround time, and cost savings for the entire industry.” The article shows how blockchain technology can be used to improve the traceability of Parts for Safety, Compliance, and Interoperability across the Aerospace MRO value chain. | Kevin Doubleday, Fluree
Harness the engine of innovation: “With aerospace and defense companies continuing to contend with myriad challenges—from insurgent competitors and breakneck technological change to geopolitical instability—being relevant is more important than ever. Industry players are working hard to develop new and innovative ways to serve the needs of their customers, suppliers, partners and workforce at the “moments that matter.” The article gives an overview of technology trends reshaping aerospace and defense. | John Schmidt, Marc Gelle, Accenture
How A&D organizations can achieve digital manufacturing transformation: “In the aerospace and defense industry, tremendous growth opportunities are emerging through new business models, blended partnerships and technological advancements in digital manufacturing. However, that growth can frequently be held back by outdated processes, aging technology and fragmented value chains. By adopting and integrating new technologies, and deploying them at scale, businesses can thrive in the digital age.” Here the author enlights how to improve product availability and profitability through an Aerospace and Defense digital value chain. | Chris Lennon, DXC Technology

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
Aerospace Europe Conference – AEC2020 : This conference will be offering scientists and engineers from industry, government, and academia an exceptional opportunity to exchange knowledge and results of current studies and to discuss directions for future research in the fields of aeronautics and space.
 
IEEE Aerospace Conference : The international IEEE Aerospace Conference, with AIAA and PHM Society as technical cosponsors, is organized to promote interdisciplinary understanding of aerospace systems, their underlying science and technology, and their applications to government and commercial endeavors.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

P&G doubling recycled content for European cleaning brands in 2020: “Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble Co. is more than doubling the amount of recycled plastic in its packaging for household cleaning brands in Europe by early 2020”. | Shahrzad Pourriahi, Crain Communications
Nokia slashes profit outlook in fight for 5G business: “The telecom network equipment maker, which met third-quarter profit expectations, also said it would pause dividend payments to raise investments in 5G and only resume them when its cash position improves to around 2 billion euros”. | Tarmo Virki, Reuters
Majority of UK staff ‘would perform as well’ with no boss: “Micromanaging bosses are leaving many employees craving more freedom to do their jobs, with two-thirds of workers stating they want more responsibility at work. At the same time, a failure to adequately motivate and support staff means a majority believe they could effectively execute their role without their manager at all”. |Consultancy.uk
Deloitte buys SAP and Oracle partner Presence of IT: “Deloitte has announced that Australian cloud and HR consultancy Presence of IT will join its Human Capital Consulting practice. Sydney-headquartered Presence of IT is a 20-year old consultancy that specialises in human capital management consulting and technology implementation. The company partners with SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Kronos, and has won numerous partner awards.” | Simon Sharwood, CRN Australia

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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CONSULTING SOURCING TIPS

The 13 Key Steps in Demand Management Implementation
Demand management is a critical tool for procurement professionals and companies in general. Its implementation for the consulting category is ...Read More

The Consulting Market of Oceania is Embracing the Digital Wave- Top 8 Features
"Australia is just so full of surprises." - Bill Bryson Australia is unique not only for the amazing nature, and ...Read More

What to look at when reviewing consulting proposals? Your Top 17 Questions Answered.
"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is ...Read More

About Consulting Quest

Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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Consulting Playbook: Creating a Global Manufacturing Engineering Function in a Decentralized Environment

Consulting Playbook: Creating a Global Manufacturing Engineering Function in a Decentralized Environment

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #10
Profitability and profit margins in 2016 for most manufacturers pose a plethora of risks and their effective management, is critical. From navigating compliance, minimizing overheads, to skilled labor and market share expansion, the sector sees its share of pressure.
A major Manufacturer was operating through a dozen of separate plants spread across a few countries. Until the commencement of the project, the plants, as a result of successive acquisitions and integrations had been managed individually with incomplete cohesion on an executive level.
None of the systems were the same, leading to major production issues, the teams were using different terms equivalent activities or even worse, the same terms to define different activities. Each single attempt to change anything was facing the same push back: we don’t do it like this here. Equipment was different, processes were different, very often influenced by the geographical location of the manufacturing units. New projects were requiring the participation of representatives from all plants, even in early phases, and the decision making was a headache.
What was at stake?
Considering the challenges and the stakes the Head of Operations asked the consultant to focus his effort on three priorities:

Ensure a successful integration of all plants
Boost the overall manufacturing performance
Increase the efficiency and implement strengthening of collaboration

The goal was to optimize all plants’ resources and homogenize the Manufacturing Engineering processes to smoothly create one community. The project leader proposed a plan creating a central core with regional extensions to all separate plants. The Consultant was asked to assist with setting up the new entity.
What was the consultant’s approach?
They undertook efforts to build an alignment between all the stakeholders towards the new model of setting up a single entity. The new Manufacturing Engineering Head worked in close cooperation with Plant manager to come up with a common operating model. New personnel and management needs and tasks were addressed.
The Main Steps Taken Included:

