Services designed to help you deliver the improvements your business needs


Why not give us a call to talk through your present challenge? Business improvement is our speciality, and you could get a fresh perspective for the price of a coffee :-)


From figuring out where to begin, through to embedding a new way of working within the group, Some Consultants are here to help you deliver greater value from every stage of your strategic projects.


Strategy and options

We work with executives and senior managers to firm-up their plans for strategic change. For example, we have:


We do the nitty-gritty work that is vital to the decision-making process, but is often too sensitive and/or time-consuming for in-house colleagues to undertake. As outsiders we are able to provide a fresh perspective, drawing on our experience with other clients to make sure your project is based on solid foundations and addresses a real business need.


Securing funding

Strategic projects need the buy-in of the board and senior managers across the organisation. Your new initiative will only become "strategic" with a collective decision to give it sufficient resources and priority over other initiatives.


To get that decision, the business case must stack up:


We have helped many clients build a credible business case for their project and through the process of developing the business case we gain support from stakeholders across the organisation. We love working with colleagues at all levels in the business and are well-practised at bridging the gap between IT and business colleagues to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. Our aim is to develop a comprehensive, objective business case with quantified costs and benefits and clearly identified risks, so that the YES/NO decision is made using the best information.


If the decision is YES, then we know that the board has realistic expectations and that it has committed to actively support the project through the coming months.


Procurement

Often a business change/transformation project will involve procuring new services or technology to enable your staff to work in a new way. Finding the right partners to deliver the technology or services can make or break the project, especially where there will be an ongoing relationship with the partners. Some Consultants have worked with many clients to evaluate potential suppliers and IT systems and help find the best match for their needs.


It isn't just about the price:


There are several ingredients needed for a successful procurement process. Three key ones are a) having well-defined business requirements; b) getting stakeholders involved in the evaluation process; and c) getting enough suppliers involved. Some of our consultants have worked both sides of the fence - procuring and bidding, and are therefore able to offer extra insight into for example, how a supplier will intentionally misinterpret a requirement in order to say they "comply".


Change management

We know we should all "embrace change" and that "the only constant is change" and... well you know the slogans.

The reality is that however amazing the end-result will be, the process of change is a pain in the ass. Implementing business change is going to frustrate some of your colleagues, and if it isn't planned properly - your customers too. We need to take care of this.


Your business does not operate in a vacuum and you need to be able to respond to external and internal changes. These can have a big effect on strategic projects and it is quite common for the emphasis on different benefits to change over time. For example:

  • London borough council: original focus was "improving information management", but shifted to "freeing up floorspace and enabling hot-desking" to reduce the building costs of a new office, and then later back to "improving information management" for the roll-out
  • Leading global insurer: original focus of customer portal was to "eliminate printing costs by providing policy documents online", which evolved to "can be rapidly re-branded and promotes cross-selling" to give a competitive edge in winning corporate partner business when the growth strategy changed.

Some Consultants believe a project can be classed as a success to the extent it delivers relevant benefit to the business, not just because it was "on time, to budget".


We expect requirements and priorities to change throughout the life of our projects, and so we design our projects and our teams to cope. We don't for example, chisel specifications into stone tablets - those days are over!


A little rant:


In our experience too many project managers set up their projects to resist, rather than adapt to change.


Too many organisations end up with expensive IT systems they can't use effectively and cost too much to change. All because a project manager followed a methodology designed over 20 years ago when the world moved at a slower pace and business users were much less IT-aware and more easily impressed!


This old-fashioned approach is simply not viable in today's dynamic working environment and it is giving IT projects a bad reputation.


Go-live + support

They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating, well this is where you find out how tasty your project really is! If you work with Some Consultants then we will have made all the necessary preparations:


...and because we are cautious folk we will have a back-out plan in place in case something goes horribly wrong! In 20 years of delivering projects we have had to do execute a back-out plan only once, but it is always worth the effort of making the plan.


One of the transition steps is for us as consultants to step away from the implemented changes as they move into "business as usual". We take great care over this to help ensure the changes are enduring, and that colleagues in the business do not revert to the familiar old ways. This is not always a comfortable transition for the business and we encourage our clients to make sure good practice is rewarded and old temptations are removed.


Lessons for next time

Smart businesses want to learn from their project successes and failures, which means looking harder at what worked and what didn't, and questioning how much of it succeeded by design and how much by good fortune and good will.


We have run several Lessons Learned sessions which give all the key stakeholders the opportunity to be frank about their experience and help find ways of delivering projects better next time.


As a group we agree on a prioritised list of learnings and then:


It is ever so common for people to leave a lessons learned session thinking that the work is done, when in fact only the plan is done - the work is yet to come. Some Consultants know the real value of a lessons learned session isn't realised until the work has been followed through to completion, and we are all about delivering value.