Often, when a company begins a master data management (MDM) initiative, they realize they need help but aren’t sure where to begin. Sign on with a big global consultancy? Hire a Systems Integrator (SI)? Or look for a specialized boutique?
Given the myriad of options, it’s a valid dilemma. Let’s explore a few pros and cons across four crucial areas.
#1: Strength of Specialties
One of the perceived strengths of a consulting conglomerate is the expanse of areas they cover. However, while they’re typically skilled at delivering high-level strategic vision, they often lack deep technical knowledge in specialty areas.
Similarly, while SI’s can be great for low-cost services, their strategy and advisory capabilities miss the mark when it comes to addressing complex business requirements.
It’s no mystery that a boutique, in most cases, will offer more targeted expertise. They often bring specialized capabilities focused on delivering point solutions.
Who has the upper hand? When it comes to a range of specialties, big consulting has the upper hand. However, when it comes to depth of specialties, bigger does not mean better. Niche firms are better equipped to apply deep expertise to targeted business challenges.
#2: A Nimble Culture
Culture is another area where big firms and smaller consultancies split.
Big firms can present an impressive front, but it’s tough for giants to pivot. They lack the ability to be nimble once the process cuts deeper into enterprise execution.
SI’s have a greater amount of agility to adapt to customers’ needs. However, limitations in their strategic capabilities may hold a client back.
Who has the upper hand? Boutiques are typically the nimblest in the crowd. There’s less red tape to cut through. Plus, clients have easier access to top management, which means full support applies quickly to any issues or opportunities that arise.
Expertise is important, but it loses its effectiveness when delivered in a bland, one-size-fits-all approach. To make an impact, expertise must combine with personalization. However, this can be challenging, depending on the level of top-down involvement.
It’s not uncommon for larger firms to back-up the bus and assign a slew of junior associates who are quick to claim a project or platform can’t be customized to meet the client’s requests. Smaller organizations are better at applying the personalized approach that businesses need when implementing mission-critical MDM programs.
Who has the upper hand? Depending on the mindset and approach, SI’s and boutiques both do a great job of personalizing the clients’ experience and solutions. Boutiques may edge out the competition for their ability to think outside the box.
Flexibility is certainly related to personalization and agility, but it deserves its own special spot on the list of pros and cons. We see this play out often in the area of certain data domains that only a boutique can provide.
Analysts tend to think that MDM should fit into a particular set of capabilities and use cases, and big firms generally play by their rules. However, when you apply MDM to real-world business needs, solution design needs to take a more creative approach.
For example, a recent Amplifi client – IPC Subway – faced debilitating data quality issues, including a lack of visibility to pricing components. Pricing and inventory (transactional data) are not typical MDM areas, but we weren’t willing to back down from a client’s needs. So, Amplifi worked to deliver the EnterWorks PIM platform with a Pricing Domain and Vendor Portal. The result? Improved partner collaboration and supply chain efficiencies, plus a single source of truth for costing and pricing data to the tune of $1.3 million in annual cost avoidance.
Who has the upper hand? You’re more likely to hear “we can’t do that” from a big consultancy. And while boutiques strive for flexibility, they are often unable to scale and struggle to meet the complex needs of larger organizations.
SI’s, in this case, may have the upper hand. Stability meets flexibility for a more agile culture that can adapt to meet customers’ evolving needs.
Who Do You Trust?
Approaching an MDM implementation can feel overwhelming. There are usually numerous hurdles to overcome, and getting to the other side requires a highly strategic plan of attack. Who will you trust to guide you through?
A recent Inc.com article points out that, “Big competitors’ perceived advantages can often mask their even bigger disadvantages.” So, when evaluating a big consultancy vs. a smaller firm, make sure you clearly consider the pros and cons of specialized expertise, nimbleness, stability, and a personalized approach.
Where does Amplifi fit in the picture?
We know that companies need the stability of a large firm, the deep expertise of an SI, and the nimbleness of a boutique. So, we’ve built our company as a true partner that delivers the best of all three.
We understand the intersection of people, process, and technology and apply a ‘secret sauce’ for connecting those dots for the biggest impact. Data is what we do – and for companies looking for digital transformation, that’s a huge competitive advantage.
No matter where you are in your MDM journey, Amplifi can help. Master data is all we do, and we do it best.
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