Establishing shared definitions of all Manufacturing Engineering functions key processes.
Identify the savings potential by moving to the new model (case for change)
Define the core body and plants’ extensions duties
Determine resource’s drivers and appropriate sizing
Develop a transfer plan for all manufacturing engineering teams to ensure full resource utilization within the support of HR department.
Design and monitor the full transition process with introduction of efficient follow-up tools
Implement a 3-month follow-up of the transfer plan

What were the benefits for the client?
The newly established Manufacturing Engineering entity successfully took off, and managed to increase efficiency by reducing 20% of resources’ use. The model with a small core and decentralized entities allowed for a smooth connection between the teams and the next major project moved smoothly, on time, costs and performance from design to manufacturing. The following ramp-up and collaboration across sites was greatly facilitated by the newly defined vocabulary and process referential, reducing the cost of non-quality by double digits.

Additional Information

Biggest Issues for US Manufacturing Today
Manufacturing in 2016 faced some interesting challenges. Shaky financial markets and unsteady growth kept majority of manufactures with unsatisfying results and low profitability among other issues. Even though American market appears attractive to foreign capital, manufacturing in a number of sectors lags behind international companies. US companies in the past few years have not efficiently utilized latest technologies and implemented latest data analytics into the production processes, or in their strategic management.
With that said, let’s have a brief look at some of the biggest issues manufacturing is facing today on a global scale:
Five Essential Challenges to Address:

Late Innovation

In a global market, companies need to constantly implement new technology and innovation, to stay competitive. It might come as a surprise but according to many experts and research done, US manufacturing is lagging behind some international companies in technology and innovation. And that plays an instrumental role in driving prices down, as well as enhancing the overall customer experience.
Special emphasis in this area goes toward IT security, unauthorized access to company’s data, is a serious risk to any company. Another crucial point is protection of intellectual property, mainly from sources outside of the US.

New Products Development to Boost Revenue and Profitability

While you can win customers on price alone, it’s a very different picture to win on providing a brand new customer experience from start to finish. The task before modern Manufacturers now is to offer new and diversified products customized to the consumers’ needs, and to do faster than competition. Non-American companies in the last few years, are proving to be more innovative, and able to provide better and more satisfying customer relationship.

Need for International Expansion

With the strength of the  U.S. dollar, American companies now have the opportunity to expand their reach and successfully enter international markets. Strong dollar, and cheaper commodities might be a solid incentive, but there are challenges too – international taxation, culture difference  and state regulations. The relative strength of the U.S. economy also attracts foreign companies wanting to get into the US market, creating even more competition.

Process Improvement and Margin Management

Thriving U.S. companies today succeed in part because they continually establish higher benchmarks to force improvements; new ideas and innovative concepts are implemented, and when precise metrics are introduced, profitability and return on investment can be accurately measured. These companies also report larger increases in productivity, driven by process improvements, improved labor and equipment utilization as well. In volatile economic conditions, strong margin management is becoming increasingly important.

Skilled Workforce Needs

The shortage of well-qualified workers continues to be an issue that tampers companies’ growth. Sufficient and attractive education and training programs must be developed, promoted and implemented to sustain younger workforce. More manufacturers today have an international approach and look for skilled workers globally.
For Further Reading:
– 2016 Global Mobility Trends for the Manufacturing and Engineering Industry
– Industrial Manufacturing Trends
– 2016 Industry Outlooks
– The next era of global growth and innovation
 

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About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

What Is the Right Size for Your Consulting Team?

What Is the Right Size for Your Consulting Team?

A consulting firm is a dynamic organization that is vulnerable to the fluctuations of the business cycle. New projects come and go, and the people who staff your firm tend to change over time. While you may not have current problems with recruitment, finding the appropriate level of staffing is tricky. A major economic event could shift the entire market, meaning that your company might quickly lose or gain projects that affect your staffing scheme. Whether you have too many staff on hand or not enough, firms rarely end up in the middle with the perfect number of consultants.
Due to unpredictable economic changes, it’s important to have a flexible staffing plan that accounts for factors affecting your firm’s optimal size, taking into account the structure of the business and the market demand. The appropriate level of staffing is not an issue that will go away. With too many consultants, you could lose profitability in the case of headwinds. Without enough consultants, your firm could miss important opportunities to grow and profit. In addition, having excess staff could mean that your firm accepts projects for which it isn’t qualified, which creates the risk of damaging your credibility. In a consulting firm, delivering great value and return on investment for your clients is a must have, but the key to profitability is finding the size and cost structure that works for you.
Optimizing the risk rewards equation
The driver for profitability, in all asset-intensive businesses, is optimizing the utilization of the assets. Consulting, despite being asset light from a tangible asset standpoint carries the bulk of its costs through salaries and follows the same rule as consultants on the payroll also generate the value. This means that you need to find the right trade-off to get the maximum economical performance results from the utilization of each employee, without overextending your human capital budget.
Besides sizing, finding the right equilibrium between base salary and bonus Is very often an underestimated lever. Many consultancies consider the total compensation as a fixed cost and link the bonuses to the quality of delivery without taking advantage of the flexibility it could provide.
Tying part of the bonus calculation to the economic profitability of the firm can not only mitigate partially the risk of the downturn but also drive the right behaviors from your consulting staff.
Another lever can be, to change the ratio between base salary and bonus to lower the guaranteed amount but grant higher rewards if the firm is doing well. This is a deal that many young consultants are more than willing to take as it mimics the classical partner structure the aspire to.

