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What are the pros and cons of using consulting firms for major implementations?

I appreciate that big consulting firms like KPMG or Deloitte have seen what other companies are doing. But here in the Bay Area, what the other people are doing isn't always relevant. When you bring in a consulting firm, I think you need to contextualize that: it is important to know what other people are doing, but it may still not work for us. But I do appreciate that these firms at least have context for what's worked and what hasn't. That's why I like using boutique firms for specific things. Some boutique firms can be especially good at Salesforce or NetSuite, for example. But when we’re stitching it all together, you run into a credibility problem inside the business: IT will say what the strategy should be, without having somebody validate it on the outside. Then the firm basically generates a report that does exactly what IT said to do, but IT had to tell the consultants about it first, who would then put it in their own deck. I’ve been through that with many of those Big Five engagements. They bring in a firm like Accenture, and everything I tell the consultants ends up in the deck like it's coming from Accenture, but it's actually informed by what our own organization told them in the first place. We might have been able to save a step in that process if IT had greater credibility.

Anonymous Author
I appreciate that big consulting firms like KPMG or Deloitte have seen what other companies are doing. But here in the Bay Area, what the other people are doing isn't always relevant. When you bring in a consulting firm, I think you need to contextualize that: it is important to know what other people are doing, but it may still not work for us. But I do appreciate that these firms at least have context for what's worked and what hasn't. That's why I like using boutique firms for specific things. Some boutique firms can be especially good at Salesforce or NetSuite, for example. But when we’re stitching it all together, you run into a credibility problem inside the business: IT will say what the strategy should be, without having somebody validate it on the outside. Then the firm basically generates a report that does exactly what IT said to do, but IT had to tell the consultants about it first, who would then put it in their own deck. I’ve been through that with many of those Big Five engagements. They bring in a firm like Accenture, and everything I tell the consultants ends up in the deck like it's coming from Accenture, but it's actually informed by what our own organization told them in the first place. We might have been able to save a step in that process if IT had greater credibility.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
The big firms like Accenture and Deloitte will bring in their experienced partners at first. They’ll tell you you're going to benefit from their collective experience of implementing SAP thousands of times in every zip code. But then the team they send in for the implementation is made up of people who are only two years out of school. They're all looking up PowerPoint decks that are buried in their knowledge database, because they’re learning on the job. I've seen this happen to myself and others in situations where you’re implementing a big package, like Salesforce or SAP. You keep telling them, "This is how we want to use it." And they just say, "It doesn't work that way. You can write an output customization if you want to carry all that, but the package is not configured to do that." They fight you, you escalate it, and soon you have your CEO calling the implementation partner to say, "What’s going on here? You folks were supposed to be so smart." That’s when they’ll send over one of their top consultants, one who knows Salesforce. That person comes in and says, "Oh yeah, I can do that. Just give me two hours.” It’s so frustrating and misleading. The way they sell their services and run things internally is very vexing. 
2 upvotes