Public Sector Tendering – To Bid or Not to Bid ……

The Government’s approach to encourage smaller companies (SMEs) to compete for contracts in the Public Sector often gives false hope to those looking to break into what is generally perceived as the preserve of ‘Blue Chip’ organisations; larger companies who can afford to have standing large scale sales teams and bid teams. These small companies frequently ‘have a go’ at Public Sector tendering with little or no preparation and quickly become despondent when they don’t immediately succeed. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

I have had the opportunity to work closely with many SME companies over recent years assisting them to establish and improve their own Public Sector bid response and project delivery capability, and I see the same errors made time and again by small companies.  Many of these SMEs are excellent in what they do professionally, expediting sales and delivery of their product or service. They are frequently engaged either by larger ‘Blue Chip’ companies or even just bigger SME organisations, both of whom use them as their sole delivery subcontractor camouflaged under their own brand. All too often an SME’s eagerness to get on with a tender response happens before it is really ready.

So What’s The Bid Process? – Sorry, but you’ve got to do your homework first and this homework comes in 3 key parts:

Create a single repository of information – Your Company Knowledge Bank

  • All company details – registration/VAT/accounts/DUNS/insurance etc
  • All company policies – Environmental/H&S/Equality & Diversity etc.
  • Company accreditations – ISO9001/27001/14001/CHAS etc
  • Case studies – your stories showing scale, complexity, innovation, quality, project control etc.

Read and understand the tender requirement – Can the company deliver the clients’ need?
Establish a company capabilities matrix – what is done best/well/not so well and grade it harshly – as an decision aide on whether to respond to a tender opportunity or to ‘No Bid’ it. Although it sounds obvious the Statement of User Requirement (SUR) is frequently misunderstood and significant time and effort is wasted responding to something that the company cannot do well or, worse still, cannot do at all.

Read and answer the question asked
Sounds easy? Unfortunately lengthy responses proclaiming the companies virtues and expertise in a subject which they know a great deal about frequently misses the crux of the question posed. You write lots but don’t actually answer the question.  When the question is understood the response needs to be clear, concise, accurate, appropriate and complete.

On our website you will find our simple ‘fit to bid’ assessment. This is a basic aide memoire for you to build your tender capability. It’s a start. There is a mass of information in the public domain which can seem quite overwhelming – like trying to get a cup of water from Niagara Falls. Steel yourself, establish a disciplined bid process and procedure and work your way through it. For SMEs the Public Sector is now a much easier place to find and respond to opportunities which 20 years ago, would have been out of reach.

So if you’re an SME considering the Public Sector to augment your core sales … Go on. Have a go !

John Perrett leads Felber Consulting’s Tendering & Bid Support capability for SMEs and larger companies wishing to bid into the Public Sector. He also leads our P3M (Project, Programme & Portfolio Management) capability supporting ambitious organisations from bid right through to delivery.

The Power of Digital Marketing

We had a very productive time at the recent WSI Digital Marketing conference held at the Growth Hub in Gloucester. As an SME we were keen to know how we can better use digital marketing and social selling to help grow our business both now and in the future.

Our schedule for the day

What did we learn ?

  • We already new this but mobile really is first. Advertising & marketing budgets are increasingly being focused on mobile. Google’s algorithm is now punishing websites that are not mobile
  • The ‘sales model’ is changing everywhere … cold calling is getting increasingly difficult. Those that do it (need lots of volume) and often end up competing on price (sound familiar)! It’s about finding and really engaging your on-line audience with great content and developing warm leads that way
  • PPC or Pay Per Click is getting increasingly important – As we ourselves discovered in our recent LinkedIn Recruitment and, to a lesser extent in last year’s Facebook campaign – Google is reserving more and more space for this and organic searches are less effective unless you come up on page 1
  • ‘Re-Marketing’ is a very cost effective way of getting your banner to come up all over the place and is a very small incremental cost on Pay Per Click
  • U-Tube’s equivalent of PPC is apparently very good value (thinking of SME budgets). Also a short VIDEO really is one of the best ways to convey to people what you do
  • Apparently being no 3 in a search yields the most revenue return!
  • According to Bing search has stayed more or less static for last 10-15 year with a few bolt-ons but is about to undergo a revolution
  • According to Google you need to think about and respond to on-line ‘moments that matter’ … ‘I want to know?’ ‘I want to buy?’ ‘I want to do?’ and ‘I want to go?’

