Brightman is a UK-based consultancy specialising in change management – but with a difference. What they focus on is people. In their own words: “We help organisations manage the most difficult part of any change, the people. Many organisations think that changing technology automatically changes people’s capability, and attitudes to work, but unless people understand and agree to work differently nothing will change, or worse still, change breaks the business.”
Of course this is a widely recognised hurdle for many, if not all, change management projects, including procurement digital transformation. Often it is the habits embedded in the department or organisational culture that are hard to change, so getting people on board with that change, explaining why it will benefit them, is another hurdle in itself.
As people consultants, Brightman is very familiar with the complexity of buying professional services – it is not a tangible purchase, like a piece of machinery or stationery, you can’t know what it will be like until have purchased it, and you don’t know if it will fit, unlike product buying.
So Romy Hughes, director at Brightman, has offered us some inside tips on buying professional services, especially with regard to hiring in consultants, and managing their role so that they are there to do what is expected of them – and no more. The use of consultants has grown in the public sector, and many far outstay their initial welcome, through not fault of their own. In fact, as Hughes describes, the public sector has let itself become dependent on consultants.
She discusses the effect of austerity, IR35 changes and procurement practices, and offers some do’s and don’ts for when you need to hire consultants, including:
- Don’t just pick up the phone to one of the big players and tell them you need a few bodies for two months that can develop in Java
- Do have a very clear job description with project objectives
- Do make sure the objectives include training your staff and offloading the day-to-day operations to them