Consulting and professional services are centred around solving problems using outsourced expertise. Whilst consulting is a major aspect of professional services, and the terms are often used interchangeably, there are differences between the two. These differences are important to understand in order to make informed decisions regarding your business’s needs
What is consulting?
Consulting refers to the practice of an individual or organisation whose purpose is to provide expert knowledge and strategic advice. As a result, their advice aids decision-making within organisations on a temporary or contractual basis. Erica Suesserman uses the analogy of consultants being doctors in order to understand and fix the clients’ problems. Firstly, a consultant will assess the symptoms (define the problem) before analysing data to make a diagnosis and recommend a course of action. Often, this information is all that a client needs from a consultant, but they may require recommendations to be actioned depending on circumstances.
What are Professional Services?
On the other hand, Professional service providers are those who are contracted to provide specialist practical services to a professional client who may have the desire to bring outside expertise into the business. Different types of professional services are based on their relationship with the organisation they are providing service to. Making them either independent or embedded. Independent professional service firms typically exist independently of the organisation they are providing services. Whereas an embedded professional service team/individual may be considered as part of the larger organisation.
What’s the difference?
As you can see, there is a definite overlap between the two terms. The main difference, however, comes in the expected output of each provider. Whilst the focus of consulting comes down to the strategic advice offered by the consultant, professional service providers offer operational services and are therefore more likely to take on more. Professional service providers are likely to help clients manage a specific part of their business whereas consultants are likely to have an area of expertise such as marketing, sales, IT etc.
In summary, a consultant could potentially replace a full-time employee. Whereas a professional service provider allows existing staff to focus on the organisation’s core services by outsourcing
How ReedPS can help?
ReedPS works to remove the risk when delivering business transformations. We are an experienced and expert team, with a wealth of programme and technical experience. ReedPS is committed to your goals and outcomes. We provide project and programme management, consultancy and delivery supported by our in-house PMO capability and extensive talent pool to ensure individuals are the right pick for your team and your project. Contact our team today