What will we do differently in the short to medium term?

  • Investigate Hootsuite Pro as a means to much more efficiently schedule and deliver content through our various social media platforms. We already use Hootsuite as individuals
  • Exploit some of the tools we already have to search, monitor and pick up signs that people / businesses are (or are likely to be) interested / buying our services and then follow up
  • Tweak our LinkedIn presence to make it far more likely that someone of interest to us will want to respond to a link request on LinkedIn and then engage with us
  • Focus on more than creating awareness through our digital marketing. We need to recognise and measure actual instances of engagement and then follow these up as ‘warm leads
  • Better use our list of contacts to generate engagement and sales through savvy email marketing.

A final thought …

The Internet will grow more in the next 5 years than it has in the last 25 years combined’  Ray Kurzweil

Even if this is out by several factors it’s still BIG and it’s slap bang in our time

We really do need to embrace as befits an ambitious SME!

10 ways that Public Sector Organisations can benefit from Kimble Professional Services Management

«Greater visibility of forthcoming projects and both their potential and actual effect on revenue, cost and resource utilisation»

«Increased utilisation of professional resources and increased fee contribution from each billable resource»

«Ability to create and enforce policies and standardised approached to sales, delivery, resource management, expenses, time-recording and invoicing»

«Real-time feedback on the performance of projects and teams to plan»

«Secure access via the Internet with infrastructure approved for Government use in EU/UK»

«Shared data as the whole organisation is using the same information and there is no need for duplication. Everyone uses live data with controlled read and write access according to role»

«Reduced administrative overhead saving of at least 1 head per 50 billable resources»

«Use of a simple fool-proof GUI (via browser or smart phone) for employees to enter their time and expenses which reduces errors and avoids out of policy claims»

«Increased margin (e.g. one 5000 person organization is projecting a 3% margin gain in their current financial year)»

«Much more efficient month-end close – reduced from weeks to days – and a drop in aged debts»

Felber Consulting are a major implementation partner as well as sales agent for Kimble. To date we have implemented Kimble for 35 clients in 12 countries and territories.

Do take a look at:

You may well already be a subscriber to moderngov but just in case … you can subscribe for free and it only takes a couple of minutes.You can also find the advertorial in pdf form on our website.

Supporting Change in Sydney

Felber’s Antje Strauch has recently returned from running four Kimble workshops for Felber’s second client based in Australia. Here are some of her thoughts on her journey home …

After flying for a good 20 hours, we arrived in the centre of Sydney and felt as if we had just popped into the City of London with a few peculiar additions. It was Monday, it was a bank holiday as the Australians had taken the day off to celebrate the Queen’s birthday and it was very quiet.

That changed the next morning, when we walked to the client’s office and had to navigate through streets buzzing with people making their way to their offices. Not without stopping at their  favourite coffee place – mostly all independent, little sign of the chains dominating British streets – for their favourite coffee prepared by their favourite barista. Thus armed, the Kimble workshops could begin.

Some background: The client’s business is providing software for large institutions in the education sector. Their implementation projects can run from a few months to three years; with the odd short-term consulting assignments. In addition to that, they recently acquired another company, which provides similar software to smaller educational institutions. They employ over 200 staff. The business has grown substantially in a short period of time and this is why they are now looking to put their systems on a more professional footing.

The aim of the Kimble workshops was to work through the client’s business scenarios to ensure that the initial configuration was fit for purpose and to identify areas requiring further tweaking. We had managed to gather a group of senior staff in the client’s organisation. Their approach was very professional, pragmatic and good-humoured.

Not unexpectedly, we found that the level of familiarity with Kimble, expectations of Kimble and ways of running their part of the business varied substantially within the group. After having reviewed workings and outcomes of day 1, we adapted the format to ensure that topics common to all as well as those specific to business units were covered.

