Once you produce a short list of potential consultants,
make sure to check their references. Talk to the people
you know first, but do not hesitate to call on the
strangers as well. You will be able to learn a lot about the
consultants, who may prove to be the most significant
resource on your project.
It is customary for consulting companies to present
specific people for your project and you should demand
specific names. Make sure that the people you evaluate
in the proposals will actually be working on your project.
While “bait and switch” practices are not common,
consulting companies constantly juggle their people
and projects and you need to make sure that you get the
expertise you need, instead of just a headcount.
Using a consultant demonstrates to your
stakeholders your due diligence with
“The best way to find a good consultant is
word of mouth.”
“Check consultants’ references thoroughly.”
“Develop a relationship – it is important to
talk through your concerns as peers.”
“Question their independence!”
“P25 is seen as difficult – it is not well
“Involving a consultant will bring a
broader perspective, keep costs down
and work with all potential vendors to
keep a level playing field.”
“Decisions need to be made with experts,
but agencies are reluctant to give up their
decision making and authority.”
“As an alternative, you can employ a
consultant to do a study of your system
prior to the project.”
WHY USE CONSULTANTS?
Last, but not least, make sure your preferred consultant
has a history of awarding projects to a diverse range of
vendors. Distribution of awards reflects the reality of
the market which is dominated by one vendor; that is
to be expected.
However, selecting a consultant who consistently
awards projects to one company may be worse than
bypassing the competitive procurement process and
working directly with that vendor. Why? Even before the
“competitive” process begins, you may end up paying
for the consultant’s services, while signalling to the
preferred vendors that they are in the driver seat.
ISSUE 4 / 2014
This article is an excerpt from “P25 Best Practice – First Steps”.
For more information on procuring, specifying and
implementing a new communications system, see