Needless to say, today's computing needs are growing. We are currently at a tipping point. Several companies decide to introduce the best management practices using specialized and efficient software solutions. Others are trying to modernize and update their existing software.
One thing is certain. We all agree that the use of flexible solutions adapted to the reality of each business remains a key competitiveness factor. For companies with no internal resources to be able to support them in this way, the use of external consultants is probably an adequate solution avoiding improvisation. There is more than one factor that must be taken into account in order to choose who will consult with your company in the best way. Of these, the most frequently considered is undoubtedly the size of the chosen firm.
In this area, "Bigger is better" is not always true! I make my case answering various questions that have come up during my career. These concerns push companies to choose large consulting firms, for better or worse.
Do larger companies have more experience?
Not particularly. Although it is easy to imagine that large companies have more ability to acquire talent, this is not impossible for smaller companies. The latter often have a more specialized service and it's this specialization that attracts experienced employees.
These individuals tend to work in small firms to provide a specific service they master. In fact, many experienced people from large companies decide to start a business for similar reasons. They try to escape the complexity of large corporations.
In addition to experience, we must not neglect the contribution of new consultants, which are dynamic and motivated. IT is a field in constant evolution and the addition of recent graduates (supervised), is unavoidable in a team of efficient consultants.
Finally, although large companies have larger means, the smaller companies attract those who try to avoid a large hierarchical organization. So it's clear to me that big companies do not necessarily have more experience than smaller ones.
Do big companies offer better service?
It all depends on the service. For a small consulting firm, customer satisfaction is paramount and even vital to its survival. Customers become the center of all priorities. Company growth depends to a relatively larger degree on meeting and exceeding customer expectations. For larger companies, the service is more complete and determined. The corporate hierarchy allows for more complex and fixed service management, while for a small company, services are often more flexible and simplified.
In smaller companies, launching a new project usually monopolizes the entire company. For the benefit of the client, all employees are aware of the project and the project goal becomes everyone’s goal to some degree, rather than that of a small number of employees. The entire organization remains focused on customer satisfaction. So do not be surprised if, unlike larger companies, you receive answers to your e-mails in the evenings and on weekends. For a smaller firm, customers are more than just customers. They become essential business partners and valuable allies.
Do large companies have better retention of knowledge?
It all comes down to management. Since large companies often have large teams, obviously the impact of the departure of any one skilled employee is minimized. Size is a way to overcome the risk of losing knowledge. In a smaller team, good and rigorous documentation management is important. In addition, collaboration between the team members means that departures in the middle of projects are a bit more rare.
Finally, anxious to maintain expertise and knowledge, a successful consultant firm will have complete, clear and precise technical documentation. The key to success for a team of smaller consultants: being united and dedicated to customer success! Thus, all will be ready to face the challenges that customers bring, with a high level of quality and reasonable costs.
Remember that the experience of a consulting firm comes from those who make up the firm and not from the age or size of the company. Smaller firms do not have the option to fail and must succeed at all costs. Customers are given every consideration. Do not be afraid of small teams or human-sized consulting firms. They very often are made up of experienced experts who only want to get closer to customer needs to participate actively in their success.
Remember that members of a small firm have often voluntarily chosen not to work in a large company with the objective of concentrating all their efforts to help their customers.
In short, no matter the size of the company that will be selected, it is not the number of offices, administrative staff or engineers that will make a difference. The real difference will be the people dedicated to your project!