Sitting at the airport now and recalling the last four days, I can see how our work has switched on a few light bulbs as to how Kimble will support the client in putting their inner-workings on a more professional footing. Concepts such as capturing all cost related to an engagement; and not booking some of them such as travel to “overhead” pots; or measuring a consultant’s utilisation; considering how to deal with long travel days or weeks of their clients closing down in the middle of a long-term assignment; should certainly help them to further grow their business and profitability.

As with any organisation, I was fascinated by some of the client’s ways of working. They are in a similar business to ours – bringing about business change by implementing a software tool. Interestingly, they schedule their consultants centrally; typically the consultant is told which client to work on, when and where down to the day up to three months in advance. Many of our US and UK based client staff would find that incredibly prescriptive as many are only confirmed onto a job in the weeks before a client project starts. Would I, as a consultant, prefer to work like that? Do Australian clients expect and prefer their services to be managed with such precision in advance? Something to mull over on the long flight back.

For more information on how Felber Consulting can support growing, ambitious organisations take a look at our website or contact Felber Consulting at info@felberc.com or +44 (0)20 8891 5073.

The Sound of Change

Working with busy front-line teams to make change happen

As I walk between the stands of a transformation fair listening to the rise and fall of the enthusiastic voices of those presenting and those enquiring it occurs to me that this really is ‘the sound of change’. What better way to gauge the impact of a transformation programme. Although, at this time, I am not certain of  the actual measure. Is it the maximum decibels, the extremes of rise and fall or is it the constant buzz over a sustained period? After some discussion with my client partner we agree on the latter as we really had not expected everyone to be continuously busy over the full five hour period of the fair. As it has turned out our most useful role as team leader and coach has been to provide a constant supply of food and water to the teams to keep them going!

So who are these enthusiastic people causing such interest? They are, in fact, people doing something very much outside their normal comfort zone. People who are going to be returning to a busy day job on the customer front-line after this opportunity to tell a constant stream of colleagues from across the business what they have been doing for the past few months and why. Months in which they have become the core team driving a transformation programme; a programme to build a more efficient, effective and modern organisation capable of supporting an exciting future business.

OUR CHALLENGE

Balancing a full day job in a busy client-facing environment, whilst driving change, is clearly not easy. However, it is a far better way to create change that will stick and will actually become an integral part of that day job.

It takes a brave team and inspired leadership to do this. To do this you have to really understand that you have issues in the first place. You have to explore them, open them up and even when you have done this there may be other problems lurking underneath. As a leader you need to understand very clearly where you want to be in the future but be prepared to take an incremental approach to achieving it, giving your team enough length of runway to try things out, employing innovative approaches to unlocking the potential of your people, removing barriers, doling out loads of encouragement and most importantly getting out there and being part of the change.

At this particular client the challenge was to build a modern organisation capable of supporting an expanding portfolio of both traditional and new-technology based services for both government and commercial customers. The client had already taken the decision to invest in building new capabilities using a ‘hothouse’ approach. A separate team was created with a mix of new and existing staff to ensure that the right skills, processes and ways of working were available right from the start. However, there was a big risk that this would develop into ‘NewCo’ and ‘OldCo’.  It was just as important to ensure that the broader organisation could take on the support, not just of those new services already identified but a range of other new products and services too. This requirement to really ‘up the game’ across the organisation led to the creation of a transformation programme focusing on four critical areas: communications, behaviours & new ways of working, standards & procedures and the transition of services from design & delivery into operational support.

OUR APPROACH

We realised from the start that the key to success in this busy customer-focused organisation was to create a pull for change from the staff themselves, providing coaching and support rather than trying to impose any processes or ways of working from the recently created ‘new services’ team or from a consultancy kit bag.

