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If you have difficulty describing what it is you do to clients, Anna Engstromer’s post will help clarify and communicate the value and benefits of your services. 

Much value of consulting can be decoded and applied in organizations, limiting the need to actually hire them and – hopefully – rendering work more challenging and rewarding.

I’ve served perhaps four dozen clients on almost the same number of topics, over a dozen years, across a dozen countries. Apart from a few basic trainings, I wasn’t really taught how to do it, but instead learned on the job, from and with colleagues and clients. Accenture Partners and client staff helped me pick up on value generation, developing people and effective and efficient ways of working. McKinsey colleagues and client executives helped me sharpen the expression of problems, findings and results. The people working on either side aren’t, in my mind, much different.

I’ve worked in organizations too, in different roles and always with a great degree of change. I’ve engaged, worked with, evaluated, extended and stopped consulting engagements. I see patterns of what consultants do well in organizations and how organizations can engage consultants better. There is waste in hiring consultants in poorly fitting ways, and there is lost opportunity in not expecting “consulting-like action” from employees.

I think much of the value of consulting comes from the situation of having new people come in and purposefully address a problem. The dynamic of that situation creates a momentum and an expectation that consultant-client teams deliver on, not just because they can but because they have to. What happens after a project sometimes disappoints, for a number of reasons, one being the loss of that momentum and specific expectation.

I believe much of the value of consulting can be decoded and applied in organizations, limiting the need to actually hire them and – hopefully – rendering work more challenging and rewarding.

 

Key points include:

  • Defining the problem
  • Fitting activities onto their purpose
  • Sharpening communication

 

Read the full article, De-mystifying Consulting, on Engstromer.com.

 

 

Anna Engstromer shares an article on the management of external services, specifically, BPO transactions.

Consequences of poorly managed services are like chronic diseases: spreading its consequences little-at-a-time over vast areas – like customer service, availability, performance and speed of delivery – slowly building awareness for the problem but not considered as such until something breaks, or stops.

Temporal Focus

Much of any organization’s cost is external. How significant it is and how it breaks down by categories vary across sector and organization. Most organizations buy a significant volume of services through Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). The creation of such outsourcing usually gets proper resource allocation and management attention. The initial operating period typically gets it too, especially if much is at stake or if implementation success is part of managers objectives. 

But what about the continued management of external services? Typical BPO transactions have a life of several years. The process to source services is so complex it is a tempting option to extend services through renewal rather than to launch a new strategic sourcing process. Many BPO contracts go on being poorly managed, from the client side, for several years. Who notices this and raises the flag? Consequences of poorly managed services are like chronic diseases: spreading its consequences little-at-a-time over vast areas – like customer service, availability, performance and speed of delivery – slowly building awareness for the problem but not considered as such until something breaks, or stops. Since there is rarely one single cause for problems, the work to un-nestle third party contract management is hard. The people who do it are not always prepared for it, nor are they consistently understood and rewarded.

 

Key points in this article include:

  • Elements of good contract management
  • Vendor-led Conversation
  • Contract fatigue

 

Read the full article, Why an A-Team to Do BPO Vendor Management, on Engstromer.com.

 

 

Anna Engstromer shares a post that identifies what goes wrong with strategy implementation and what needs to be applied to ensure successful adoption.

The Everyday Value of the Right Design in Services

Just because it happens all the time, all over, strategy implementation isn’t easy. It may appear so judging from corporate communication, but it is a special type of team effort that needs energy and effort. The trick is to both carry forth with planned changes and pay attention and adapt.

Change as Part of Life

Change is part of every organization’s life. It is frequent to experience or bear witness of it in any department or work group. It tends to happen through projects and initiatives, and only rarely is the perspective that of the individual working group. Teams and people cope with change, sometimes managing to reflect on their work and craft it into the way they like it, but other times addressing it with less purpose. How people react to change depends a lot on how they are doing. Someone who feels safe, manages their calm, and cares about their work will naturally be more proactive and effective. For many others, change is “dealt with”. The result is a patchwork of intentional and adapted changes, often with great discrepancy between formal and informal roles and structures. This is not necessarily bad. After all, we are creative beings that like to solve problems. But it leaves groups sort of hanging, and I’ve seen it many times that groups either thrive or implode when change is either too fast or not well enough supported. Sadly, the practice to dedicate or engage professional change managers has gone a little bit out of fashion. Fortunately, people with other roles often emerge and act in such roles. I did it many times.

 

Key points include:

  • Why change seems incoherent
  • The design process
  • How norms play a role

 

Read the full article, The Value of Continuous Care in Service Design, on engstromer.com

 

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Anna Engströmer with Anna Engströmer GmbH. Anna is Swedish, has worked across Europe and lives in Switzerland. She worked 2006-2011 in McKinsey in Italy, in the Business Technology Office and the Operations Practice. She was a manager at Zurich Insurance (Finance and Sourcing) and at UBS (Vendor Governance).

She works independently for clients in Switzerland and Europe. She has vast experience in service design, strategic sourcing, vendor governance and financial performance management. She is fascinated about well-functioning systems, with clear rules of engagement and respectful and interest-based collaboration and negotiation. Problems that fit her are complex, cross-functional, new or old, requiring agility in grasping them and addressing them. She energizes from people, and cares about both organizational performance and people’s health. She is fluent in Swedish, English, Italian, German and French.

In her free time she takes care of and is challenged by her Swedish-Italian family. She’s an avid learner and covers a wide range of topics: healthcare, nutrition, wellbeing, neuro-feedback, business startups, and latin.