Consulting companies that “GET” the value message and those that don’t.


Bain a global management consulting company employs 5,000 people, generates $2B in consulting revenue each year and “gets” value. Their web page makes the audacious claim that Bain clients outperform the market by a 4 to 1 margin. Do you think CEO’s pay attention to that?

They did not say “we’ll make you more productive” or “we’ll save you money” or “you’ll be better at managing client relationships”, did they?  They spoke directly to the CEO and said it’s about shareholder value and return, and engage us because our clients outperform dramatically.

To do it of course, the company will need to be more productive, they will need to lower costs, they will need to to be fantastic at sales and marketing among many other business disciplines.  IT consulting can drive real business value for our clients.

In IT there are  4 main directions to drive value.

  • Competitive Advantage – Develop that “thing” that peers do not have, drive customers to the business and retain them.
  • Better Management of the Portfolio – The ability to reduce the investment in status quo operations and free-up dollars for high value innovation that make the business better.
  • Execution – The ability to lower the cost of development, lower the time to market for new solutions and lower the cost and incidence of failure.
  • Operations – Systems that companies need, need to be usable, available, perform, be trustworthy, secure and private where required.

Competitive Advantage

Why is FedEx successful? Good Marketing? Good Delivery? Friendly drivers? or was the fact that they were the first courier company that could actually tell you where your package was at any time and the moment it was delivered?

The single largest value driver for a commercial client is competitive advantage. Competitive advantage drives revenue, profit, market share and shareholder  value. As consultants our largest contribution is helping out commercial clients find and execute on the solution that places them not just ahead but well ahead of their competitors and sustains them in the lead.

  • Fedex
  • Amazon
  • iTunes

Three companies were their IT competitive advantage is clearly the reason for their success.

Great IT Portfolio Management

The ability to reduce the investment in status quo operations and free-up dollars for high value innovation that make the business better drives value.

  • Determine the strategic importance of IT projects to the business to:
    • extend capability,
    • expand by transforming and improve process or business model
    • extract constraints and release resources
  • Evaluate the evolving IT capabilities of competitors that could threaten your industry position
  • Allocate dollars across the portfolio of IT investments to ensure an efficient risk return?
  • Make  trade-offs in managing the IT portfolio
  • Effectively execute on major IT programs
  • Ensure protection from operational and security risks
  • Reduce investments in sustaining and increase investments in creating new capability


When you take a high cost on-premise service and make a better one available in the cloud for much less you drive value by extending capability and extracting cost and resources that can be applied more productively.

Excellence in Execution

Excellence in execution drives value. When 80% of all IT projects are failing to produce promised results, what’s wrong?  Most of the time, its flaws in execution. There are paradigm changing technologies available today that will drive cut the cost of development by 50% or more and deliver solutions to market 3 or 4 times faster than just a few years ago. To leverage them demands a high degree of excellence in execution otherwise few of these advantages will make it past a pilot and remainder result in over-budget, over-schedule failed projects. You can drive business value through excellence in execution leveraging the technologies that provide the most business advantage and seeing the process all the way through to full adoption and optimized use.

Rock-Solid Operations

A brilliantly designed system, impeccably implemented, with users training to extract optimal use from it is valueless if it’s not available when the business needs it. A system that leaks competitive or private information is also valueless. A system that cannot scale up and down to meet the demand cycles of your business is again valueless. You can drive business value by creating a certainty that a system critical to the business is always there when it is needed. It requires focus on process, on technology and on the people who are responsible for the continuous delivery of the service to the end consumer.

Check to see that you are truly driving business value in your engagements.

  • Is your solution or service “me-too” or are you creating unique  advantage for your client?
  • Is their traceable and verifiable alignment with your client’s business goals and objectives?
  • Are you extending business capability, optimizing or transforming the business model?
  • Are extracting cost and resources from the current environment that can provide resources to build their business in other ways?
  • Is your solution focused well beyond deployment to the actual adoption and use of the system where you can measure the benefits received?
  • Have you delivered a technical solution that will stay running, validated the operational processes with the full  trained staff?


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