Sizing for the Unexpected
Just like staffing for any business, maintaining the right number of employees directly affects your profitability. Keep in mind that, once you have people on the payroll, you measure profitability by what remains after their checks clear your company bank account.
Your firm makes a financial obligation to employees, at least in the short term, by offering ongoing employment and perhaps benefits and perquisites. When you extend your budget for a certain number of staff, financial issues and downsizing might threaten your ability to keep them on the payroll. Or worse, the pressure to keep up with your payroll needs could lead you to unscrupulous or deviant behaviors to capture new business.
You cannot always predict an economic downturn. Because of this, your firm should add new employees in stages, so as not to overextend the payroll budget. It’s always easier to hire new consultants than it is to fire them, so be prudent. If you do have to begin downsizing, you run the risk of blemishing your firm’s reputation and damaging relationships with your consultants.
Investing in Non  Production activities
When reviewing you sizing assumptions it is important to anticipate that not all days will be productive.

Staff your Consultancy

When you have the energy and focus you need, you can build great product funnels and create value for your clients.

Read More

First by design as assignments usually don’t align themselves to optimize your own schedule. Second as you need to dedicate some time to other activities that are key to the sustainability of your company. Those activities will range from commercial and networking to more knowledge related tasks on research, capitalization, thought leadership and knowledge sharing. This layer in your resource planning is extremely important as it will condition your ability to bring something fresh to your clients and also your flexibility to move from one contract to another.
Preparing for good news
Once you have defined the minimum size and added some resources to handle other activities, choosing the right size for a consulting firm is still not an exact science. As it turns out, with a sizing like this you might be unable to take additional projects and therefore to grow your business.
The secret formula lies somewhere in the ideal balance between internal and external resources. This means that you have enough full-time consultants on staff to provide stability and to inspire client confidence. While at the same time, you have successful partnerships with external organizations and individuals to meet the requirements of special projects on schedule.
You want the size of the staff to meet the level of projected demand. You also want your company to build a network of value partners and qualified subcontractors. This enables your firm to augment consulting staff when the demand for all projects exceeds your internal capacity. When you accept new projects, you can temporarily take on extra consultants. Later, you can scale down to the usual team size, especially after those extra projects are completed. Unless in the frame of a deliberate strategic move, none of your projects should extend your firm too far beyond its core competencies.

Partnering With Qualified Staff
While you may rely on external consultants, you must also ensure that each of these resources possesses the right skillset for the job. Not every consultant will have the appropriate qualifications for each new project. You may need a diverse recruitment strategy to attract subcontractors who can augment your operations.
Beyond the optimization of your cost base and the proper management of your company’s risk profile, working with external partners creates new business opportunities. When you expand your professional network, you can pitch new business. Your additional partners can bring capabilities that are complementary to your core business. At first, this may seem like conflicting advice, but your firm should begin by adding partners with capabilities that closely relate to your core competencies.

While you could augment your staff through relationships with other firms around the world, it’s important to choose those located in countries or regions that offer your company the biggest competitive advantage. The intent is to win new business. This occurs, in part, by attracting the interest of the companies that are familiar with your new business partners.
Finally Answering the Question: What is the Right Size for Your Consulting Team?
Your firm will eventually adjust the number of staff, hopefully, to include more consultants. This will mean that the pessimistic scenario is improving and that you are actually growing your activities in a sustainable way. Even though financial challenges may arise, you will agree that the best time to add more human assets is when things are going well. When your company is successfully completing its current projects and attracting more projects and your worst case scenario in term of planning can cover your internal staff it may be time to consider adding at least a few consultants to your team. In essence, you are scaling up to prepare for future growth while managing risks. Looking at your teams and discussing the capabilities needed for new opportunities, as well as factoring in the use of qualified partners and subcontractors, will help you to optimize your consulting set-up.
Balancing your current resources, while leveraging partnerships, doesn’t mean you need to fundamentally change your recruitment plan but those adjustments can make all the difference on your balance sheet, reduce risk, provide higher rewards to your employees and open up new opportunities to fuel your growth

Consulting Playbook: Optimizing portfolio and program management in Financial Services

Consulting Playbook: Optimizing portfolio and program management in Financial Services

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #21
Keeping the Momentum After Years of Continuous Growth in Financial Services
A major Financial Services company experiencing rapid growth for many years (both in assets under management and staff) faced a number of issues with it. The industry has become increasingly complex with methods and products ever more sophisticated, as the assets under management grew to over $100B, the management required help in identifying clear goals, in pace with the growth. The operations started lagging behind demand and an impediment in overall strategy implementation was starting to shape up. The Consultant had the major task of identifying discrepancy and pain points in operations, as well as to discover new opportunities in efficiency to enable growth.
Diagnosis and Aligning New Roles for the Organization

