Having worked in management consultancies, as well as major outsourcing businesses, Alium’s Head of Professional Services, Sarah Griffiths, explains the growing demand for interims in management consultancies. 

Having experienced life as management consultant and now in the interim management industry, it is easy to see the increasing similarities between the services provided by the two.  For example, both like to be challenged in problem solving roles, but the trend for management consultants (MCs) to become interims is becoming more prevalent - but why do they make the jump?

Reasons for the Rise in Interims in Management Consultancies

1.       Ownership

MCs who have worked in the sector for a long time, for a variety of clients and on a myriad of projects can feel the need to own their work wholly.  Being involved in a project end to end gives increased reward and satisfaction, as traditionally MCs hand the business across to the client at the agreed “stop point.”

2.       Implementation & delivery

This means that MCs seldom get to implement the recommendations they make to clients as the next project beckons and they move on.  As an interim you can define the strategy, build the plan and implement it providing an opportunity to see how effective delivery positively impacts the business.  Interims are allowed to get under the skin of a business and are seen as an additional capability, rather than a supplier.

3.       Choice

Usually, MCs have their next project or programme assigned to them, while interims can choose their next role – a freedom which many find appealing.

4.       Cost

Although cost comparisons can be made between the two, the reality of what each delivers to a business is very different, this should be remembered when assessing the value they bring to an organisation.  Interims are measured on delivery, MCs often on knowledge transfer and benefits delivered.

Supporting Professional Services

Interims are being  used in management consultancies as a white labelled resource providing a virtual talent bench to call upon when there is a temporary absence of skills in-house.  Alternatively there are opportunities for interims to step in once management consultancies have left to support clients in the delivery of strategies and plans.

As with the core interim industry, this part of the sector is experiencing a significant uplift in demand -  especially around transformation, shared services, change management, project and programme management and solution architecting.  There is also increasing demand across all functional areas, including communications.  The spectrum of skills interims can bring to the management consultancy world provides a client with options for project and programme delivery.  A consultant or an interim?  The choice is yours!

What are your thoughts when it comes to the need for interims in management consultancies today? Let us know what you think in the comments. 

photo credit:geralt cc

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  • Bob Steele

    Thanks for this, Sarah. To be fair, the dividing lines between management consultancy and interim management has been blurred for quite a while. Since I went independent in 2000 (after 11 years as an MC), I’ve probably worked more as a consultant than as an interim, but very few of my roles can be “pigeon-holed” as exclusively one or the other - most have elements of both. I believe that clients willing to employ independents want the flexibility that this approach can give