A consulting firm is a company comprised of industry-specific experts who provide professional advice, guidance, and actionable solutions to companies experiencing problems they can't solve in-house. Consulting firms are hired to help businesses solve specific business challenges, often in teams and focusing on areas such as strategy and technology implementations. Consultants can be independent experts or work for consultancies like McKinsey. When companies are faced with mission-critical challenges or problems that require specialized expertise, an efficient way to resolve the issue may be to contact a consulting firm.
For example, a large consumer electronics manufacturer that has decided to merge with a competitor of similar size may need the expertise of a consulting firm to execute the merger with confidence. Companies may be able to make decisions on their own, but bringing an outside voice can help them confront and deal with them objectively. Consulting firms can also provide an objective third party opinion on an important decision being made by a company, break deadlocks between board of directors or factions within the executive team, and provide an objective view of industry best practices. Additionally, consulting firms can provide an injection of intelligent people and brains to address pressing problems when all current teams and people are tied to ongoing projects.
Private equity firms often rely on management consulting firms to help them with specific aspects of due diligence when looking to make an acquisition. Consulting firms can offer a range of services, ranging from strategy to problem solving and planning, and the scope of work can often extend beyond providing actionable results and include project management solutions. When hiring a consulting firm, customers should consider the company's experience in key areas, the consultant's ability to provide an objective third party opinion, their ability to break deadlocks between board of directors or factions within the executive team, their ability to provide an objective view of industry best practices, and their ability to provide an injection of intelligent people and brains to address pressing problems. Consultants typically work on projects for three to six months or so.
Advancing the pyramid towards more ambitious purposes requires greater sophistication and skill in consulting processes and in managing the consultant-client relationship. The idea that consulting success depends solely on analytical expertise and the ability to deliver compelling reports is losing ground as more people within organizations have the necessary analytical techniques than in the past. Consultants may work in their home offices if their clients are local or if their clients don't require them to travel. If the client company does not have an in-house team of application developers, it can hire a team of technology consultants from a consulting firm like Deloitte technology arm to complete the work. An advantage of hiring a consulting firm is that they can consult this work to help with future consulting projects in the same industry or on a similar topic. However, it is important for customers to consider the company's experience in key areas before hiring them.