Rise of third-party Consulting

Source: Internet
Author: User

In the process of enterprise informatization construction, a third party is not only a chief of staff, a coordination person, a supervisor, but also an assessor and a notary. It runs through the whole process of enterprise informatization and plays an increasingly important role.

Because enterprise informatization is a very arduous and complex system project, it is still a brand new topic for many Chinese enterprises, whether in the planning or construction process, there are a lot of doubts and confusions. Some IT enterprises, consulting companies, and some media have misled enterprises consciously or unconsciously for commercial purposes and competitive needs, enterprises are further vague and even distorted by their understanding of the information technology, application, and effects, making them even more confused about how to plan and construct their own information projects, or rush to lead to failures, or you may be confused about the opportunity. In this context, a new industry is urgently needed to be embedded in the Information Application Service Market System of Chinese enterprises, that is, third-party consulting. Why do we need to submit a third-party consultation with such a clear flag? Is there any hype concept? Isn't the consulting service provider a natural and neutral third party? Are experts and scholars not third parties involved in project demonstration review? However, the problem lies in that the real market conditions are not as simple as those presented to us. In recent years, we have deeply felt that relying solely on traditional consulting service providers and experts and scholars is not enough to support the Informatization Construction of Chinese enterprises.

Independent third parties

According to the different subjects of China's enterprise information consulting service providers, the Enterprise Information consulting market can be divided into three parts: hardware and software, solution providers provide their own consulting services; consult with software and solution vendors in an agent sales relationship. The consulting company independently provides neutral third-party consulting services.

At present, the first two market segments still have overwhelming advantages and market share, but in fact there is a big problem. For example, in the first market, enterprise users have a direct relationship with IT vendors. Due to the lack of a third party, conflicts of interests between the two parties often occur and cannot be mediated. On the one hand, enterprise users of Party A lack of adequate and systematic information knowledge and judgment, and are often in a weak position in the game between the two parties, if you miss the opportunity to use information technology to enhance your competitiveness, or blindly follow Party B's lobby to rush to the information-based project, you will directly face the huge risks of informatization and fall into the "informatization black hole". On the other hand, party B's IT vendors are generally unfamiliar with Party A's business and management. In addition, Party A's personnel may not cooperate actively, party B's Demand Analysis on Party A and the breadth, depth, and intensity of project planning and implementation are not in place, which not only leads to high project failure rate, but also causes Party A's investment losses, in addition, without third-party help communication and mediation, the two parties often have different understandings about whether the project is completed, whether the project is successful, and whether the project is successful or not, it may also make it difficult for Party B to stick to a project and fall into the "informatization quagmire ".

In the second market, on the surface, IT vendors and management consulting service providers complement each other and work together to serve Party A. They all want to do things well and make the project successful. However, since the consulting service provider is actually an IT manufacturer's agent and the latter's sales, the interests drive the cooperation between them as Party B and Party, the disadvantages of the first market are still inevitable. This not only makes Enterprise Users unable to obtain high-quality and honest consulting services, but also is not conducive to the healthy development of the entire enterprise information consulting market in China. In the end, IT vendors and consulting service providers will be adversely affected.

Why do the first two methods still occupy a large market share? The author believes that the main reason is that our enterprise management methods and levels are generally not high, the starting point of informatization is low, and the marginal benefits of information technology applications are significant. informatization can always bring more or less benefits. At the same time, these consulting institutions are not honest, but are also trying to help enterprises. Although the "prescriptions" and treatment schemes provided are not the most suitable, they will always have a certain effect. However, since they are usually only bound to individual vendors, it is inevitable that a set of "biased" cannot provide better services for different enterprises.

