Do Remote Consultants Provide the Same Value as Onsite Collaborations?
march 13, 2019
From software solutions to AI and predictive technologies that enhance your user experience, the way day-to-day business operations and enterprise applications are supported is constantly evolving. So, too, is the process of engaging consultants. There's still a place for the time-proven approach of full-time, onsite consulting services. However, modern business environments with new organizational challenges, evolving support needs, and budgets that never seem to stretch far enough often require more creative and flexible consulting solutions.
With high-speed internet bandwidth, instant messaging, online collaborative tools, and web-based meetings with video conferencing, organizations and consultants can communicate more efficiently than ever before.
Leveraging a remote support partnership approach provides organizations with budget-friendly solutions that:
- Reduce engagement demands on your staff, allowing them to focus on other aspects of a project or their regular daily responsibilities
- Provide multiple resource support, and/or support in variable increments based on requirements
- Eliminate the unneeded overhead of travel and expenses on projects — airline and hotel rooms can add up to tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a project!
- Increase ROI by minimizing non-productive time — all onsite engagements inherently have varying degrees of non-productive time that drive project costs up and reduce ROI
While remote consultant partnerships offer many advantages, this approach is not a fit for every project nor every organization. Sometimes there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings to fully engage with people, their body language, the opportunity to fully brainstorm (whiteboards and butcher paper trump virtual platforms every time), as well as the invaluable opportunity for day-to-day interaction with a broader team of in-house resources while the consultant is in residence.
Whether onsite or remote collaboration, a good consultant partnership will deliver the same tailored, personized approach that meets your specific areas of interest while proactively identifying recommendations to support your organization. Using a flexible resourcing model has the advantage of providing you with only the services that you need, when you need them. Whichever model you choose, the right partner provides you with the right resource for the right job, and not just the next consultant off the bench.
While organizations often think they only need consultants for large-scale upgrades and implementations, there are many ways that external resources can be leveraged to complement and support internal staffing skills and resources, which include:
- Supplement or take over day-to-day system and end-user support while your in-house support team focuses on tackling other projects, upgrades, or implementations
- Provide functional or technical support for areas of implementation, upgrade, or development projects where the in-house support organization may not fully have the skills, knowledge, or bandwidth to self-perform
- Hard-target completion of backlogs of support tickets or change requests
- Cover gaps in support during resource turnover or while you're searching for qualified new hires or backfill staffed positions when key support personnel may have extended periods of absence, such as long vacations, or for medical or maternity leave
- Provide project management where your in-house personnel may not have the experience or bandwidth to provide this on select or high-visibility projects
- Assist in developing long-term application support and road-map planning for budgetary, timeline, or lifecycle management
- Develop documentation for areas such as business processes, SOPs, training materials, test scripts and use case scenarios, or system configuration
- Develop (and even manage) a Change Management Program
At Ascension, we've coined how we match our consultants with our clients a Best-Fit Resourcing™. Our operations team leverages over two decades of experience in planning and scoping engagements, managing complex projects, and developing a deep knowledge of capabilities for each and every consultant we utilize. We know how to determine which individual's skill set, personality and experience will be best suited to both the scope of work, needs of your specific organization, and whether the partnership will be onsite or remote. Together an individual consultant's approach to work, communication style, degree and standards of documentation, and even personality create a set of intangible "soft skills" that are often underrated but that can often make all the difference for the success and satisfaction achieved.
After all, would you prefer a one-size-fits-all approach, or one that is custom tailored to fit your organization's specific resource, project, and budget needs?
Contact us for a free, no-obligation evaluation to learn how our innovative approaches to project support and utilizing consultants can provide value-add to help your organization achieve operational excellence!
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