A comprehensive organizational diagnostic was carried out for all ongoing activities and projects. They were later divided in to 6 groups – business programs with clear outcomes and goals identified (technology, tools, processes, governance, …)
A project management office was developed simultaneously with roles, responsibilities and governance for each business unit defined
High level evaluation of capacity versus commitment was performed identifying operations issues
A Steering Committee was put in place with focus on business programs, staffing, and all accountabilities across the entire organization

The Successful Outcome Produced Measurable Results
The Investment Department and Operations were aligned with an increased management focus, and facilitated coordination between them through the full operating model. A central management office was established with the following roles:

Proactively manage the portfolio of initiatives – current and future ones
New program management approach implemented that was centered around defined business outcomes

Prioritization and capacity planning was significantly improved including the resource allocation process. Equipped with this new governance and redesigned decision processes, the company continued its growth and successfully weathered recent headwinds from the financial industry.

Additional Information

Priority Issues Asset Managers Need to Address
The Asset management industry is under pressure, and a number of hot issues affecting the present, will also shape its future. The core of the problem is the main industry structure has been designed to benefit asset managers and intermediaries, and not the beneficiaries and asset owners to same extent. As socio-economic conditions evolve, the mission of the investment management is re-aligning as well with an increased focus on collective return to all investors, and sustainable business growth.
The following issues should be viewed as priorities:

Business model augmentation with changes in the beneficiary designation
Push to lower fees to match decreased revenues
Higher risk tolerance is becoming more common as the search for higher yield requires more risk than most investors are comfortable with
Regulation emerges from supervision to transformation – Department of Labor fiduciary rules will push for lower fees and for further adoption of passives/ETFs, low-fee players, boosting large, etc.
Relationship matter – winning and retaining clients. Customer experience in the new world is about execution for marketing effectiveness, productivity increases and moving jobs to lower-cost locations.
For institutional managers the human touch is key. Presentation skills are more critical than ever, as the role of consultants increases too.
Improved client profiling, data analytics and operational flexibility will help serve more effectively the diverse client base.
Data-driven decision-making and highly skilled application of it, will help asset managers gain an advantage in an increasingly complex market.
Relationships with Consultants with the advance of solution-based investment products, are becoming more vital. The need for up-to-date investment knowledge on behalf of the consultancy, will also affect the performance of the portfolio management team, they collaborate with.

For Further Reading

Asset Management 2020: A Brave New World
Investment Management Outlook 2017
The $64 trillion question: Convergence in asset management

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

The Hottest Applications in AI

The Hottest Applications in AI

Artificial Intelligence and its application is no longer a far-fetched future, but more and more an everyday reality. All kinds of technologies will adopt AI components and procedures and various industries will experience its tremendous impact.
Greater efficiency in all types of sectors, unbridled creativity, reduced human error, much higher productivity are some of the key contributions AI will inevitably deliver.
The main areas of application of AI include:
1. More Effective Decision Management
AI systems operate on rules and logic. They are especially suitable in a wide variety of enterprise applications, assisting in or performing automated decision-making. Some of the  vendors in that area are Advanced Systems Concepts, Informatica, Maana, and Pegasystems.
2. Biometrics – The Interaction of Machines and Humans
Biometrics is still in its early stages, but it has a solid future ahead. Mainly there is a lot of improvement to be made in how people and machines interact. That includes imaging, touch recognition, speech recognition, and reading body language. Some of the companies developing the applications currently are Affectiva, Agnitio, FaceFirst, Sensory and Tahzoo.
3. NLP: Natural language processing (NLP) and Text Analytics
Facilitating the understanding of a sentence structure, meaning, emotion, and intent via statistical and machine learning methods is currently under development. The areas that will benefit the most are fraud detection and security, automated assistants, and mining unstructured data. Companies working in that field currently are Basis Technology, Coveo, Expert System, Indico, Knime, Lexalytics, Linguamatics, Mindbreeze, Sinequa, Stratifyd, and Synapsify.
4. Deep Learning Platforms – Artificial neural networks with multiple abstraction layers
Currently primarily used in pattern recognition and classification applications supported by very large data sets. Ersatz Labs, MathWorks, Peltarion, Saffron Technology, and Sentient Technologies are currently developing applications.
5. Robotic Process Automation
The task here is how to automate human action using scripts to support efficiently business processes. Currently these applications are used where it’s too expensive or inefficient for humans to execute a task. Main vendors in that field include: Advanced Systems Concepts, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, UiPath, and WorkFusion.
Despite the many business benefits AI technologies can deliver, there are certainly obstacles to AI adoption. Some companies and industries are reluctant to invest or are just not very interested in AI. These are sectors and jobs where machines will not be able to replace humans as easily.

