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So now you’ve called a consultant by Janine Morris MRIM

Tuesday 07, Jan 2020

A while ago, I published an article on understanding when to engage a consultant.  There are a number of reasons you could engage a consulting firm, Datacom’s EIM Practice is regularly engaged to assist organisations with business as usual activities or for more multifaceted projects which could range from developing an information management strategy, EDRMS implementation or an entire digital transformation project.

To provide some value, here are some insights into what we see go well, not so well and what you can consider to get the best results from your next consulting engagement.  

A common request we get from organisations is “We don’t know what to do, can you help?”.  In this instance we would offer an EIM review; we would work closely with the business, gain valuable insight into the organisations functions, their processes, practices, culture and future state desires.  We would analyse this information; determine the people, process and technology needs, develop a strategy which defines the specific actions and the order in which we recommend they be implemented.  Each review we undertake varies and all reports are bespoke, however we do recognise common themes across most organisations.  

In a perfect world, a good outcome for an EIM review report would be:

  1. The organisation values and understands the report, the details and the actions required

  2. The actions are taken seriously, resourced appropriately (internally/externally) and a budget is assigned

  3. An engaged senior leader is on-board 

  4. Actions are undertaken according to the plan established.  

Now, in the real world this is not always the case, some of the not so good things we’ve seen happen include:

  1. The report is accepted, but becomes shelfware, for a number of reasons

  2. The report is accepted, but not adopted as they don’t value information management, therefore recommendations aren’t considered or they’re overwhelmed by the number of recommendations made and the magnitude of effort and potential investment required

  3. The report is accepted, but rearranged to achieve quick wins, thinking it will provide a better outcome.  This typically ends in a misaligned focus for the organisation, significant rework, over spend and a confused organisational culture

  4. Another consulting firm is engaged to undertake a similar review.  Typically, the consulting firm will confirm our initial findings and recommendations and the organisation will re-engage us to undertaken the work, usually after significant sunk costs trying to adapt the original findings. 

When you engage consultants here are some tips to help get the best out of the engagement: 

  1. Trust the advice of the consulting firm, they’ve been engaged by you and are the specialist

  2. Make sure you understand what their deliverables, question everything to make sure it’s clear

  3. Work with the consultants to adapt the requirements to suit your organisational constraints (time, budget, resourcing etc.)

  4. Have senior level engagement upfront, so the findings and report are and expected outcome, rather than having to sell the report and strategy after the fact.