Thursday, March 08, 2007


The Value of Consultants

Once again, folks are getting it twisted in thinking of the value of the work done by consulting firms...

For the record, I have spent more years in IT as a consultant than as a full-time employee of a large enterprise. Minimally, the value of consultants is having a new set of eyes looking at some problem and/or re-examining the set of assumptions that led to the crisis. Likewise, consultants are incredibly useful in that they can ask questions of executives that enterprise architects may not. They can even ask questions that have already been asked so as to remove fear of sounding stupid by asking a second time.

Generally speaking, consultants tend to have better track records as many prominent experts tend to prefer being independent. Likewise, consultants who are truly of high caliber demand appropriate compensation which usually doesn't align well to HR notions within large enterprises. Sometimes, consultants fail (not really) do to salary envy.

Having someone to blame if the decision doesn't work out well is of immense value. Sometimes they are even brought projects too late in the game that no salvation is possible. In the same way having a conversation with industry analysts at a start of an initiative, it is an equally good idea to finish off with consultants at the end.

I have ran across architects whom believe that consultants are there to work but are prevented from doing so for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is useful to figure out whether they are simply being paid to be physically present in the building. Anyway, Consultants can bring a fresh air to the enterprise if used sparingly...

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