Consulting Playbook: How a Merger Achieved Synergy in the Product Development Process

Consulting Playbook: How a Merger Achieved Synergy in the Product Development Process

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #11
One of the leading Aerospace and Defense companies undertook a major transformation when a merger of several companies took place. To ensure the successful integration, the Head of Integration needed help. The main priorities of the company were secure: Integration of the overall organization, Increase Corporate Performance, and Enable efficiency and collaboration on all levels.
To speed up and facilitate the process, they requested external support in the definition and application of a new Product Development Process reference that would allow a proper alignment on through a backbone process of the company.
A 3-Step Approach to Deliver the Desired Results
The Consultant focused their efforts on building a collaborative environment and helping all parties understand the process with the application of stage gates and dedicated development phases.
A Multi-Step Approach was applied to achieve the desired objectives:

Definition of the development timeframe, with specific sequence in stage gates
Synchronization of the development, design and delivery of key components and systems
Implementation of collaborative approaches to manage concurrent development, product lifecycle and interdependencies.
Review the main criteria to determine each stage gate adjustments to the sub-processes to achieve the expected performance (lead time, reliability, etc.) through multiple sub-projects involving experts of all legacy companies.

This new approach was implemented on the new strategic project from the company embarking employees from all legacy companies in the journey.
Beneficial Impact of the Consultancy, Following the Merger
The successful completion of the project, to the client’s satisfaction, achieved the following:

The new Product Development Process accomplished reduction of development lead times, more effective and realistic expectations, better collaboration of various teams
Improved planning and management of development programs in collaboration with functions
An overall cost reduction of 20% vs. previous similar projects.

Additional Information

New Product Development in 4 Simple Stages
Companies and entrepreneurs often feel the need to introduce new products. And depending on the industry you are in; the process might be less or quite complex. But without new products, extension line of existing products and innovation, it is tough to stay competitive, relevant and profitable in the long run. As technology constantly evolves, so are customers’ needs.
Let’s look at a typical new product development stages and what is the most efficient way to proceed with new product idea.

Generation and Evaluation of Product Ideas

To greenlight an idea, it’s best to have a few brainstorm sessions with your team, and the people whose decisions and opinions matter, decide on the best idea, then go to the next stage. Your new product ideas can come from a variety of sources such as: your employees, your boss, competitors, and even customers. Evaluate carefully the pros and cons of each idea, and then decide on the feasibility of pursuing it. It’s estimated that a third of new product ideas originate from users and customers. At this initial stage, often a niche market research is required, to get a deeper understanding of the potential of the new product idea.

Testing

The journey of the great new idea to the market, continues with development of a Product concept. Once you have this ready, you can test the sample with consumers and team members, capture their reactions and make further adjustments as necessary. After the testing is completed and the product features finalized, the new product can scale up into production.

Customized Marketing Strategy

Even the greatest product can fail without a well-planned marketing strategy and sufficient support to promote it. The marketing strategy typically will consist of: identification of the target market and demographics, branding and positioning, sales and market share projections for the first one or two years. It’s essential to also identify the main distribution channels, pricing, marketing budget, and profit goals.

Mass production and Commercialization of the New product

With the marketing strategy set, and the Business analysis completed, the Management team will decide on the next and final stage – commercialization of the new product. The cost of manufacturing, marketing and advertising of a new product, can be quite high, so the Management should consider all the factors like timing, region, logistics, important events, etc, for the official launch and initial distribution of the new product.
Since for many companies, time is of the essence, a new and more flexible approach is being introduced: close collaboration and simultaneous development of the new product by the parties involved, to complete it and launch sooner.
Saving time and money is always a winning proposition to businesses and customers alike when developing new products.
 
For Further Reading:

This is how Apple’s top secret product development process works
Eight Simple Steps for New Product Development
8 Step Process Perfects New Product Development

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

Never Miss Another Opportunity with the Right Collaboration

Never Miss Another Opportunity with the Right Collaboration

Most talented small and medium-size consulting firms are likely to have run up against the same type of frustrating conundrum while securing new work: staffing limits. No, this is not simply a matter of the number of colleagues on board. Instead, we are focusing here on other staffing-related limitations:

What if an opportunity at hand includes a specific area of expertise that your firm currently lacks?
What if a given opportunity requires widespread geographic and/or cultural challenges?

The good news? There is one word to ensure you never miss an opportunity: collaboration.
Effective consulting firms innately understand and value the idea of collaboration. The internal work habits of effective consulting firms reflect a constant flow of interconnecting collaboration. After all, consultants collaborate with clients all the time—and train clients’ staffs to strengthen their own internal collaboration.
Let’s take a closer look at turning to collaboration to enlarge your consulting firm’s circle of opportunity. But first, we’ll briefly review impractical paths to avoid, as they may end up doing more harm than good.
Impractical Paths
The Eager Beaver
The eager beaver is the one who jumps up and says, “Yes, we will do it!” while not quite knowing whether the specific expertise is there, sufficient consulting time is available within the client’s timeframe, or the ability to reach the client geographically is practicable. It’s similar to that old joke about the piano mover who says, “I got it, I got it, I got it …I don’t got it,” as his end of the piano crashes to the floor.
We’ll just call Charlie Whatshisname.
An opportunity comes your way, and you realize that you will need to add one specialist to round out the best team to tackle the job successfully. Possibilities race through your mind until you recall that at a recent conference you met Charlie (what was his last name again?) who has just the right experience. Or does he?

