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TECH/INDUSTRY: Top 10 Consultants

Modern Healthcare just printed a list of the Top 10 Consultants in health care. I was staggered to find that Matthew Holt Consulting was not on that list, but then I realized that it was top 10 by revenue rather than by pithy insight. The revenue estimate for  the top 10 is around $5.7bn, which seems to include Life Sciences. If you look deep within the site of the consulting firm that put the list together you’ll see that they estimate that only 33% of the spending on consultants goes to these big guys, which I guess shows that there’s plenty of room for the little guys, and healthy disrespect for the value that the big guys bring.

But with IBM buying Healthlink and Accenture sucking up CapGemini, plus more and more of the big software vendors making most of their money on consulting services rather than pure software sales — and with the government getting into the game — expect more money to be spent on consulting in the coming years.

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  1. I think boutique consulting firms are often overlooked because they haven’t had time to build a reputation. Vault has great information on what firms are out there, as well as what their rates are. They also have information on the culture of the workplace and what jobs are available for anyone who is thinking of getting into this type of career. They have really been able to help me find the right consulting firm for my business. You should check them out.

  2. With bigger ones you often pay exorbinate rates for less experienced folks.
    This is not found just in the area of healthcare. I used to work at a small (revenues) company which felt it had to have a Big Four (or Eight at the time) accounting firm; every year the firm would send its newbies out to do the audit, and every year we’d waste inordinate amounts of time (and thus money) explaining how things worked.

  3. //With bigger ones you often pay exorbinate rates for less experienced folks.//
    Couldn’t agree more.
    //enterprise-level project//
    My sense is the value of this has been inflated, and this is part of the reason big corporations are paying in bullion for a few high schoolers to scavenget the internet for dhtml (re: “Rapid Application Development of Rich Web Applications”). *cries*

  4. The value of boutique consulting firms vs. big ones is that with smaller ones you get what you pay for. With bigger ones you often pay exorbinate rates for less experienced folks.
    That said, I couldn’t agree more that the big guys are the only who have the bredth and depth to deliver on an enterprise-level project (even if they don’t actually have the resources to bring to bear (a la Accenture and the NHS) they have the resources to almost quickly enough get them.

  5. I want to add to the above that this guy was the “white” face of an Indian consulting firm – which says a lot to me about the racism as well as the sexism of the consulting field.

  6. Linkmeister – I’m coming from the perspective of working for several large corporations. Lots of people who are independent contractors/business-owners describe themselves as consultants (Hi, Matthew! *waves*) – but all I saw in the large corporate setting were consultants from big-name consulting firms. They were nearly all male and commanded stupendous hourly rates for doing NOTHING except having a good sales rap. My favorite was the guy who showed up at Kaiser just to gift the “decision-making” managers with bottles of wine imported from Europe. He actually looked like the stereotype of Harvard business school: very, very tall; blond; sharp suit. I remember his name and look forward to it coming up some day in a massive corruption and bribery scandal.

  7. //Useless consultants come in both male and female versions.//
    Lest my complaint about the sexism of the field be misunderstood, I would also regard a woman who makes $250/hour for delivering the “answers” she gets from a temp making $12/hr. as ridiculously overpaid. At the minute we do have male theater here, constructed through the transfer of super-sized paychecks.

  8. For 1040 purposes my occupation is consultant, but I’m really a clipping service; I subscribe to and pass along articles from a slew of journals my clients don’t have time to read themselves. I sure don’t make that list (drat!).

  9. I actually don’t think that they’re not worth it per se. In general only the larger firms have the ability to put in the systems that plans and providers need. however, it is well known that “gilding the lilly” is common among the bigger consulting firms — I’ve knocked McKinsey often enough in this respect in the past. I think that better value is often delivered by the very boutique firms that have mostly senior staff. but then again I’m biased in that regard.

  10. So what you’re saying is that consultants – especially from giant firms – often aren’t worth the exorbinate rates that they’re paid?
    Never 🙂
    Useless consultants come in both male and female versions.

  11. Nothing depresses me so much as consulting, because it’s really just a transfer of money to well-dressed gangs of men. Consultants, especially technical consultants, are overwhelmingly men. But the outrageous thing is that women, who are hired as lower-status “temps” rather than consultants, often bring equal if not better hard skills to the job (both business and technical), and they put in the work for their pay. Meanwhile the consultants flit around to different meetings and use their contacts (in including the poor women *temping* at their own firms) to find the answers they need, to produce the statistics and do the coding that they don’t have saved in a library, and to create the presentations that the consultants deliver. Yet the consultant is the one perceived as “delivering” – and they get paid 10x or more per hour than a temp. They are only being paid for playing a role that makes corporate executives feel important and powerful, and this is unfair.

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