In foreign countries, the consulting industry itself is an independent third party, so they do not have a third-party consulting organization. Different from China, when many enterprises are still not aware of what informatization is, the wave of informatization has been built on the ground, the consulting organizations that provide diagnostic and consulting services to them are independent. However, it seems like seeking medical treatment. If a doctor is also a "salesman" in a pharmaceutical store, then he can imagine the situation when giving the patient a prescription. Doctors should have relied on medical skills to eat food, but now they rely mainly on selling medicines for a living. Even if they have excellent medical skills, they will not care about the patients and symptoms, all prescribed almost unchanged prescriptions have been severely compromised or even ruined, and it is strange to save lives and avoid problems?

As a non-enterprise, non-industrial third party, expert review can play a very limited role. I have also participated in the review of some information projects as an expert, but I only rely on a few experts and scholars to temporarily "team up ", only a few days (or even the day) before a project's periodic evaluation or completion acceptance is required to see some simple project materials and reports. It is impossible to conduct in-depth research and analysis and can only be judged by experience, most of the results are principles of affirmation, general acceptance, and some comments that hope to be improved. When signing, I always feel that the pen is worth a thousand pounds. Unlike other projects,Information Projects are a complex process of process organization, management concept import, and information data integration.Only full participation or monitoring can have enough say. As experts and scholars leave this process, the opinions they provide will inevitably lead to deviations, orientations, and fundamental errors. In addition, experts can only get a reward of several hundred yuan, a maximum of several thousand yuan, and it is impossible and should not bear much risk for the project. Therefore, the third party that experts review plays a very limited role. It should work with third-party consulting institutions to provide professional experience and authoritative opinions, it should not and cannot replace a third party that is enterprise-oriented and industrialized. From this point of view, the Healthy Development of Enterprise Informatization urgently requires a neutral, enterprise, and industrialized third-party consulting service provider to fully participate in enterprise informatization projects, communicate and coordinate the relationship between Party A and Party B, this service helps enterprises conduct feasibility studies, overall planning, selection and tendering, implementation supervision, and acceptance evaluation to protect enterprises' information investment and improve the project success rate. This is not only the need for the healthy development of the enterprise information consulting service market, but also the inevitable choice for achieving a win-win situation between IT enterprises, consulting companies and enterprise users.
Role played by a third party

Third-party consulting companies play the following five roles in the process of enterprise informatization:

First, the Chief of Staff. Enterprise Informatization involves a series of complex problems such as technology, management, and enterprise strategic decision-making. for users who do not have or have insufficient knowledge and experience in information planning and construction systems, third parties can provide reports, opinions, and suggestions on information strategies, guidelines, routes, policies, information planning, project supervision, evaluation reports, and continuous improvement and optimization of information system applications, it is equivalent to a full-time Chief of Staff who does not have the final decision-making power in the organizational structure but provides multiple plans.

Second, it is the focal point. A large enterprise may have hundreds of branches, dozens or dozens of suppliers, and hundreds, thousands, and thousands of customers, there are dozens of major customers, and internal and external relations need to be coordinated during the planning and construction of informatization projects. vendors entering the implementation of enterprises also have many companies in terms of space and time, the relationship between them and users needs to be more coordinated. Third parties should assist the enterprise in completing the project. In the above relations, they should act as the focal point, regulate the relationship between Party A and Party B, and promote the active cooperation of internal and external parties of the enterprise to participate in the informatization project process, resolves disputes, inspires morale, and integrates resources, so that all parties can work together to ensure smooth and final success of the project.

The third is the supervision officer. As the supervision party, the third party acts as the "supervision officer" and monitors the progress, quality, and investment of the project implementation in accordance with the relevant national laws and regulations, tenders, and commercial contracts signed by Party A and Party B, ensure that the project goes smoothly.

The fourth is whether the information project has achieved the expected results. The manufacturers and enterprises have their own understandings. Although there are basically the same points of view in the contract, who is qualified to evaluate the acceptance of a specific project, and what mechanism is used to confirm that the project can be completed and settled ?? Third parties can act as evaluators. The fifth is a notary. A third party participates in the entire project process. Upon confirmation from both parties, the entire project construction process can be faithfully and objectively recorded. In the event of a dispute, a third party can be converted from a recorder to a notary, facilitating Dispute Resolution and project.