Do you know the depth and breadth of his expertise?
Does his value proposition complement or clash with yours? What about his consulting style?
Have you checked references?

The downside to precipitous consulting decisions? Damage all around: to your reputation and professional relationships, to your ability to attract new clients, and most importantly, to your and your client’s bottom lines. It is much better to take a pass than jump in too hastily and unprepared.
So how can you accept and deliver on the opportunities that come your way, without taking one of these impractical (and risky) paths? Read on to learn how collaboration can rescue you from missing future opportunities and provide the value your customers seek.
Preparing for Those Forks Along the Path
Different forks along the path can stop consultants in their tracks—or worse, lead them astray—unless collaboration is built into the equation. Understanding those forks is the best preparation for deciding to create new collaborations. Here are six forks to look out for:

If yours is a generalist firm, you often face the tough choice of whether to take on a job yourself, take on a subcontractor, or take a pass in favor of a specialist.
On the other hand, as a specialist, you may be asked to expand a project into areas outside your expertise.

Grow your Consultancy

While you may not have current problems with recruitment, finding the appropriate level of staffing is tricky. 

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In today’s global economy, some assignments will require a simultaneous presence in more than one part of the globe. For example, a manufacturing firm may need you at headquarters and at their plant, half a world away. A high-tech enterprise may require simultaneous services at their site and the site of an important partner on another continent. In other words, while some assignments are manageable with minimal travel, others require you to decide which fork to take: a consulting partner, or a pass.
Globalization also provides the chance to land choice assignments with clients and stakeholders anywhere in the world—an exciting opportunity to be sure, but yet another fork along that path. I remember the story of a French consultant asked to facilitate the cultural integration between Korean and Chinese workers on the Chinese border. That French consultant faced the question, “If not me, specifically who would be the right fit to handle this project for the best outcome?”
Let’s say you are considering taking on a consulting team as a subcontractor for a sizable project. Have you explored their comportment with clients, their stances on the situation facing your client, and how they go about working with a client’s staff? A partnership that works at cross purposes or is perceived by clients as incompatible will not only confuse clients but fail to provide the quality outcome the client deserves.
The nature of a project defines your consulting relationship with the client’s staff. Some projects require you to be perceived almost as one of the team. Yet, the needs of that client may evolve, altering the nature of the work, which now may require you to be the bearer of tough messages—creating a perception among client staff that you are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde rolled into one. It’s more than uncomfortable; it impacts your ability to serve the client’s needs effectively. Are you ready to pivot to a collaborator?

Tapping the Right Collaborators
The ability to tap the right collaborator is your next challenge.
First, be clear about the scope and boundaries of the collaboration, before you approach a key potential collaborator. Here are three options:

Pitching the project together as a partnership: You may gain a competitive advantage to land the assignment with the combination of your respective skillsets and credentials.

Subcontracting deliverables: It makes sense to turn to this option when you need a wider geographic range during the project and/or simply more help.

Brokering a new consulting relationship between your client and another consultant: The consultant in question may just be the better fit for a specific assignment—allowing you to bask in the glow of the value you have added for the client.

A partnership, of course, may be the most interesting and rewarding path to follow.
Building a Collaborative Network
One way to ground your decision to collaborate is to take the time to build a network of highly qualified specialists, over a wide geographic area, whose value propositions and styles mesh with your own.
Vetting can take quite a bit of time up front. However, you can minimize that by taking a hard look at the types of work coming your way and the geography you would need to cover to handle those opportunities successfully. Look for specific partners who are able to fill the gaps you have identified in your firm, and don’t forget to factor in their potential availability.
Regardless of how natural a networker you may be, if you are like most consultants, your time is tight and your current network typically consists of former colleagues, some consultants with whom you have crossed paths, and former clients-turned-consultants.
Fortunately, for those times when you encounter an assignment leading to one of those forks along the way, you can turn to a company whose sole expertise is helping you find qualified consulting partners with the specific expertise and geographic area that will allow you to never miss another opportunities, reduce your risks and deliver the value your clients expect.
Consulting Quest specializes in identifying consulting solutions that boost your competitive edge. We have put in the time, build the world largest database of pre-vetted the consultants, and understand that you need the perfect fit in terms of skillset, value proposition, style, culture, and geography. Do not hesitate to reach out if you want to discuss further how we could collaborate.

