What Consulting Means to Monocle
July 19, 2018 - David Buckham CEO of Monocle
The word consulting has become something of a catch-all phrase in today’s business landscape. Almost every industry and every firm has their own idea of what it is to be a consultant. For this reason, and to better understand the ecosystem in which we operate, it is perhaps worthwhile explaining the different conceptions of consulting that exist today, and to clarify exactly how Monocle positions itself in this environment.
The first conception, or perhaps misconception, of consulting involves the idea of contract work. Contractors – often calling themselves consultants – hire out their services by the hour and forego the security of a full-time employment contract to pursue remuneration for their work on an ad hoc basis. But the time-based remuneration structure of contracting carries with it a potentially significant conflict of interest, in that the successful completion of a project is not necessarily in the best interests of the contractor. At Monocle, we do not believe that consultants merely sell their time. Consultants solve problems.
The second understanding of consulting stems from the business model exercised by multinational audit firms, which often run large advisory divisions alongside their main auditing function. These audit-centric consultants work across a broad range of industries and their success often relies on two factors: the perceived power of their brand and these audit firms’ sheer size. Yet, the scope of their services can often be constrained by their audit-focused mindset. At Monocle, we are not auditors, and this allows us the freedom and flexibility to implement change wherever and however it is needed.
A third type of consulting involves the work performed by large systems integration firms. These firms focus specifically on integrating new system infrastructure into a client organisation. These multinational IT-centric firms often partner with large software companies to ensure the successful implementation of complex application software into client system architectures. At Monocle, our consultants are experts in many software applications, but we are not an IT implementation company, we are business subject matter experts.
The fourth kind of consulting practiced today is general management and strategy consulting. These consulting firms believe – at their core – that the conduct of management and the strategic objectives of large organisations can be altered through the intervention of strategy consulting. Such consultants usually deliver a management or strategy plan as an end product, whilst the actual physical change to be executed is often left for the client organisation to implement themselves. At Monocle, we engage in management and strategy consulting but importantly, we also deliver tangible system-level solutions to solve our clients’ unique business challenges.
In the context of these various definitions of consulting, it is important for us as Monocle to amplify the fact that we are different in a number of ways. We do not sell time and we do not sell products. We are not contractors, we are not an IT firm, nor are we auditors. We are an independent management consulting firm with deep technical skills and subject matter knowledge, focused on the financial services industry. At Monocle, we are consultants pure and simple.