This is an excerpt from Expert360's latest PDF downloadable "Digital Transformation: The 10 Benefits Of Using A Consultant". Download the free PDF here.
It’s now well known that no part of the economy is immune to the impacts of digital disruption. Not surprisingly, industry sectors as well as individual organisations, differ in their preparedness. While some organisations are sufficiently well resourced and prepared internally to deal with this impact unassisted, in reality, most benefit from at least some level of external assistance. There are different levels and types of external consulting support that may be appropriate either to anticipate and prepare for digital disruption, or to respond to and benefit from it if further down the track. This piece provides 4 ways in which your organisation might benefit by drawing on the expertise of an external consultant. Not all of them will be relevant in all cases but many are very consistent.
Benefit 1: Defining Digital
There is no single, universal definition of “digital”. It ranges from narrow depictions around websites and apps to holistic frameworks or assertions along the lines of “everything is now digital”. There is no right answer. Yet it is undoubtedly helpful to have an organisation-specific definition of digital (which can mature and evolve over time). An external consultant brings a range of experience and other reference examples that can help create a practical, contextualised, working definition of digital appropriate to your circumstances. They should also bring a range of relevant experience in areas such as the 'do’s' and 'don’ts' of digital programs. In short, the right consultant can ensure your project heads off on the right track from the start.'
Benefit 2: Independence
It’s all too easy for organisations to get caught up in a rather myopic view of the world based on their ingrained internal language, norms and perceptions. An independent, experienced, confident consultant provides a valuable counterpoint to such tendencies. The consultant doesn’t have an internal constituency or career path to protect so can (and should) ask the hard questions that many smart employees often think, but are fearful to express. As an example; a new client that is digitally immature has a timeline of 3 months for a digital program that the consultant has never seen completed successfully in less than 6 months anywhere else. In this situation, the consultant should provide a robust challenge to the underlying assumptions.
Benefit 3: Strategy
A digital strategy or transformation is, by definition, a subset of overall corporate or business strategy. Sometimes, one of the biggest challenges the Board and C-suite face is gaining confidence that these two areas are totally synched up. There are plenty of senior business leaders who are not digital natives (arguably most in larger, established entities).While these are smart business people who ask probing questions, inevitably they rely on others for full confidence that digital initiatives are fully aligned to the corporate strategy. Conversely, many digital experts have little knowledge about such areas as regulatory compliance, working capital management or shareholder relations. An unconflicted, external adviser who can truly bridge the realms of business and digital strategy, while relatively rare, can be of great value as a sounding board and/or to provide constructive challenge on behalf of the C-suite.
Benefit 4: Resources
Unless you’re a very large, sophisticated organisation such as a leading bank, you’re unlikely to have the depth of experienced resources internally to execute a digital transformation. Indeed, even if you do, the specialists are probably fully occupied on critical activities that don’t allow any latitude for further commitments. Drawing on experienced consultants allows you to turn the tap on and off as needed; Consultants as a Service (CaaS) if you like. This is particularly valuable when you want finite amounts of input of deep specialist knowledge in key areas such as cyber security.
Disruption is by its nature is both broad and not entirely predictable. Rare is the organisation that now has the internal capability to deal with it unassisted while still running day to day operations unhindered. While it’s certainly not mandatory to use a consultant for a digital transformation program, there are unquestionably many sound reasons why you would.