Friday, September 21, 2007

Prosys Consulting Group, Open for Business

I am happy to announce that a former Jobster colleague and I have launched a consulting services organization, Prosys Consulting Group Inc. The concept for Prosys was born out of our own experiences as independent consultants, building our own businesses during much of 2007.

Prosys in a Nutshell

Business and technology consulting services are a well established economy in the
Pacific Northwest and beyond. Whether the firm is Accenture at the national level or Slalom
Consulting from a multi-region perspective, the typical business model of a consulting firm is to hire and train professionals as full-time employees and staff them to projects, charging the client up to and beyond $300 per hour, depending on the project and skill sets needed. Consultants are typically paid as salaried employees.

In this model, I believe that only the consulting firm truly wins, with rich margins. Clients are left with high consulting rates that climb steadily as the firm becomes more entrenched in the company. Experienced consultants, while they may see a competitive salary, see a low salary relative to the value they provide the client. I consider this to be a large gap in the current model, and a big opportunity for Prosys.

The Prosys Group has developed a consulting co-op business model that aims to change this equation, so that all stakeholders win. Prosys is an alternative to the high margin consulting firm model, empowering experienced professionals to become independent consultants. Prosys then provides member consultants with everything they need to set up and run their own consulting company, and removes the professional’s “fear of the unknown.” Some informal polling of professionals we conducted identified the some of the reasons that people decide not to independently consult - our goal is to "take the edge off" of those issues.

Prosys has put the finances, people and processes in place to handle key shared services for the consultants, including contracts, accounting, invoicing, upfront payment for work completed regardless of when the client pays their invoice. Most importantly, Prosys offers long-term value to member consultants by maintaining a "clearinghouse" of new projects to make finding the next project less daunting.

The result of these services is a win-win model that:
  1. Empowers professionals consultants to be independent, building their own business.

  2. Offer client companies the same consulting talent at lower rates than the large consulting firms.

  3. Consultants enjoy a higher salary, more in-line with the value they provide the client

Growth Strategy: Referrals

Core to our strategy is the way that we intend to grow. Rather than have a sales team pushing consultants out into the market, we are relying on a "pull model." When our member consultants come across new opportunities with their clients, they are relayed to the rest of the member community. On the consultant side, Prosys is very selective about the consultants that join our community, insuring the highest of quality. Recommendations and referrals from those who have personal knowledge of their work is a must to be accepted. We think that this rigorous approach will insure that the referrals continue to flow.

With a solid collection of consultants and opportunities in our pipeline, I am optimistic that Prosys will be a provider of great value to Northwest companies for some time to come.