We created four teams all led by permanent members of staff with sponsors, who were able to provide a customer perspective, and members including staff from related parts of the organisation such as project and programme delivery, communications and HR. We launched the programme much to the surprise of some staff, that they had been given this opportunity and, the concern of other staff, that they would be able to find the time. With gentle urging and reassurance we got things going, giving each team specific input from earlier research and other sources – such as the recent employee survey – and we started a pattern of weekly checkpoint meetings giving the teams a focal point and us the opportunity to help them. Early on we established the principle that the teams were facilitators. Their role was to identify or confirm issues, to design an approach and plan, and most importantly to work with others in the broader organisation to ratify the issues and approach and of course to take things forward.

EARLY SIGNS OF CHANGE

Using this approach we were able to implement some good early wins, particularly in the communications area. We were also able to develop a comprehensive action plan to address barriers to effectiveness identified by staff; a plan that was steadily worked through by the team with their immediate colleagues as well as other business colleagues.  We also developed a process maturity model and an approach to assessment which engaged many different areas of the client organisation and resulted in some significant early improvements, particularly in the ability of the broader team to respond smoothly and seamlessly to end-customer issues.

This was never plain sailing, as often the teams were diverted by day to day priorities, but the key thing was maintaining the motivation and enthusiasm to move things forward bit by bit. Once people realised that they had leadership support and were genuinely empowered to make a difference, they tried to manage their time so that between them things were possible. Some people, of course, moved on to other things over the course of time, but this was then an opportunity for others to get involved. We also kicked off other new initiatives such as a workforce strategy and a programme to help all team leaders and teams across the client organisation to manage themselves effectively and to create more headroom for training and up-skilling.

About 9 months into the programme a transformation manager joined the team. This was a new role and another sign that this organisation was taking change and continuous improvement seriously. What was interesting was that one of her first comments was to liken our approach to that of Team GB’s Olympic Cycling team where success was described by head coach Dave Brailsford as being due to ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’.

NO LEADERSHIP NO CHANGE

As leader of this team, my client partner enjoyed seeing her people getting involved, unleashing  their potential, coming up with ideas, practising new-found skills (such as presenting and facilitating), being an inspiration and source of ideas for other parts of the organisation and really feeling proud of their achievements. ‘It’s very easy for a leader to view things from his or her own perspective and to get frustrated when people do not respond to calls for action or to what appear to be obvious issues that need fixing. However, there are often myths that need dispelling, barriers (physical and emotional) that need removing, a vision of the future that needs constantly to be reinforced and on top of that generous amounts of encouragement provided as people start to work differently. That is a key part of my role’.

As consultant and coach, I believe that this could not have been done without a team willing to recognise their issues, not just at a superficial level resulting in limited action and failure to address the real causes, but at a fundamental level that created the energy and enthusiasm to fuel an incremental approach to improvement that was there to stay. ‘It also takes a team willing to take risks -firstly with a new approach that focuses on outcomes not activities and allows a good degree of flexibility in how and when they are achieved, secondly with a very proactive, highly visual and engaging communication style requiring people to ‘put their heads above the parapet’ with often surprising and very pleasing results!’

THE EVIDENCE

A year after launching the programme there was still a way to go but the crucial point was that much of the approach was, at that stage, embedded and therefore could continue to flourish. We held another transformation fair at that time, but on that occasion it was organised by the new transformation manager and with a number of new faces on the teams. Some really professional touches and some innovative ways of presenting the progress to date made an excellent impression on all who attended.These ideas all came from team members.

One of the features at this transformation fair was the recently completed staff survey. Early feedback showed that the number of surveys completed had nearly doubled over the previous year so we were not sure what to expect.  We thought that staff might come up with feedback identifying more barriers to effectiveness and that would be because they knew it was worth the effort. They would now be confident that everyone would work together and do their best to address them. In fact we made some stunning improvements in many of the categories that were within our power to influence. Overall we achieved the most improved score in the organisation.

I reckon that the ‘Sound of Change’ will be heard in this organisation for some time to come!

Suzanne Felber leads Felber Consulting’s approach to business transformation which is flexible, outcome-based and rooted in people and teams. Give her a call on +44 (0)7515 895156 or contact Felber Consulting at info@felberc.com or +44 (0)20 8891 5073.

Local Authority contract review and renegotiation

By David Petie

What happens when outsourced services from yesteryear no longer suit today’s city hall challenges?