Consulting Playbook: Lean Transformation and Effective Measurement of Performance

Consulting Playbook: Lean Transformation and Effective Measurement of Performance

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #22
A leading organization with a dozen plants and about 20,000 workers needed help in achieving its performance targets. They had implemented improvement initiatives in all the plants. Every plant was equipped with SAP systems; however, there were discrepancies between the plants in different countries. It became necessary to promptly design a new set of KPIs with definitions, performance, scope/granularity, and frequency set. A dashboard had to be set up in every plant using each local variable—capabilities, ensuring consistency, etc.—to enable cross sites benchmark, centralize the consolidation process, and meet the management’s objectives. The head of manufacturing decided to ask for the help of an external consultant. The goal of the project was to design an effective process to cover the Lean central reporting and to measure the success of the Lean transformation. The issue that prompted this change was the new Lean Initiative rolling out in all the plants without the corresponding KPIs updated
Creating a Dashboard Reflecting the New Performance KPIs
During the first phase, the team gathered both external and internal resources to analyze what measurement system was used by the various plants. Understanding the rationale for this choice along with the differences across sites, what measures could be replicated, and what measures were unique was essential to completing phase 1. This task was completed within 2 to 3 weeks.   The second phase kicked off with a workshop where the outcomes of phase 1 were presented. Teams could understand the extent of the work that had been done and learn from the other sites’ experiences, but they also realized that definitions used from one site to another were not allowing any internal benchmark. During the following 3 months, Lean KPIs were developed, value stream mappings were performed to understand the sources of waste, and Inventory management was reviewed and optimized enabling the optimization of logistic costs. Among the KPIs developed we could find:

Process efficiency KPIs: OEE, Yield, Downtime, Takt Time
Supply Chain Efficiency KPIs: On Time Delivery, Inventory Turnover, Capacity Utilization, Unit Cost
Quality KPIs: Right First Time, Reject Ratio

The newly defined KPIs were then introduced to all the plants. The First Monthly Performance Dashboard was consolidated, creating the baseline to measure future progress and a great support to the visual management. The implementation of those indicators was automated to focus on higher-value activities
A Path Moving Forward Created
The dashboard was created, and the reporting process was set accordingly. A handbook was developed to ensure a proper alignment of practices and definitions, as well as smooth on-boarding of newcomers. But, more importantly, this was the first collective step in the Lean transformation journey. Thanks to the contribution of all the teams in the creation of this joint referential, the mindset change had been initiated. And, thanks to the visual management implemented, this change was made visible to all parties. The Global Lean initiative ultimately exceeded expectations, leading to reduced manufacturing costs and working capital requirements by more than 7% in two years.

Additional Information

Major KPIs for Managers Beyond Manufacturing  
As a manager of any size team, you are likely aware how important KPIs are. In their essence KPIs are indicators measuring your team’s performance. They can also help you understand where your team excels and delivers as expected and where it falls short of expectations or standard. We have created a brief list of essential KPIs to look at when evaluating performance.

Financial Metrics

– Profit – it’s important to evaluate both gross and net profit to get a clear idea of how successful your team is. – Cost – it’s the best indicator of effectiveness and the incentive to make reducing and managing your costs a top priority. – Sales by region – this metric will show which regions are meeting their sales objectives and which are not; a sufficient analysis can allow you to improve these numbers. – LOB Revenue vs Target – it’s necessary to compare your actual revenue vs the projected revenue. – LOB Expenses vs Budget – this is the comparison between your actual overhead and your forecasted budget. If there are any discrepancies, you can revise the plan, improve the team’s performance, and develop a better plan for the department’s budget.

Customer Metrics

– CLV – Customer Lifetime Value – this is not just about minimizing costs and trying to optimize customer acquisition. It’s about a clear understanding of the value your organization gets from each customer long-term. – CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost is another very important metric, which is determined by dividing the total acquisition costs by the number of new customers for a given period. – Customers Satisfaction and Retention – this is a bit broader indicator as you can measure various metrics to evaluate how happy your customers are. There might be underlying and deeper issues that are not entirely under your control, but the goal is clear – have more repeat customers, offer more incentives and long-term customer loyalty programs, and develop customized products, special offers, and services to make sure your customers’ needs are fully met.

People Metrics

– ETR – Employee Turnover Rate – if you like to get a clear idea of how well you are doing in this area, divide the number of employees who have left by the average number of employees, and see if this number seems appropriate. A higher number should prompt you to evaluate working culture, employment remuneration packages, work environment, employee satisfaction, and the like. – Rate of Response to Open Positions – a high percentage of qualified applicants shows that you are getting the best exposure to the job-seeking market. This will give you the best chance of hiring the right candidates and of optimizing your team’s success. – Employees’ Satisfaction – a major and broad indicator, which requires periodic surveys and interviews to determine how you can improve your employees’ well-being, and thus expect their best performance in return.  
For further reading

Key Concepts for Winning Strategies
Top Warehouse Performance KPIs
Five Rules for Selecting the Best KPIs to Drive Operational Improvement
The Value of Key Performance Indicators in a Lean Transformation
18 Key Performance Indicator Examples Defined For Managers

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About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

This Week in Consulting:Technology is not the only driver for Change in Procurement.

This Week in Consulting

Wednesday, October 23rd  2019

Technology is not the only driver for Change in Procurement.Talent is one too.

