Exploring Consulting Firms: Are They Worth the Investment?

Exploring Consulting Firms: Are They Worth the Investment?

Jason Stewart
Jason Stewart
5-minute read

This is literally the million-dollar question and demands careful consideration, "Should my business look into some consulting firms? Are they worth the investment?". The truth is, the answer isn't black and white. It depends on a multitude of factors, but one thing is clear: understanding and aligning your business goals is key. So, let's dive into this topic and explore whether a consulting firm is truly worth your investment.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is a Consulting Firm?
  2. So Then, Are Consulting Firms Worth It?
  3. Consulting Saves Time, Money, and Builds Connections
  4. But, How Do I Know If Consulting Is Worth It?

What is a Consulting Firm?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s define "Consulting Firm" in general before we hop into the deep nuances of consulting. Software consulting companies aren't always the same as software development companies, but Anthroware does both, so we try to always tie the two together.

Consulting Firm, n., A good consulting firm is like a dream team of wizards, an external force that leverages your current business, adds their expertise, experience, viewpoints, scalability, and specialization into a force-multiplier that unlocks revenue and profitability in their clients’ businesses.

Disclosure: Anthroware is a consulting firm, so we’re biased.

There are many types of software consulting firms and consulting services out there, one of the most popular categories being Technology Consulting, which covers a large scope of consulting services. Below are some examples with links to other articles that highlight some of these in more detail. Anthroware specializes in multiple types of consulting services, but primarily the following:

If you're interested in the expanded definitions of these types of consulting services, feel free to check out our other article geared towards highlighting and comparing the different types of consulting services, here.

Do these firms have different styles and approaches to consulting?

Anthroware breaks down these types of firms into 3 categories:

  1. Wisdom Firm
    This is the type of consulting firm that we categorize ourselves as at Anthroware. This type of firm has "been there, done that". They've tackled multiple different types of projects across a long period of time and so have developed a trove of knowledge from the successes and failures along the way. These wisdom firms hire people from levels of high expertise who have had years of experience dedicated to specific industries and specific areas of knowledge that best resonate with the firm's service offerings.
  2. Method Firm
    This type of consulting firm has developed such solid training, workflows, and business processes that they can essentially hire junior-level employees and put them in any role that this firm is trying to leverage, and there will be a high level of success of the outcomes being met for that business. These types of firms might for example help a business with refining an assembly line and making it as efficient as possible.
  3. Intellectual Firm
    This type of firm hires very high-level Ph.D. employees and basically sticks them in a room together to try and solve problems that no one has ever solved before. These firms might be what some people call "think tanks". While these firms typically have a low success rate with whatever projects they are working on (simply because it's hard to de-risk something that has never existed and has no prior data to validate or invalidate the hypotheses with), the ones that do succeed are usually revolutionary and can change entire industries as we know them. This might be one of the areas where software consultants need to code.

For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on wisdom firms, as this is the type of firm that most people think of when it comes to the Big Consulting Firms that we all know of and talk about regularly in the world of consulting. Also, we will be providing Anthroware's perspective on a lot of this, and as mentioned previously, we consider ourselves a wisdom firm.

So Then, Are Consulting Firms Worth It?

Hopefully, if you've made it this far, you're past the question "What does a software consultant do?" 😁 First and foremost, expertise and experience are where consulting firms shine. They bring a ton of industry knowledge and insights to the table, offering fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and strategic guidance. They combine your needs with their past experience to produce powerful results. Their expertise can help you navigate complex business landscapes and make informed decisions that align with your goals. It's like having a secret weapon in your corner, giving you a competitive edge.

Objective and unbiased business advice

Moreover, consulting firms provide an objective and unbiased viewpoint. As an external entity, they can offer an impartial assessment of your business processes, operations, and strategies. This fresh perspective can uncover blind spots and identify areas for improvement that may not be apparent from within the organization. It's like a breath of fresh air, revealing new possibilities and unlocking hidden potential.

Completely tailored, bespoke solutions

But that's not all. Hiring a consulting firm also means flexibility and scalability. They can provide tailored solutions that are customized to your unique business needs. Whether you need help with a specific project or require ongoing support, consulting firms can adapt to your requirements. From strategy development to technology implementation, they offer a wide range of services to address your most pressing needs. It's like having a Swiss Army knife for your business, with solutions for every challenge.