In many local authorities, council staff are being made redundant whilst outsource providers seem to remain unscathed. The Council working environment is now defined by part-time working, job sharing, redundancies and empty desks, and in some cases, completely empty offices.

Long-term outsourcing deals are not as common as they once were. However, there are some councils that are stuck with contracts established during the last Government. The current Coalition Government has brought with it an agenda of change that is unprecedented. Many local councils are struggling to cope with the severity of the cuts and are looking for innovative ways to reduce their costs. Operating within an outsource contract negotiated prior to this period of severe budget reduction is challenging. Explaining to beleaguered council staff that they must do more with less whilst their erstwhile colleagues across in the outsource provider carry on as usual is difficult.

It can also be extremely frustrating when the service an outsource company provides is less than satisfactory. Many providers can be operating with backlogs, whether it be in call centres or processing benefits claims. When a provider has many councils as clients it is common for them to play one council off against another. Resource provision, service levels and the quality of work can vary across contracts. In recent surveys satisfaction with outsource providers is lower than one would expect.

A common problem is that the initial contract was hurriedly agreed. The terms and conditions are generally appropriate, but the description of services and related obligations might need revisiting, partly because both parties now understand the nature of the work required, and the fact that circumstances have changed.

There is a case for reviewing the scope of the outsource contract and determining whether the council has reduced its own capability, limiting is ability to manage contractors effectively.

Any review of contractual agreements with outsource providers should provide the following benefits:-

  • Maximise performance of the outsource provider.
  • Understand the pricing complexities and implement a simpler solution, if necessary.
  • Deliver sustainable cost savings (usually) in the region of 15%.
  • Realign the contract to reflect current needs.
  • Enhance Council’s capability for managing outsource contracts.

Renegotiation is common at the moment: most outsource providers recognise that a renegotiated contract is better than termination. Changing business conditions and the reduction in the services provided by Councils means that readjustments of commercial arrangements are now seen as normal. For instance, many Councils find themselves with ICT outsourcing agreements that are ineffective. Working out what the exact ICT needs of the Council are in light of recent budgetary cuts and legislation is important and will drive any renegotiation.

David Petie

Community – for me that means the world!

Denise Pavey has a passion for cross cultural working and believes that this has brought a much broader perspective to her consulting work.

My next trip abroad is to Nepal and Pakistan in February and March 2014. I have been going to that part of the world since 1992. It’s hard to answer the question ‘Why do you go’? In one way I go because it feels to me like a second home. In another way I go to see places, people and to do work. Sometimes that work is paid sometimes its unpaid. Sometimes it’s sitting listening to people, offering advice, drinking tea or even just affirming people by the mere fact I’ve bothered to visit them.

I’ve been on at least 10 consulting trips to the region. I’ve helped people in crisis both with their relationships with authority and with their finances. I’ve advised on leadership development but more often I’ve reviewed and advised on the performance and sustainability of charity organisations.

Interviewing people through an interpreter is an interesting experience particularly when the interpreter is their boss and you are trying to find out how they feel about the organisation. Being treated as an ‘honorary chap’ allows meeting with both men and women as equals. It’s helped me to better understand and appreciate different people’s viewpoints, what drives them and what is important in life.I’ve made many good friends, I’ve got an interesting second wardrobe and I can even speak some Urdu … or at least enough to get around.

This next trip will involve some funded business consulting, some unfunded work, some ‘I’m here because we care’, some catching up with old friends & situations and finally some sort of holiday!

I just can’t wait!

Denise is a Felber consultant specialising in business change, governance, strategy development and leadership mentoring. She is also a very experienced bid manager and programme manager. You can read more about Denise and about Felber Community on our website.

Revolution in Local Government

By David Petie

The Local Government Finance Act and the Decentralisation and Localism Bill are creating a revolution in the structuring of English Local Authorities. Meanwhile, in Wales, severe funding cuts were announced late 2013.

