Thursday, May 31, 2012

On consultants

From a piece written by Dr. Tom Sant. Presented without comment.

[I]t’s in the consultant’s self-interest to make the buying process as complex as possible and to minimize the meaningful differences among vendors. The consultants prefer to keep the vendors at arm’s length from the actual customer and to focus the customer’s attention mainly on the consultant’s ability to manipulate a huge amount of data. That’s why the RFPs they issue are so complex....

But what happens when a consultant is a recipient of an RFP? Geoffrey Day:

When seeking someone to solve a complex internal problem, attempts to standardize complicated, subjective qualities such as intuitiveness, decision-making prowess and other consultative intangibles, can cause project results to turn out less than adequate, even downright unacceptable. In fact, attempting to force narrow specifications on the process of finding or hiring a consultant can doom the chances of project success, souring such companies on consultants in general and further tightening their specifications for future projects.

That’s why in most cases the best response to the unsolicited RFP is to first scan it to see if you (the consultant) remotely qualify. Then (when you don’t) you should "respond" by tossing it away or sending it on to someone who does. In the event that you DO qualify, special steps can be taken to win the RFP, though these actions may well be outside the bounds of the conventional RFP process.

Again, presented without comment.
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