In fact, the essence of these five roles is unified, all based on independence and justice.

Responsibilities of a third party

Based on the specific situation analysis in China, the most urgent need for enterprise informatization is to obtain third-party services and help in tactics and strategies.

Due to the absence of third parties, the current enterprise informatization faces eight risks: inaccurate positioning, improper timing, insufficient training, incorrect selection, lack of supervision, lack of assessment, difficulty in expansion, and absence of organization. Based on my understanding of the Enterprise Information Consulting Market and analysis and grasp of the third-party consulting market segment, I believe that the third party should provide the following seven services for enterprise information construction. In the project preparation stage, enterprises should be provided with four services, namely, comprehensive self-diagnosis, accurate positioning, and even re-positioning, starting from the business strategy, system, and industry environment; through comprehensive and objective analysis, enterprises can actively and systematically prepare the conditions required for informatization implementation, and determine the best time to start informatization construction; cultivate and improve the understanding and judgment of information technology, software and solution providers by the enterprise management, especially senior decision makers, to reduce selection risks and prevent decision making mistakes; assists enterprises in preparing bids based on the requirements of unified planning for Enterprise Informatization Construction and the project content of different stages and different application systems, and provides extensive bidding for IT manufacturers at home and abroad. Through the four services in this phase, enterprises can complete self-diagnosis, timing selection, full-staff training, and selection bidding, to some extent, the project proposal, feasibility study report, and overall plan of informatization construction that suits the development needs of the enterprise are also unique.

The second stage is the project implementation supervision stage. How can a third party serve as the supervisor to communicate and coordinate the two parties ?? As Party A, suppliers, or implementers, the enterprise acts as Party B (one or more )?? To ensure that the project can be smoothly carried out in accordance with the planning content and Progress requirements, and the design functions are fully implemented on schedule, and in accordance with the relevant supervision laws and regulations, conducts full and comprehensive supervision on project progress, quality, and investment, and provides the supervision report jointly confirmed by Party A and Party B. When the third stage is the project acceptance evaluation stage, due to the complexity of the enterprise information project, without introducing a third party, party A and Party B often disagree with each other regarding whether the project can be terminated, when the project will be accepted, and the criteria for acceptance. A third-party consulting organization may, in accordance with the Information Planning, contract signed between Party A and Party B, and the information-based project evaluation system recognized by all parties, stand in a neutral position and conduct a comprehensive acceptance evaluation of the project, form an evaluation report and submit it to both parties for confirmation, which is necessary and beneficial to ensure the success of the project and the interests of both parties.

In the later stage of project maintenance and expansion, enterprises can establish long-term strategic partnerships with third-party consulting institutions. Third-party consulting organizations can help enterprises maintain, manage, and upgrade their phased information projects, closely focusing on the requirements of upgrading and expanding user application systems, tracking the development trend of information technology and its application, and continuing to provide proactive, strategic, and targeted services for enterprise users. At the same time, it helps enterprise users to establish it supplier credit record databases and mechanisms to quickly respond to user system maintenance and expansion needs and provide follow-up services and support.

Throughout the above four stages, a third party should provide enterprises with unique organizational strategies and smart services provided by real industry experts.

In addition, in the early-stage Information Consulting Market, IT vendors and consulting companies have not yet developed "senior" industry consultants, it is often difficult to conduct in-depth and substantive exchanges with the user's business and management departments on project planning and implementation, and to provide users with professional and high-quality services that are close to the characteristics of their industry. To ensure the success of Enterprise Informatization, third-party consulting institutions must involve real industry experts in user informatization projects, enterprise Users and IT enterprises also have reason to require them to set up an expert team with real industry experts from the user's industry. In response to the needs of the above-mentioned stages of work, they should work collaboratively to provide consultancy services to users, coordinates the relationship between Party A and Party B. In this way, the combination of IT consulting and management consulting is not a simple addition but an organic fusion. The project success rate will be greatly improved due to the multiplication and multiplication effects.

Source: Information System Engineering

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