Many Local Authority leaders are struggling to develop plans for a future where their organisation is “fit for purpose”: strategy is generally implemented using a red pen. The challenges they face are in understanding what ‘decentralisation’ means, how they ‘empower’ their communities and how to deal with a dramatic reduction in funding. I suspect that most council leaders have been overwhelmed by the scale of changes required: Leaders in local authorities need help. It is a lonely role: they have no-one to confide in and are held to account by both elected representatives and citizens.

We suggest that local authorities have five key questions to answer :-

  • What will the core professional organisation look like?
  • How should we work with private sector?
  • How will we use casual resources?
  • How do we engage with the third sector in delivering our services?
  • What relationship should we have with our citizens?

Councils are having change forced on them. It is so easy to write trite prose about the necessity to be an ‘adaptive organisation’, ready to embrace change. The truth is that most Councils find it difficult to adapt quickly to change. The ‘traditional’ approach is to  adopt a mish-mash of continuous improvement initiatives, change management and business process re-engineering projects.

The challenge however is to engineer change in such a way that being adaptive is seen as being a natural strategy of evolution and not born of desperation. The likelihood is that most councils struggle to manage the resourcing issues surrounding change, simply because of the scale of them.

Councils’ resources are too limited to be able to ensure that right people are in the right place. There is a requirement for skilled flexible resources as the organisation readies itself for the future, transforms without harming existing services and settles into the Council of the Future.

Technology is also enabling councils to streamline processes and revolutionise the way they do business. Many people see the internet and its social networking capabilities as the final manifestation of innovation. However, there are many new and proven technologies which, when combined, provide councils with stable and cost effective platforms for reducing cost and improving services.

The next level of detail is about strategy, transformation and implementing change.

Most Local Authority leaders are working with a team whose experience is unlikely to include major change. The very nature of delivering services to taxpayers is stability and longevity. The requirements from local authorities include:-

  • Provide a range of people with the skills and experience to make a difference
    • The effective use of third parties to lead and manage change is going to become an important part of the way councils do business
  • Transformation
    • Leading and Managing Transformation Programmes, reducing costs and enhancing performance, helping reshape councils for the future
  • Help councils to work together
    • Through a range of innovative services arranged with third parties, established shared service centres and helping councils share specific assets, councils can maximise the use of scarce resources.
  • Redefining the way citizens interact with their councils
    • Designing and implementing effective customer access strategies.
    • Reducing the need of citizens to contact the council.
    • Providing responsive, knowledge-based call centres.
  • Use of the cloud and other recent technological innovations
    • Our team can work with our clients to deploy the latest and most effective technological solutions to complex problems.

Councils face a great many challenges over the next few years and they can’t be successful without help. Councils can’t avoid being caught up in this revolution – choosing the right partner to help with the transformation will be the key to success.

David advises on these issues to a range of Public Sector clients.

Firm Future – what capabilities will consulting firms need next?

Our Partners, Kimble Applications, recently commissioned a report from Source for Consulting on the ‘Future of the Consulting Firm’,

There are six major trends, say Source for Consulting:

‘Industry, not geography’

This trend reflects the internationalisation of clients who naturally want their advisors to maintain a complementary organisation. It also reflects a desire for specialist skills, and accepts that this might mean consultancies taking on specialist associates to provide expertise. Also implicit in an international approach is the requirement to have international rate cards.

We all know the truism that Big Firms regularly re-orientate themselves from market to solution and back again. But in today’s world, even small firms are delivering internationally. Almost 15% of our own Professional Service Organisation (PSO) clients are based overseas and all of our clients are competing with overseas competitors to serve multinational clients’ needs. They too must be able to flex their resource base to match their clients’ specialist needs and their presence across wide geographies. The ability to deploy mixed teams of employees and specialist associates whilst maintaining control of margin, expenses and task assignments will become a key competence of successful PSOs.

‘Outputs, not inputs’

For many years the industry has been predicting the shift from Time & Materials to Fixed Price and risk reward contracts. Source maintain this desire is still true – for both clients and consultants. Our consulting clients have devised many clever contractual arrangements to keep all parties focused on the required outcomes. However in practice it is difficult to manage and measure the resulting complex contracts. Successful consultancies of the future will be able to deploy a variety of contractual elements within an engagement and manage the resources, costs, milestones and risks that ensure a predictable and profitable outcome with a fair sharing of risk.

