Who is a Business Consultant or Consulting Manager?
A Consultant is an individual expert in one or more fields within an industry or a knowledge-intensive consulting company offering consultancy services in different fields to guide and advise clients upon how they can remain competitive in the market and make improvements in their businesses with innovation and generate revenues accordingly. There can be a team of consultants having expertise in their fields within a consulting firm. These fields can be engineering, Information Technology (IT), project management, environment and social, legal, etc.
Purpose of Hiring a Consulting Company
Consultancy trend has been gaining momentum in last two decades or so wherein companies/businesses prefer to engage consultants or consulting firms for one of the following purposes to get the job done professionally with no compromise on the quality of work:
- Searching for some specific skills not available within the organization;
- Need for professional or specialized skills;
- focus on the primary business while outside expertise can be utilized for temporary work
- Requirement of third party independent audit or assessment of some specified task already done or expected to be done in future
Types of Consulting Companies
There are many types of consulting companies available in the market varying in specialization, and size. Big consulting firms offer end to end solutions to business problems whereas on the other hand, small firms are offering specialized skills and expertise based on industry knowledge. Some of the consulting companies are briefly discussed below:
Strategy Consulting Companies
Strategy consulting companies are normally small or medium in size. Such consulting firms are offering strategic advice to businesses varying from project to project. Strategy consulting firms assess the problems in businesses and recommend the most suitable solutions to those problems having no generic solution most of the time. Such consulting firms are also known as innovators because they cater to the needs of businesses by creating custom strategies meeting expectations of clients. Strategy consulting firms chalk out the framework to resolve the issues and make a strategy to implement the possible remedies in line with business requirements. This intensive exercise involves in-depth planning on a long term basis, restructuring of the company, rationalizing the services and business appraisal for the company.
Technology Consulting Companies
Technology consulting companies normally encompass a broad range of services since the technology itself is a very diverse field. Such consulting companies provide their clients with all the necessary tools required to get benefits in the best possible manner from the available systems. In such services, consulting companies implement and administer an IT system in their client business. Technology consulting firms most of the times do not have knowledge of their client industry due to their nature of work. In the case of a complex industry, consulting managers being representatives of these consulting companies work side by side with other consultants being specialists in that industry. Technology consulting firms provide valuable advice to their clients which include: any provision of software, any specific information needed, analysis and design of systems, feasibility studies, evaluating computer hardware functions.
Engineering Consulting Companies
Engineering consulting companies are normally hired side by side on large infrastructure projects in the field of civil engineering. Such projects may include dams & hydropower projects, transportation projects, high rise building projects, etc. Consulting manager being the authorized representative of engineering consulting firms leads the consulting team to do feasibility studies, engineering design and supervision works for these projects as required by the clients, whereas Engineering and Management consultants on such infrastructure projects are engaged on a long term basis till completion of the project.
Monitoring & Evaluation Consulting Companies
The primary objective of hiring such consulting companies is to assist the clients to efficiently and effectively manage their duties during the project implementation. Such consulting firms are responsible for the overall management of the project, updating overall planning of the project, develop user-friendly interactive web-based Project Monitoring Information System, assist the client in budget control measures, reviewing the quality control and assurance record and develop plans for client to deal with all stakeholders involved in the implementation of project. These consulting firms also monitor the performance of engineering consultants and contractors and directly report to clients regarding problems hindering work progress and advise workable solutions to those problems.
Legal Consulting Companies
Legal consulting companies are hired by clients to get legal advice and assistance in respect of any legal issues or obligations that may affect the business. Such consulting firms provide legal opinion by doing a thorough investigation of a particular sector of industry wherein the client is operating and they also do legal documentation as per the requirements of the client.
In most cases, legal consulting firms have command in a particular field. However, there may be a different scenario in some cases. Because of expertise and skills, legal consulting firms can be engaged by the clients on a long-term basis or for a particular task requiring legal advice. This is done by most of the clients to ensure that their businesses are working in line with existing laws and regulations of that particular country.
Environment & Social Consulting Companies
In mega infrastructure projects such as construction of dams & reservoirs, there are high chances that ecosystem and social life of local inhabitants will be disturbed due to such projects, clients prefer to engage separate environment and social consulting firms to develop requisite environment and social management plans so that ecosystem and local inhabitants are disturbed as minimum as possible. Such consulting firms are hired on a short term basis wherein they not only prepare said plans but also provide guidelines to implement these plans efficiently.
Way forward for Consulting Companies to be more successful
It has been observed that, nowadays, all the consulting companies offer services to clients or other companies to bring innovation in their work. However, this factor is ignored by consulting companies most of the time. Consulting firms need to introduce innovation in their services by integrating the latest researched knowledge with their services being offered. This will help them to stay competitive in the market and will surely result in increasing the value of the consulting firm and ultimately help to retain existing clients, attract new prospective clients, and build long-term working relationships.