THIS WEEK’S MUST READ
“The expectation of procurement is changing. Procurement leadership is challenged to develop strategies that map more closely to business priorities, delivering results to maintain high levels of executive support.”
Talent shortage and talent management have been on the agenda of procurement leadership teams for many years. Tom Graham  investigates why this gap continues to exist.
This Week’s Must Read is an insight piece from Spend Matters where guest  Tom Graham, from  Berwick Partners, explains how the needs for talent in procurement is changing, but the approach to recruitment is still the  same.
Read on to Find out More: “The Future Talent Shortage Within The Procurement Industry “ | Spend Matters,Tom Graham, from  Berwick Partners.

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THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:

How can procurement work with HR to attract, retain and develop the best possible talent?​

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Meeting in the Middle: Procurement and HR for Total Talent Management: “Organizations are seeing the benefits of hiring in an on-demand capacity as short-term and contractual positions offer greater flexibility and speed the time to fill specific project needs. These alternative roles are becoming even more important as options for candidates are increasingly limited – in the near zero unemployment U.S. labor market, organizations are battling for the same resources and need to find ways to expand the talent pool.”The article present how HR and procurement can collaborate to efficiently source the right talents. | Workforce Logic
In the digital transformation of procurement, humans remain front and centre: “As the economy has shifted – particularly in the UK – away from manufacturing and into the services sector, with business functions increasingly outsourced, Powell has noticed a shift in the scale of buying and the emphasis on supplier relationship management in order to maintain value for an organisation, as well as bringing innovation and competitive advantage, has grown.” In the article, Richard Powell goes over the changes occurrent in procurement over the last 25 years, and gives his perspective on the impact of digital transformation. | Olivia Minnock, Supply Chain Digital
How Can Procurement Create a Competitive Advantage in Talent Acquisition: “83% of respondents in a recent survey made by the US Society for Human Resource Management have had trouble recruiting the right candidates over the last 12 months. 75% of them believe it is due to a skills shortage among applicants. More and more companies report facing this talent shortage. One might ask: “how can there be a talent shortage and simultaneously somewhat concerning unemployment levels in some countries?”Can we apply a sound make or buy strategy to talent acquisition? What would be the impact of involving procurement in talent recruitment? This piece from Arnaud Malarde goes over the benefits of looking at talent acquisition from a procurement perspective. | Arnaud Malarde, HR Tecnologist
The Next-Generation Procurement Talent Profile: “Research by The Hackett Group indicates dramatic changes in the nature of work are imminent as a result of rapid maturing and adoption of so called “smart automation” technologies. Tens of millions of enterprise roles, including millions in business service functions, will be affected, as rules-based, routine work and basic cognitive tasks are automated, and knowledge work is transformed through augmented intelligence.”Procurement is changing indeed, and the impact on the talent needed is inevitable. What will the next generation procurement professional look like? This article presents The Hackett Group’s research on the impact of digital transformation on procurement roles and needed skills. | Angela Caswell-LaPierre, Erik Dorr and Tony DiRomualdo, The Hackett Group

TRENDS
On the same theme,here is a selection of conferences that you might find useful
 
Data, Intelligence & Technology Forum : The 4th annual DIT Forum will guide you through the next stage in your digital journey, exploring how to elevate your digital strategy and scale solutions across the organisation and further.
 
The Asia Pacific Procurement Congress 2019 : focus on how you can overcome these challenges and more, ensuring your function’s strategy delivers maximum value to your wider business.

CONSULTING INDUSTRY NEWS

Developing skills in the management consulting industry: “Calvert Markham, Director at the Centre for Management Consulting Excellence, has published the most recent editions of two consulting books first released thirty years ago. Markham reflects on how the skills of management consultants have evolved on the back of the industry’s changing face.” | Consultancy.uk
Cognizant Set to Buy Technology Consulting Firm Contino: “The DevOps approach to cloud migration, core modernization and cloud security is reshaping how enterprises in all industries are building their infrastructures. This new set of holistic cloud capabilities from Contino will enable us to offer and more readily deploy transformative cloud-based solutions.”  | The Economic Times
BCG Acquires Design Consultancy AllofUs to Expand Design Capabilities: “Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the world’s leading management consulting firms, announced today that it has acquired AllofUs, a leading design consultancy based in London. The acquisition will broaden and deepen BCG’s overall digital offerings and strengthen its design capabilities in particular.” |Boston Consulting Group
Aon, CIL, Deloitte and GK Strategy win private equity award: “Unquote, a platform for Europe’s private equity landscape, has unveiled the winners of its British Private Equity Awards.” | Consultancy.uk

DIRECTORY
The Consulting Quest Global Directory is the largest professionally-managed directory in the consulting industry. Searchable by consultancy , name or by region, capability or industry it lists and describes more than 6000 consultancies worldwide with links to their websites and social media channels.
 
 

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Consulting Quest is a global, performance-driven consulting platform founded in 2014 by former members of top 10 consulting firms with the objective of reinventing consultancy performance. With a worldwide presence and a range of proprietary performance measurement tools, we help companies navigate the consulting maze. We work with Consulting Clients to increase their performance through consulting and Consulting Providers to help them acquire new clients and to improve their performance.

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