Consulting Saves Time, Money, and Builds Connections

Time is money, and consulting firms can save you both. They bring specialized knowledge and experience that can accelerate the process of solving complex problems or achieving specific goals. Their efficient research, analysis, and strategy development can streamline your operations, reduce inefficiencies, and optimize your business processes. It's like having a shortcut to success, freeing up your time and resources to focus on what you do best.

At Anthroware, when we are in the early to middle stages of our sales cycle, we try to find out if the customer we are speaking with will actually be able to achieve an ROI on whatever new strategy, product R&D, or a new product they are looking to deploy. We use a very collaborative approach, we don't just take a list of specs and pour the concrete for them. If we don't believe a solid ROI can be achieved in working with us, we will usually try and steer their company in a different direction that is more helpful and cost-efficient.

Don't forget, it's very important to create a solid software consulting agreement before engaging, and this helps to protect both parties involved! These partnerships aren't just formed from a word-of-mouth referral, most good software consulting agencies will put everything in writing in a clear manner so that expectations are aligned.

Your network is your net worth

Finally, consulting firms provide access to a network of industry connections and resources. They have trusted relationships with various stakeholders, including vendors, partners, and industry experts. These connections can be leveraged to your advantage, from sourcing new suppliers to exploring collaborations and gaining insights from thought leaders. It's like having an insider's access to a treasure trove of valuable resources that can propel your business forward, which is one of the most important aspects of business level strategy.

That all sounds stinking awesome... Why wouldn’t I sign up!?

The bitter pill of hiring a consulting firm? The cost! Brace yourself for premium fees that can put a dent in your budget. From hefty rates to substantial project fees, the expense of engaging a consulting firm can be a hurdle, especially for smaller or budget-conscious businesses. It's crucial to be mindful of the financial impact and weigh the potential benefits against the costs before taking the plunge. The price tag of hiring a consulting firm may require careful consideration to ensure it aligns with your business's budget and goals. For example, when people find us while looking for digital transformation consulting firms, those projects are usually a very high cost, often in the millions, at a minimum!

As we mentioned above, this is exactly why Anthroware will turn a customer around and point them in a different direction if we believe the "juice isn't worth the squeeze" for a given project. Our goal is to help businesses grow and succeed by making their customers delighted and happy with the software and services they use. It's all about the humans involved for us, and if there aren't enough happy humans involved to produce an ROI, there are usually better alternatives to hiring a consulting firm.

We've all heard of the horror stories of multi-million dollar projects that fail - we want to help your company avoid this at all costs. Sometimes, these big projects can come to fruition because an industry competitor has launched a new product, however, a company might not realize its success is due to that competitor's unique market. At Anthroware we use de-risking competitive intelligence programs to get a zoomed-in look at things before we engage on a large project like this. Again, lowering risk before spending is one of our main priorities during project spin-up.

But, How Do I Know If Consulting Is Worth It?

Well, the equation is simple. What is the cost of doing nothing? If a consulting firm is focused on your ROI and the math works, then they’re the smart choice. At Anthroware, we deep-dive that issue right up front, so our clients and partners know exactly what they’re getting out of the engagement.

You probably already know the answer

Consulting firms can be worth it if you carefully consider the potential benefits they can bring. With their expertise, unbiased perspective, flexibility, efficiency, and access to resources, they can offer valuable insights and solutions to help your business thrive. However, it's important to evaluate your specific needs and goals before making a decision. With the right alignment of goals and a reputable consulting firm, the investment can be well worth it in the long run. If you searched for Consulting Firms in a search engine, you probably already know you need one. If you came here asking yourself, "Are consulting firms worth it?", we hope we've helped you answer that question and you're now on a more educated path to finding the right partner for your business.

Jason Stewart
Jason Stewart
Co-Founder/ CIO
Santa Rosa, CA

Jason Stewart is Co-Founder/CIO of Anthroware, an on-demand innovation force. Jason leads his team to identify the waste and rework in companies and creates beautiful digital tools that people love to use, while lowering overhead and increasing throughput.