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  • Writer's picturebillwhite

Consulting vs. Services. Why there is a Difference.

I have worked in the insurance industry for decades. I spent most of my career on the carrier side but also spent 14 years on the consulting and services side and I can tell you that it's hard to find good, quality consulting services. Many IT services companies claim they can provide consulting services, but it's a stretch for them. Here's why...

Consulting is a very targeted business. A good consultant must have domain skills, experience, ability to communicate, ability to listen and the ability to translate a client problem into an appropriate solution. A true consultant typically would be on the high end of the cost spectrum because they usually cannot find enough work to bill at 100% over a 12 month period. Instead, they will work from 50% to around 75% of their time as a consultant. Also, a person of this caliber is few and far between and worth every penny you pay.

So, the reason that a typical IT services company doesn't keep real consulting resources on tap is that they simply can't make the margins their bean counters require. They cannot sustain a resource that doesn't bill at least 90% of their time. Instead, what they will most likely do is do "just in time" hiring. That is, while their sales person is discussing the deal with you... place an ad and see if they can find a suitable resource to fill the "consulting" position.

Now, a true consultant is generally someone from quite a senior background and has a wide range of experiences around the domain and the technology used. They can discuss InsureTech, Digital, Data, Duck Creek, Guidewire, DRC, Telematics... well you get the picture. In fact, a true consultant has the BIG picture and can put it all together to help brainstorm and come up with a long-term strategy for your company or solve a problem.

In my view, services revolves more around either staff augmentation, system maintenance or end to end system implementation. Consulting is a different animal. BA's, Solution Architects, Developers, etc. are not "consultants".

Let me know your thoughts on the subject.

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