Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Strategic Planning: Should you use a consulting firm or an Industry Analyst?

Many industry analyst firms also provide consulting services to their clients on strategic initiatives...

Imagine you want to align better and start embracing the notion of the Voice of the Customer and you hire an industry analyst to do so, they on average will charge an hourly rate in the $300 range. No where on the Internet is any thoughtful analysis as to what you get for higher hourly rates than you would see from typical consulting firms.

Some of the obvious advantages to going with an industry analyst over a consulting firm for strategy includes, but is not limited to:
In corporate America, I have seen strategies be merely a collection of quotes from industry analysts assembled in cut-and-paste fashion with no differentiation nor value proposition that puts the enterprise ahead of others. These types of strategies tend to be cookie cutter where a mere search-and-replace can make it applicable to any enterprise. The hard part in terms of hiring an analyst is ensuring that you are getting something more than just cookie-cutter material, afte all, they have a bigger repository of stuff to cut-and-paste from than probably even all but the largest consulting firms. Below are my thoughts on what you should expect a strategy to contain, if you hire an analyst firm:
Maybe this is an opportunity for firms such as Tekrati and Lighthouse AR to not only provide analyst relations services to software vendors but to also help enterprise choose analyst firms for consulting gigs? I would say though that if an analyst firm doesn't publicly publish a rate schedule for services in this regard, then they shouldn't be considered. Of course, all rates are subject to discussion and negotiation, the enterprise should prefer openness over those who keep these aspects secret.

It is my thought that hiring an industry analyst to assist with strategy in some domains simply makes sense. While I haven't done so in the past, I hope to pitch this notion at work, at every opportunity. Hopefully, others within the blogosphere that have went down this path, can trackback and share their experiences in this regard...

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