Keep Your Friends Close, Keep your Competition Closer!

Like any other good Canadian, the other day my son and I were sitting down on a Saturday night watching Hockey Night in Canada…I like to think of this as not only critical bonding time but also a fortuitous opportunity for learning.  Anyone who has been a Toronto Maple Leaf fan for as long as I have will quickly deduce that some of the character traits being taught during this encounter  include patience, endurance and loyalty as the beloved Leafs lose another not so close hockey game.

As we were watching the game, my son turned to me and asked quite innocently,

‘What makes one player better than the other?’

I thought about this for a moment and as any parent, I would love to drive home the old adage ‘Practice makes perfect’ yet my many hours of free throws, slapshots and corner kicks has yet to get me a shot at the big leagues, so perhaps there is another hidden variable…oh yeah…natural ability.

Now there are many different natural attributes that make someone good at what they do.  Michael Phelps body was naturally designed for swimming, from his flipper like feet to his elongated torso to his double jointed chest (ouch).   Ask yourself this, if Michael Phelps was involved in any other world class sports would he be as successful? How about Michael the hockey player? Michael the high-jumper? or Michael the bi-athlete?  I appreciate the fact that there are other traits that world class athletes possess that work hand and hand to augment natural ability such as dedication, perseverance and determination however, success outside of one’s niche is very limited and highly unlikely.

I once heard it said on Oprah…yes my wife watches Oprah…

‘Luck is when opportunity meets preparedness’

I will agree with the queen of media on one condition.  We breakdown preparedness to be a pragmatic approach to assessing one’s skills, determining one’s expertise and identifying one’s niche market.

Before any new company delves into the business consulting space, it is paramount that they first assess their competitive environment and locate their niche.  The competition is vast within consulting and the barrier to entry is low whereby creating an eclectic environment with players both large and small jockeying for position in a limited market place.  The key to survival in this dynamic ecosystem is to identify a value proposition that takes advantage of a niche requirement.

Think of Michael the consultant.

The market consists of pure play business strategy, CRM consulting and solution implementation vendors.  The pure play strategy vendors like McKinseyBoston Consulting GroupBooze & Company as well as Bain & Company primarily focus on advising companies on how to transform their day to day marketing and sales processes regardless of industry to ultimately improve customer satisfaction, increase sales revenue and reduce service costs.   These companies tend to focus more on assessing organizations and utilizing best practices and industry experience to provide actionable recommendations.  McKinsey and other pure play strategy vendors pride themselves in the fact that they recruit the best talent from the best schools and indoctrinate their methodology early on in their professional careers.  This standardized approach allows for consistency of delivery.

There are also hybrid CRM consulting and solution implementation vendors like AccentureIBM Global Business ServicesCapgeminiBearing point and Deloitte that are a unique blend of technology, business, process and program management expertise across all industries.

Accenture states that they “Help organizations chart a path to high performance through customer centricity, using a powerful combination of strategic insight and superior execution” 1.

BearingPoint indicates that they “Provide an approach that encompasses enterprise strategy, flexible data management, effective customer analysis and segmentation, and positive service operations that attract new customers and increase revenue from existing ones.”

Deloitte boasts that they help companies by “Creating a vision for profitable growth, identifying the critical initiatives for achieving this vision, developing an integrated plan for executing these initiatives and delivering the intended results.3

Ultimately, most vendors in this space have similar mantras but as in any industry, some hybrid vendors are better than others at certain components within their delivery portfolio.  Certain vendors are more technology and integration focused (CapgemeniIBM) while others excel at process and management consulting. (Accenture, Deloitte)

 lists some of the common strengths of key players in this market as deep strategic insight, CRM vision, thought leadership and a reasonable blend of business and technology skills.  Common vendor challenges include lack of industry specific expertise, program management skills and senior management influence.

The niche offering from SNERGY Consulting attempts to combine the marketing transformation expertise of Mckinsey with the business and technology integration proficiency of Accenture to bridge the gap between the pure play strategy vendors and system integrators.

SNERGY Consulting works closely with existing clients to provide an unbiased end to end holistic view of their marketing process and functionality.  SNERGY attempts to understand the current state of the organization, develop a comprehensive CRM blueprint and outline a business case and roadmap that allow companies to implement the recommended changes through a phased approach that reduces cost, improves employee buy-in and increases the likelihood of success.  This can be achieved as an assessment that evaluates the organization on key drivers of efficiency and effectiveness including people, process, technology and data.  SNERGY’s key value proposition is that they have a unique combination of strategy, process and technology expertise that allow us to quickly action key recommendations and insights.  This would include implementing minor business adjustments to implementing major business transformation.   This full service approach allows SNERGY Consulting to take full advantage of its niche expertise and compete in a highly competitive marketplace.

Uh oh…my son just asked me where his sisters came from…it’s going to be a long night.  

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