3 Reasons Advisory Services Fail… And Why You Need One

Many IT organizations today use traditional advisory services. The reasons they use them vary, but it is usually to gain the advantage of expertise, information, and actionable advice that the organization does not have access to in-house. The personnel within the organization who use these services varies, but because of the high per-user costs, the users are generally higher level managers and executives. But regardless of the who and why, traditional advisory services companies continue to fail their clients.

They look into the crystal ball… They don’t eat the glass

Traditional advisory services companies are not really advisory companies; they are research companies. They don’t give actionable advice, they provide “forward-looking information” based on research and the past performance of clients and other companies. In other words, they are in the “past and future” business.  Anyone who has ever purchased a mutual fund has heard the phrase “past performance does not guarantee future results” and other “Safe Harbor” statements,  yet it is these predictions based on past performance that enterprises rely on to make decisions, and they are finding that in an era of fluctuating economics and the rapid growth of disruptive technologies, the predictions are becoming less and less accurate and so are becoming less and less valuable. Traditional advisory services “hide” these inaccuracies by issuing “revised estimates” essentially saying, “we got that one wrong folks, but now we’re right… until the next revision”.

Being in the “past and future” business, these companies leave out the one place we actually do business… in the present.

One size fits all… Except that it doesn’t

Only in the business world would a company that provides “food for thought” ironically license by the “seat”. We all know that prices are somewhat negotiable, but for traditional advisory services companies, seat licensing is the norm, meaning a small or medium-sized business (SMB) will pay the same price (or more) for a seat as a Fortune 100 company. This “seat license” becomes a much bigger percentage of the IT spend for an SMB; some companies can only afford a single seat, and many can’t even afford that. Add to that the fact that only the seat holder can access the information, and must then “digest” and reformat the information so it can be used by the rest of the team without violating the advisory services contract, wasting the time and effort of what is usually a senior manager. This greatly reduces productivity and collaboration.

Since advisory services companies make most of their money catering to the large enterprises, most of their research is targeted at these enterprises, leaving the SMB to figure out for themselves whether the information has any relevance at all to their unique situation.

“I’ll do anything for you, but I won’t do that!”

Traditional Advisory services companies use analysts to do research and write their findings into white papers. Each analyst is immersed in a single subject matter area and does not stray into other areas. For that reason, it is difficult for these types of advisory services groups to provide information in niche areas or very new markets. Clients who have questions that fall outside the knowledge base of the analysts are stuck without an answer; and unless the advisory services group feels that it would be profitable for them to add an analyst in that area, the client will never get an answer to that particular query.

Why you need advisory services

The irony is that you need an advisory services company for the exact reasons that traditional advisory services companies fail. You need access to practicing professionals who can give you real world advice and information in the context of your own organization and circumstances. You need services that are scalable to both your size and budget, and save you time by providing these services to your whole IT organization instead of a single seat. And you need to be able to get information in niche areas and in a specific context.

Companies employing the Expertise-as-a-Service® (EaaS™) business model have been able to overcome these failings of traditional advisory services organizations. The EaaS™ delivery model uses a network of practicing experts instead of analysts, so the information available is firsthand and current. Because of the nature of the expert network, it is easy to add expertise to cover emerging technologies and other niche areas of interest to a single client; and because of the EaaS™ business model, costs are greatly reduced, since a company does not need to pass on the high cost of maintaining a bench of full-time analysts.

Advisory Services groups using the EaaS™ business model deliver highly personalized, highly targeted, and highly contextualized, actionable advice and information to the individual client, regardless of the size of the company or IT organization.

Which is why you need an advisory service in the first place, isnt it?