Consultants in general tend to get a bad wrap. We’re seen as charlatans. Most companies have the notion that unless you’re a financial consultant from one of the big four, they can do your job internally. In my experience, most companies who have this view have either dealt with unprofessional consultants who care more about the number at the end of their contract than the actual job at hand or with consulting companies that tend to send out their newly hired staff for experience.
We’ve received many great comments from clients, especially in disaster recover projects, that state that we changed the way they look at consultants and solution providers. This is because of several factors. When it comes to digital services and consulting, there are several reasons why every company will need to look towards a digital consultant. Especially in this digital world, the need for digital consultants are becoming a necessity more than a luxury. Heres why:
When you contract any reputable digital consulting firm, you are not hiring someone who is looking to bolster his ego. If you get the vibe that he cares more about his/her own image than the project in mind, then turn them down straight away. Digital consultants should be experienced in this ever expanding field. This is a strange field since age and experience at times can be inversely proportionate. This is because the way the digital landscape is changing. A true digital consultant will be able to tell you what social media platforms you need to be on, which ones to focus on and which ones are secondary. He/She will be able to tell you whether your website is SEO friendly, up to modern standards, whether you have a case to move into the app store, how to structure your digital infrastructure, be able to organize your strategy and meet your goals. A digital consultant should be the brain behind your digital team. If we’re honest with ourselves, this in turn means in charge of consulting for the majority of company operations as most business models in today’s world need to be structured towards digital. Don’t forget, digital consulting is not a one time offer, your company should be looking to contract a digital consultant as they’ll be able to assess the rapidly changing digital landscape and help your company to adjust. If you get lucky and get a top notch digital consultant, he/she will be able to forecast these changes and help your company adjust to get a first mover advantage.
Strategy First, Execution Later:
Not every company has a full fledged digital team, and not every company has the resources to create a full fledged digital strategy for a quarter, let alone a full year. Too many times, we see that companies have an idea of where they want to go digitally. When you ask them to put this into a strategy on paper, it all goes haywire. To be fair, some companies do a decent job at this. However, it’s not their specialty. It would be unfair to think a retail company can assess and create a digital strategy for the year, especially if resources are limited. Sure, they can get their ecommerce and social media down, but what about the more detailed items? A digital consultant will be able to help a company improve their digital strategy by assessing everything from the physical operations to the social media. What some companies do not like to hear, is that there is further room for digitization within their organization to promote efficiency and in turn lower operational costs. However, it gets a little touchy because they don’t know the details of how to go about doing this. Your digital consultant will be able to provide you with a full assessment, strategy and execution plan. Most digital consultants also do implementation and execution. This is beneficial for companies that do not have the resources to fully run their own digital team.
Many companies are scared to contact digital consultants because they see them as too expensive and would rather overwhelm their staff with trying to figure it out. This is like trying to get a nurse to figure out how to perform surgery. Sure, he/she has some background and studied medicine but he/she still will have a long way to go until they figure out how to perform surgery. The same applies to digital consulting. Except, we don’t run bills similar to that of doctors. Digital Consulting is actually quite affordable. It’s purely based on the time spent doing the consulting work. What generally tends to increase the price is when you bring in a digital consultant to implement a digital strategy. This usually involves (especially if they don’t have in house developers and designers) a heavy load of specialized labour to execute. Although Digital Consultants tend to also be highly skilled labour and similar rates as an execution team, their hours worked on plans and strategies generally take less time compared to development and execution. It also generally involves a much smaller team and less overhead that generally gets absorbed by the digital consultancy. So the end cost is generally very affordable when you consider smaller organizations who are also looking to contract a digital consultant.
Constant Change & Competitive Advantage:
The rate technology changes at is absolutely incredible. One day you’re myspace, the other day you’re facebook. Processors get more powerful, yet their cost drops considerably. There’s always a race between hardware and software providers to outdo each other. One day you’re macbook pro is a media machine, the other day you’re upgrading half your motherboard to meet the new software requirements. Digital Consultants, should be able to forecast these changes and help you adapt into the future of technology. It is not only enough to do the bare minimum. If you do, your competition will get ahead in the digital landscape and in today’s world that means get ahead of your business too. A good digital consultant will keep an eye on your competition and keep you up to date. A great digital consultant will keep your competition’s eyes on you, making them pace to keep up. With all the combinations of digital solutions, there is so much room for innovation and new ideas. All it takes is a great digital consultant to see this and align it with your business.
I generally try to stay away from buzzwords and jargon that is often used in our field. However, this one is unavoidable. When you build a great relationship with a digital consultant, he/she will be able to tie in all the loose ends of your business through digital platforms. For example, one of the biggest problems we’ve seen with companies is their digital marketing and social media mechanisms. You have several departments that are involved in this process, and have gaps in areas that need tending to in order to make them cohesive. Marketing and Advertising departments tend to gel well, but then you have the involvement of PR, HR, IT, and Management. What tends to happen here is that the cohesive nature of the business deteriorates because the technology demands better synergy between all these departments but the technology is not put in place. Digital asset management comes into play, social media integration to websites, applications, social media campaigns and advertising approval. It gets a little hectic. Every good digital consultant will be able to see these issues amongst many others and be able to solve it by providing digital solutions that will allow collaboration between all of these departments and actions. Bringing down a lot of time lost criss crossing over departments and files. One issue we’ve found is not many companies see that they have an issue with this, until they’ve seen what kind of solutions and platforms digital consultancies can offer. It’s the whole, “once you go digital you can’t go back” thing.
When you hire your digital consultant, you shouldn’t be looking to hire based on price. In this modern world, you usually get what you pay for. Not everything over priced is worth it, but the general rule of thumb tends to apply. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. However, do realize that when you do look at a digital consultant you are most probably looking at partaking in a long term commitment. You need to find a digital consultancy firm that gels well with your organization, that is experienced and well versed, and a company that of course is easy to work with on a daily basis. The truth is, digital consultancy is no longer a luxury for any organization, it’s turned into a need. Remember, that you will be working daily with these people and that they not only have to be within your budget, but flexible and experienced. Find a team that will work around contract terms for you to meet your goal if they need to and not just a digital consultancy that will look at the scope and the end value of a contract. Due to the changing landscape of the digital world, a lot of these small items that are out of scope can be done by a digital consultant within your original contract. Get yourself a digital consultant that will become part of the family, part of the team. Not just another item on an accountant’s spreadsheet.
At the end of the day, this is your business and it is what should matter most to you. Don’t put your hands in an organization that does not understand this or care to understand this. Our reputation as digital consultants rely on your success. So pay attention to our portfolios, pay attention to our demeanor. It would be easy for me as a digital consultant to tell you “come work for us, we’re the best”. However, if I’m completely honest, I’m actually more concerned about the digital landscape in the region. Although, there are many companies out there doing amazing work on the digital landscape, we still have a long way to go. The purpose of this content is to give you reasons why you need a digital consultant and snippets of advice as to what to look for within these reasons. There are many other great benefits to having a digital consultant, but we looked at what we believe to be a list of important key points that all businesses small and large need to consider.
What do you think about Digital Consultants? Drop us your thoughts in the comments section below.