This section defines a working model that includes the various aspects of running a remote practice, discussed/defined in more detail below.
Vision and Strategy
Vision defines the core that the group is trying to achieve, while strategy defines the long-term scope and direction toward achieving those goals. Vision and strategy together give a direction to the members of the group, as well as to the senior management.
Example: The remote consulting practice of Group X is aligned to and provides resources for local practices. The resources are an integral part of the consulting group, providing world-class technical delivery. Enabling local practices builds better customer relationships.
It is useful to highlight the core of the model in case one needs to understand the working structure. Essentially, in any technical consulting organization, there are four recommended levels of services: Implementation, Integration, Consulting, and Productized. The first two levels can be done remotely, and should be targeted. Customer satisfaction and product pull-through are the two most audacious goals of any consulting organization, and considering consulting and productized services remotely can be risky. Positive net operating profit after taxes comes out of the latter two levels of service, so they should be avoided remotely, because customer dissatisfaction over the long term can outweigh any short-term cost savings.
- Remote consultant is part of integrated field team
- Primary success factor: Pooled model to cover multiple small accounts, named model to cover select big accounts
- Specialization within: Product A, B, C and English-speaking geographies
- Local manager responsible for resourcing and utilization targets
- Custom methodology depends on customer, project, and region but must include, at minimum, requirements gathering, design, implementation, and testing
- All remote projects should be at least 10 hours long, because shorter projects can be done locally much more effectively
- Time zone coverage: 6pm EST to 9am EST for pooled team, providing 24x7 coverage, and customized hours for named team
Funding needs to come from local practices that deploy the remote consultants.
Example: USD 20000 per remote consultant.
You can see this information in the RACI chart shown earlier.
Example: See Table 1.
It's good to have a business plan for the entire year, along with a "Go-To Market" for the next three to five years that includes organic growth plans. It's also useful to assess career planning for the remote consultants along with local project managers.
- Assess candidate A mid-year for promotion.
- Hire two people for key account growth.
While growth is needed, a scaling model is imperative to sustainable growth. It should clearly elucidate how the remote practice intends to scale.
- It is key for remote consultants to remain customer-facing; that includes exposure to meeting customers on site.
- Cultural differences can be mitigated through experience and adequate training.
- Scaling can happen for English-speaking customers only.
- Attrition planning should be in place.
Metrics for Success
Metrics define how success or failure can be measured. A remote consulting practice calls for an additional set of metrics that provide an ongoing picture of performance and efficiency to senior management.
- Utilization and billability targets
- Utilization contribution to region, and billability contribution to local practice targets
- Revenue targets directly roll up into practices
In this section, try to capture any and all areas that cannot be covered elsewhere but are important for your model.
- Maintain a balance between local responsiveness vs. cost efficiency.
- Local manager and remote manager should sync up on at least a weekly basis.
- Avoid hiring less experienced candidates.