Hidden Gems

Boutiques and Independent Consultants

Photo credit: Kira auf der Heide

November 24, 2017 17:50

The consulting company with the deepest pool of talent in the world doesn’t exist. It’s the collection of independent consultants and small boutiques scattered around the world, all operating independently. However, if this group were a single firm, it would dominate every category in the WhoKnowsAbout global rankings in terms of breadth and depth of expertise.

That there is very high capability in these small suppliers shouldn’t be a surprise.

Some of these consultants used to be senior staff in the leading global consultancies before setting up their own shop. Rene Gram was an Associate Principal at McKinsey before he left to set up Prokura, a highly respected Procurement and Supply Chain boutique based in Denmark. Similarly, Chandra Mouli Kotta Kota had experience at Tata Consulting Service and McKinsey before co-founding specialist analytics training company AnalytixLabs. Prior to founding Canback, a unique consulting firm working in predictive analytics and consumer knowledge, Staffan Canback was a partner in Monitor Deloitte and McKinsey.

The large global firms are a major source of independent consultants. Former staff of MBB (McKinsey, BCG, Bain) alone number about 18,000 consultants and many of these prefer to ply their trade in the smaller consultancies where they can better control their professional life and better focus on client issues, without the inevitable distractions of big firm operations.

Industry is also a major source of high quality independent consultants. Bill Kinney spent 29 years with Walmart where he led the expansion into 19 countries before setting up his own Retail advisory practice. Rob Chivers had more than 20 years’ experience in Fixed and Mobile Telecommunications, much of that time in senior roles at Vodafone, before establishing Atlantex Consulting. Bart Flaherty was a senior Marketer with Pepsi and has now established Optimization Partners, a data driven marketing agency that seeks “to make data very profitable for executives to use”. Paul Everitt uses his 30 years of experience in Lean Manufacturing with the major automobile manufacturers and suppliers to help other companies deploy this technology through their operations.

A third source of independent consulting talent is academia. Matt Ohlson is an Assistant Professor at University of North Florida who advises institutions on issues in the Education industry. Many other academics have deep specialist skills relevant to industry.

Finally, there are talented individual who simply prefer the freedom of self-employment. Ya'akov Yehudi, a self-described autodidact, worked extensively on Information Security issues for the Israeli government before establishing his own consultancy.

The table below provides examples of the types of talent available from smaller consultancies across each of WhoKnowsAbout’s 30 knowledge categories. Click through to read the profiles of these highly experienced consultants and see some of the deep expertise available.

Knowledge Category Consultant Link Company
Primary IndustriesJohn Ganserwww.linkedin.com/in/johnganserDownstream Consulting
EnergyArthur Bermanwww.linkedin.com/in/arthur-berman-b188b01bLabyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.
Power & Utilities SectorNeso Mijuskovicwww.linkedin.com/in/neso-mijuskovic-36567a60Independent Consultant
Chemicals & Basic MaterialsFrancis Mirabellawww.linkedin.com/in/francis-mirabella-2331585Mirabella Practical Consulting Solutions, Inc.
Manufacturing IndustriesKurt Pickardwww.linkedin.com/in/kurt-pickard-6b66469/Kurt Pickard & Associates
Transport & TravelDesiderio Fernandeswww.linkedin.com/in/desiderio-fernandes-6a385336/Logistics Consultant
Retail & WholesaleBill Kinneywww.linkedin.com/in/bill-kinney-308aba19Kinney International Retail Consultants
Consumer Goods & ServicesAlesia Bockwww.linkedin.com/in/alesia-bock-815a4a32AgriSystems International
Pharmaceuticals & BiotechRoy Bohenzkywww.linkedin.com/in/roybohenzky/ Independent Consultant
Healthcare SectorValerie Rinklewww.linkedin.com/in/valerie-rinkle-83666037Valorize Consulting LLC
Financial Services SectorClive Bastowwww.linkedin.com/in/clivebastow/Eliptica Financial Limited
Telecoms & TechnologyRob Chiverswww.linkedin.com/in/rob-chivers-4b4bbb7Atlantex Consulting Limited
Media & EntertainmentLance Youngwww.linkedin.com/in/lancelyoung/Consultant Specializing in Entertainment & Media
Public Sector & DefenseMatthew Ohlsonwww.linkedin.com/in/matthew-ohlson-ph-d-924b7830Assistant Professor, University of North Florida
Social Sector & NonprofitsFerdousi Sultana Begumwww.linkedin.com/in/ferdousi-sultana-begum-aa958b6aSocial Development and Gender Specialist
Data Analytics & AIChandra Mouli Kotta Kotawww.linkedin.com/in/chandra-mouli-kotta-kota-09620713Co-Founder, AnalytixLabs
IT & Security ConsultingYa'akov Yehudiwww.linkedin.com/in/informationsecurityInformation Security Consultant
ERP & CRM SystemsJason Rauhwww.linkedin.com/in/jrauhJRauh Consulting
Human ResourcesJamie Ripmanwww.linkedin.com/in/jamieripmanPractive Ltd.
OperationsPaul Everittwww.linkedin.com/in/paul-everitt-63392449EEF
Sourcing & Supply ChainRené Gramwww.linkedin.com/in/renegramProkura A/S
Sales & Channel ManagementSteve Farfsingwww.linkedin.com/in/stevefarfsing/Revenue Stream Caribe, LLC
Marketing & BrandingBart Flahertywww.linkedin.com/in/bart-flaherty-b0bb636Director, PIIKU
Strategy & PlanningStaffan Canbackwww.linkedin.com/in/scanback/Managing Director at Canback
Transformation & ChangeLouise Hariswww.linkedin.com/in/louiseaharris/SToS Consulting Inc
M&AMauro Fiorucciwww.linkedin.com/in/mauro-fiorucci-1069252Opportune LLP
Economics & RegulatoryDavid Stallibrasswww.linkedin.com/in/david-stallibrass-87340239First Principles Economics
Financial & Risk ManagementRobert Fiedlerwww.linkedin.com/in/robertfiedlerLiquidity Risk Corp.
Corporate Affairs & PRSue Veywww.linkedin.com/in/sue-vey-59b4385/Reputation Management Consulting
Sustainability & EnvironmentNeil Franklinwww.linkedin.com/in/neilfranklin69/Daemeter Consulting

The key insight is that there are very high levels of expertise within smaller boutiques and among independent consultants. Consulting clients may find more capability in this sector than in the larger consulting firms, especially for very specialised skills.

Of course, the constraint to date has been one of efficiently identifying these hidden gems.

WhoKnowsAbout has now resolved this, mapping the capabilities and experience of more than 500,000 consultants in each of 7,000 knowledge areas. This makes it easy to identify the consultant with the specific expertise you require, and it means that smaller consultancies can more efficiently ‘transmit’ their expertise to a wider range of prospective clients.

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