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Digital Transformation

10 Questions To Ask A Digital Transformation Consultant

I saw this article – 10 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Digital Transformation Consultant – on and thought it would be interesting from a Digital Transformation consultant’s point of view. The author, Jon Bains, correctly identifies that it can be difficult to know who to trust when you need to engage somebody for consulting services. The Digital Transformation market has a lot of players with traditional agencies and consultancies expanding into this space. Who to engage with is a critical question and could mean great success or dismal failure for your business.

Mr. Bains offers these ten questions that you should ask before partnering up with a consultant. Speaking as one of those potential consultants, these are great questions that any respectable firm will be more than willing to answer.  The key for your company is to match the consultant’s answer with 1) reality – are they telling you the truth? and 2) your culture – will this consulting company fit your company’s style.

Here are the ten questions and my comments.  You can read the original article for Mr. Bains’ clarifications on each question:

  1. What is a typical engagement?  As a consultant, we have processes and methodologies that we like to follow.  Sometimes your engagement lines up exactly with our process and some times it doesn’t.  Look to see if the consultant is adaptable to what you want without losing the essence of their process.
  2. What is the shape of the billing curve?  A lot of potential clients want free strategy work in exchange for the promise of future work.  More than a few days of free work is not really a viable option for most consulting companies.  Strategy work involves the best consultants who are typically in high demand, so giving away that knowledge for free doesn’t make a lot of sense.
  3. Who are we likely to be working with?  In a digital transformation engagement you will typically have strategy work followed by implementation work.  Often the strategy team is different than the implementation team.  When you ask this question, its also important to find out if the strategy team will be available at least part time during the implementation phases.
  4. Has your team worked together before?   As Mr. Bains points out, really large consultants have thousands of employees who may have never met.  While you do want to have experts on the team, it is also desirable that they know how to work with each other and not at odds with each other.  You don’t want the “lead gen” expert creating strategy that the “content marketing” expert can’t deliver.
  5. How well do you know the sector?  This is a really good question because many consultants know marketing or IT, but really don’t know the market that you are in.  Automotive companies have different issues than healthcare providers.  Healthcare providers have different needs than do healthcare insurers.  Make sure your consulting company has experience in your specific sector.
  6. Do you expect to do any related production work? Really this is about the consultant’s ability to implement the strategies they help you create.  Too often I’ve seen consultants create great looking strategy that just could not be implemented with the budget or skills at the client.  If a consultant can help you implement the strategies, then you are that much closer to meeting your goals.
  7. Who is in your extended network – What are you likely to cross-sell?  Is your potential consult going to put pressure on you to “take advantage” of all the other great things they can sell you?  Will your strategy include signing up with the consultant’s email marketing distributor? While taking advantage of the consultant’s other divisions or partners might be very beneficial, you should be able to engage other firms independently as you desire.
  8. Which lines of the org chart are you most comfortable with?  Mr. Bains talks about making sure your consultant lines up with the “Doers” in your company.  If your digital transformation effort will require a lot of IT consulting and you engage a marketing/advertising agency, will that agency be able to work with your IT group?  Of course the opposite is true.  If your work is heavy on marketing or sales transformation and you hire an IT consultant, will that work?  Often times you will need a consultancy that can bring resources who align with all of your “Doers”.
  9. Have you done this before (successfully)?  Experience is always a key factor and usually why you are looking for outside help.  One thing to note is that engagements are almost always covered by some non-disclosure agreement.  So don’t expect your potential consultants to be able to tell you exactly what they did for other customers.  Just like we won’t spill the beans about your company, we won’t do it to other clients.
  10. Why do these programmes fail?  Hopefully your potential consultant as the experience to know what works and what doesn’t.  While all consultants will bring you case studies and examples of successes, try to find out what didn’t work on those projects or where an unnamed client had problems. Equally important is to find out what the consultant learned from those failures and will they apply that to your engagement.

At Perficient, we look forward to you asking us these questions.

Thoughts on “10 Questions To Ask A Digital Transformation Consultant”

  1. So true, Even I read the article on
    I have been consulting clients on their Digital Transformation strategies & I face this situation where clients don’t even know how should they evaluate the consultants. I believe consultancy starts from there itself.

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Mark Polly

Mark Polly is Perficient's Chief Strategist for Customer Experience Platforms. He works to create great customer, partner, and employee experiences. Mark specializes in web content management, portal, search, CRM, marketing automation, customer service, collaboration, social networks, and more.

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