Small guys guiding

Don’t Let the Big Guys Fool You – Why Working with Smaller Consultancies Teams is the Key to Successful Software Development

big consulting firms on software projects

Many businesses face a common challenge when it comes to building software: how to find the right expertise and resources to deliver their projects on time, on budget, and with high quality. If you’re thinking about finding the right partners to help your delivery, you might be considering working with a big consultancy firm, but before you go booking in with the ‘suits’ at Accenture or Deloitte, let’s talk about why that might not be the right choice. Instead, you might want to consider working with a smaller specialised consultancy and here’s why.

First off, those big consulting firms tend to shuffle around their staff like a deck of cards, meaning you could end up with a team that’s constantly changing and wasting time on re-training behind the scenes. After all you don’t have to look too far to read about another sad big 4 burnout story, or hear from a mate looking for a new job after giving top-firm consulting a go. Small businesses are often more effective at attracting and retaining top talent, due to their ability to offer more flexibility and personalisation in their approach to hiring and management, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management. In other words, with a smaller consultancy you are more likely to see a consistent and experienced team, with real tech professionals who are familiar enough with the project that they can anticipate and handle risks, innovate, and deliver top-notch software. It’s no surprise that according to a report by Gartner, only 15% of IT projects using large consultancies are considered successful, compared to 50% of projects undertaken by small consultancies.

Now feedback on my last blog post was that you guys like stats, so lets hurl a couple more numbers at you.

  1. Research shows that smaller and mid-sized consulting firms are winning more large-scale tech projects and a survey conducted by Econsultancy found that 74% of businesses prefer to work with specialised consultancies, citing their expertise and industry knowledge as key advantages.
  2. A study by Source Global Research found that 60% of clients prefer to work with smaller consultancies, citing greater agility, more personalised services, and better value for money as key factors.

Essentially the above are saying that if you want a personalised and responsive experience when you are building out, quite possibly your most important business asset, a specialist consultancy is the way to go. They can work closely with you to provide a tailored service that meets your needs and requirements.

Now, let’s talk bottom line. It’s a tough gig being labelled your companies biggest cost centre. I get it. So if you are cost-sensitive, it comes to me as an absolute no-brainier to ditch the big guys.  Smaller consultancies are often more affordable than their big-name counterparts, due to their lower overheads, lack of brand awareness and more focused approach to service delivery. According to a Business Insider report, smaller consultancies can offer hourly rates up to 50% lower than large firms! Not to mention, the Management Consultancies Association found that 80% of clients believe that smaller consulting firms offer better value for money than larger ones. I mean how else are you going to afford those swanky golf retreats for the big 4 partners?

But it’s not just about the money. Quality matters, and that’s why you want to work with a consultancy that has real experts on board. Specialised consultancies are less likely to hire fresh grads, and mostly consist of seasoned tech wizards with a deep understanding of the technology stack and industry trends.

Fintech Founder walks in to the CBD and requests a proposal from a “top of the industry” consultancy.

Consultancy partners do an incredible pitch and founder signs up for a discovery piece.

Senior solution architects and BAs paint an awesome roadmap.

Founder signs up for full implementation deal.

Consultancy brings on 10 grads and partner comes in with a coffee once in a while.

Project is a disaster.

Sound familiar?

Well this is a pretty standard pattern. Huge graduate programs and cheaper junior staff incentivise the big fish to jack up their profit margins by ‘blending’ the team.  You wont get that with a smaller joint, and the truth is that most small consultancies consists of staff that have worked at one the bigger consultancies once upon a time anyway. It’s vital to hire experienced people to ensure the quality of a software project. It means you’ll get better software design and development, with fewer bugs, performance issues, and technical debt. Plus, experienced developers and BAs can work more closely with you to understand your needs and provide effective solutions that meet them. Why take the gamble with something so important on a team of white-belts?

So there you have it. David beats Goliath….most of the time. Let me make it clear that I’m not trying to attack anyone working at one of the big consultancies. There are plenty of guns climbing the corporate ladder and the big players have the resources to serve huge international organisations that us smaller guys don’t. My main point is that if you want to build software that’s tailor-made for your business, and your business doesn’t have a market cap of $10B, consider working with a specialist consultancy like Pro Coders. They offer a stable, experienced team, a personalised and responsive service, more affordable rates, and real experts who can build bloody awesome software.

Working with smaller consultancies teams is the key to successful software development. Speak to the team at Pro Coders and get the delivery experience your business needs.