‘Diamonds and pyramids’

Source refer to the multitude of organisation shapes of consulting firms, noting that the classic pyramid with Partners at the top is not the only expectation from clients. For example many clients want to hire individual specialists, without the overhead of Partner supervision and full engagement management.

Felber Consulting thinks that firms of the future will gain competitive advantage from being able to deploy consultants in a myriad of options: from teams to individuals; full time and part time, continuous and ad-hoc. And all at the same time! Only firms with flexible resource management will be able to adapt.

‘Work-life, not work-work’

Source suggest that managers can no longer rely on consultants putting in limitless hours and weekends to heroically complete impossible deadlines. They suggest that whilst the current unemployment difficulties may be a brake on more extreme change, the current generation are less willing to sacrifice their work-life balance in the interests of the corporation. However in this area, Source suggest that clients, and indeed some consultants, may still have expectations about long days and weekend working by consultants.

So it seems that consulting leaders will have to improve at managing staff expectations and engagement with its workforce, but also at managing the minutiae of long working hours to ensure their workforce see the management of peaks and troughs as rare and equitable.

Some of this, the report suggests can be accomplished by establishing technology (such as video conferencing, collaboration software and carefully managed events) to bring distributed workforces together. At Felber Consulting, we see a huge variety of approaches across our consulting industry clients but we can see competitive advantages to those which can establish purposeful, economic and effective working models that clients can accept.

‘Flexible, not fixed’

Source found a huge majority of client respondents were looking for greater flexibility from their consulting suppliers: ‘the ability to pick the bits they want and leave the bits they don’t’. Source describe this in terms of an Associate Model that firms can flex whilst instilling a common culture, approach and ways of working that is the traditional advantage of employing consultants.

Many of our clients run a mixed model, continuously flexing between employees and associates and we think the ability to successfully incorporate associates will be of increasing competitive advantage.

‘The end of the Firm?’

Source argue that clients want to buy commoditised consulting services but that, quoting Duncan Hare of XMCS, this will only be possible if three conditions are satisfied:

  • That services are ‘codified’: can be described and catalogued from the client’s point of view
  • The client understand how they can use the service in their organisations
  • A market exists to supply such services

If this vision becomes reality, then successful firms will need to be able to organise, componentise and market their services accordingly.

Felber Consulting believes that PSOs need to be able to describe their services in the way that a flexible manufacturing company describes products through bills of material and processing plant, identifying their services through inputs, outputs, resources and the contractual elements that define costs, price and billing arrangements. Firms will achieve this through changes of culture and with the support of technology that can manage their operations through a detailed range of services, resources and commercial deals.

Source’s predominant findings will affect all PSOs, each of which will have to plan their own response and exploitation of the changes. These transformations will require the same attention to people, process and technology that PSOs already promote to their own clients.

How will your organisation respond?

The world needs more Kimble Consultants

Since 2010, Felber Consulting has been sales and delivery partner to Kimble, kimbleapps.com, the pre-eminent enterprise system for managing Professional Services Organisations.

We have been delivering to clients in the UK and overseas and we have a growing pipeline of work, in both the public and private sectors. We would like to encourage suitably experienced Associates to join our Kimble team.

We’d like to hear from those whose background includes:-

  • Experience working at a large (>50) professional services organisation, including management or functional responsibilities (eg practice management, delivery leadership, sales, billing/accounting, resource management)
  • Experience with ERP eg SAP, Oracle and/or CRM eg Salesforce
  • Experience in public sector, eg Healthcare would be useful
  • Deep experience in Salesforce is also desirable and could compensate for less experience in other areas.
  • Appreciation of the strategic requirements of a Professional Services Organisations, with the confidence to discuss the technical details of process and technology to support such a strategy.

We will provide you with full training.

Opportunities throughout the UK.

If you are interested, please contact Simon Teale, 07713 115298 or Suzanne Felber 07515 895156 for a chat.