When energy suppliers encourage customers to use less energy, understandably it is met by scepticism from customers. Why therefore would a consultancy encouraging its customers to invest in their internal project delivery capability fare any differently? At Baringa we regularly help our clients make best use of external resources (including those we supply), which often means using less than they otherwise might. We firmly believe that, in doing the right thing for our clients, we build long-term relationships which are founded on trust.
The inefficient use of external resources is common within the utilities industry (and indeed many other industries), where consultants and contractors are used to bridge the gap in internal project delivery capability or capacity. Often internal resources are fulfilling roles that, albeit executed effectively and efficiently, provide minimal long-term competitive or strategic advantage and could possibly be supplied more efficiently from the external market. Conversely, a significant number of strategic roles are assigned to external resources that develop knowledge which is of significant value to the organisation. Not only does this often result in unnecessarily paying a premium for external resources, but valuable intellectual property is being lost which increases reliance on the external market. Investment in developing your internal project delivery capability can therefore lead to a significant reduction in operating costs and help retain valuable knowledge within your business.
This is not to say that maintaining some level of external support is unnecessary. External resources are invaluable for providing specialist skill sets, experience and capabilities to keep abreast of industry developments, provide expertise and manage fluctuations in demand. However, organisations should be careful not to become over reliant on the external market and ensure alignment between their demand pipeline and the composition of their internal resource pool.
Investment in career development, performance management and recruitment policies and procedures can help provide a more flexible mechanism to manage the quality and quantity of internal project delivery capability. This in turn allows maximum value to be extracted from external resources whilst balancing the demands of the business. Because consultancies are wholly dependent on the quality of their people to deliver value they must become experts in identifying and developing talent if they are to succeed. Baringa prides itself on being a leader in people management and believes our clients can benefit from adopting a similar approach.