Last week I started a new project that I’m very excited about: I’m helping a client understand the future Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) market and developing their business case to help drive and then capture that potential.
This is the kind of project that I wanted to be part of when I thought about coming into consultancy; the kind of project where, to take the words of Shashi Tharoor, one can feel like one is ”leaving smudgy fingerprints on the footnotes of the pages of history”.
Some of you may remember that this sounds somewhat familiar, and you would be right. As I have written about previously, this external project actually emerged from an internal Spot On TOP Assignment. In the TOP assignment I developed materials that we used to help the client in their pre-study and confirm that this was something of such sufficient value and interest to them that they wished to undertake a more detailed investigation phase. As I said earlier, this kind of project is the ”why” I want to be in consulting and one of the primary reasons I was able to get here is the Spot On internal training program.
To return, by way of greater background on the project the client has asked us to help them develop an understanding of which industries UAVs will be in the future and what their potential use cases might be. Therefore, in this project we will develop an understanding of the UAV marketplace as a whole by developing use-cases in multiple industry verticals. After understanding the market need we will try and develop a business case for the client.
It’s not an easy task, but being part of this project makes me feel like I’m contributing to the progression of emerging technologies and helping build tomorrow.
I am the only consultant from EY who is working full-time on this project. I am supported by an EY senior consultant, however I am, and mostly will be, working within the client project team. With that in mind the question becomes why, when the client has a project team in place with technical knowledge, would they want to hire an external consultant and specifically an EY consultant?
I think the answer lies in the set of skills and position that a consultant can provide. On a purely technical level my background in law and business is an unusual combination that provides a value add and augments the skills that exist in the group. From EY we also come with a global knowledge base and expertise in practically every area. There is also a value and trust generated in having something prepared with help from EY.
However, whilst the technical factors are important I think the larger factor is the position and perspective that a consultant can bring. As we are not employees of the company we can be less inhibited to challenge. Furthermore, as we have often have experience from many different companies and industries we can see things from a different perspective. That being said, one thing that I have in the back of my mind is that whilst the role of challenger is often needed and required there is a fine line between challenging and someone who isolates.
And I think that is one of the beauties of consultancy. We are in a position where we are outsiders but we have an interest in seeing that the project succeeds. In helping a project succeed we build up our own competencies and help enable our clients go further.