Professional consulting is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. Many companies need expertise in various fields that are not easily available within their own company. Even more importantly, sometimes it is more cost effective to contract out work to consults than to hire the needed help. Hiring an employee comes with a lot of overhead, such as health benefits, vacation time, and sick time. This is why many companies prefer to contract consultants or a consulting firm to complete a specific task or project. This not only saves a company financial resources but also the time required to train a new employee for completing a specific task.
A technical software like Oracflex, which is an oil and gas software for designing off-shore and marine structures, requires specialized expertise to be used. It is not enough to simply purchase the software for use, as it is more like a toolkit that is used by engineering consultants to design structures. This is a great example of why a company would contract outside consultants for a project. A company requiring design work of a marine or off-shore structure could simply search for a consulting firm specializing in this type of work to contract a project to be completed. With a statement of work and agreed rates, a company can begin their project within days. Otherwise, if I company decides to hire its own experts, then it could take anywhere from weeks to months before a project could be started. Hiring a consulting firm or contracting with consultants increases the speed that a company can ramp up the required talent to implement a project.
Whenever a company is searching for a consultant or a consulting firm the most natural starting place would be searching on the internet. Searching for engineering consulting firms on Google will return a heap of results. So how does a company go about selecting the consulting firm that is the best fit for them? Well this depends on a few factors, such as the size of the project, the project’s budget, the project’s timeline, and the importance of quality. There are many consulting firms that have many resources located off-shore like in India. These consulting firms can deliver a large workforce for an inexpensive cost, but many times lack the quality required for a project.
When searching on the internet for a consulting firm to contract work, it would be best to start with reading reviews or examining past projects that the consulting firm has completed successfully. It would also be advantageous to read reviews by professional analyst companies such as Gartner or Forrester. Analysts are better equipped to review and give insights on a particular consulting firm than just a person that has used the consulting firm in the past. Many analysts publish their findings online or make them available for a fee. Lastly, using social media tools like LinkedIn can be of great assistance. LinkedIn could be used to ask for opinions and recommendations of consulting firms that have been used in the past.