When you hire a service provider, you want them to be on hand with help and advice. Lately I’ve been reading articles a lot, but they criticize the fact that consulting often provides too much advice instead of action. Specifically, the criticism means that too much theory is sold at a high level and too little real advice takes place. This criticism hits IT service providers particularly hard.
So shows Nicolas Kittner this in a quote on: The problem with most consultants is that they are only consultants. They are on a meta-level, everything is macro, nothing micro. It’s about trends in the market, about processes, about structures, about price models, about business plans and brand strategies. But consultants need to know the micro, they need to know how to turn an e-commerce strategy into a shop, how to build a prototype from an idea, how to develop a product from trends.
So Kittner demands: Consultants who program. Consultants who design. Managers who develop prototypes. Numerous service providers have embraced this development and have since called themselves agile IT service providers. But what does that mean and how do I work with one?

Agile IT service providers

One approach for one agile I already have IT service providers in Article: Influence of digital change on IT service providers presented and would just like to touch on this here briefly. Overall, more consultants, doers and implementers are desired, who think outside the box and offer everything, so the criticism in the articles. A service provider should be able to cover an entire process from start to finish.
But one service provider can often not cover everything. Let’s think of a small consulting house with 30 people. It is simply impossible to cover an entire IT process. A solution that I already have in the Consulting 4.0 Article is: you enter into partnerships. So you offer the customer a complete and comprehensive service. As a service provider, I use other service providers to do this, but manage them in such a way that the customer does not notice with the focus on high added value for the customer.

  agile it dienstleister agiles consulting
Agile IT service provider with a focus on the customer (own illustration)

Consulting Y

Everything that can be digitized will be digitized. Simply because it works. Companies that cannot withstand the frenzied pressure to innovate in the age of the digital revolution are dying out like dinosaurs. But who should implement the increasingly complex digital transformation processes in times of skills shortages and demographic change? Ferdinando Piumelli asks himself in his book Consulting Y. In this book I have found two exciting passages, which I would like to elaborate on in the following. For more information, see this Book by Ferdinando Piumelli .

External or internal?

Companies continuously need new know-how if they can assert themselves against the competition. Since only a few top executives have the necessary know-how to develop innovations, companies cannot avoid working with external experts, said Puimelli.
This thesis may be true. But how does the cooperation with an agile service provider work? According to Puimelli there are 4 possibilities for this, of which I would like to introduce 3.
The first case is about a one-time project. According to Puimelli, it does not make economic sense to qualify employees for a one-off case. The external award of the project offers itself. The advantages are that external service providers have, at best, already carried out similar projects many times, so that the company can benefit from this experience and be guided through the process. Disadvantages are that after completion of the project there are no know-how carriers in the company who are deeply familiar with the subject. This is particularly problematic if the project team has developed a product that will later require a lot of support.
Further offers Outsourcing at. Puimelli says: If entire processes or individual applications are outsourced to service providers in Asia (offshore) or Eastern Europe (nearshore), we speak of outsourcing. This form of cooperation entices with considerable cost savings. However, it requires that the processes are semi-automated and that each individual service is precisely defined.
The last form are honorary powers, because in Germany there is the right expert for every problem and an almost unmanageable number Freelancers , said Puimelli. He also sees it as an advantage that the company hardly enters into commitments and can meet short-term personnel requirements. Disadvantages are that, according to Puimelli, freelancers are like mercenaries and are looking for the most expensive contract offer. Real loyalty cannot be expected here.

Trust in the service provider

The success of a consultant and consultant is not primarily determined by his professional competence. At least as crucial to success is his ability to enter into and maintain trusting relationships, says Puimelli in his book.
However, he also speaks of a dilemma: In the relationship between consultant and manager, however, the difficulty arises that the manager has an interest in securing a certain information advantage in his area of responsibility in order to secure his position in the company. Innovations are therefore only of interest as long as they do not endanger his own existence. At the same time, it is in the interests of the consultant to gain as much insight as possible into the company in order to be able to provide meaningful and promising advice beyond the current case and possibly generate follow-up orders.
He describes the solution in a concept of credibility, reliability and relationship, which must be built. He also describes these abstract elements in more detail:
For example, credibility consists of the following elements: knowledge, presence and behavior. The basis for credibility as a consultant is professional competence. But beyond that, a presence must be shown in personal interaction that shows genuine interest, integrity and loyalty. It starts with the appropriate clothing. The third component is honest and consistent behavior. That means not talking about difficulties nicely, but also addressing unpleasant truths. No promise should be made that cannot be kept. Like credibility, reliability and relationships can also be translated into concrete, trainable attitudes and behaviors. A trusting relationship can be established in a targeted manner and does not have to be a coincidence.

Is that agile consulting now?

Whether this is agile consulting or Consulting Y cannot be clearly determined, but something seems to be changing for medium-sized companies. The strategy is visibly changing towards agile service providers and the type of partnership is also changing. The framework contracts are loosening up and enable new forms of agile cooperation as well as the more flexible provision of services and even implementation of the Work 4.0.
If you would like to find out more about this topic Consulting Y, please feel free to contact the Round tables participate and discuss relevant topics with myself and other experts. Also read my article on Tradition in the middle class or for Influence of digital change on IT service providers and take a look at the Article Consulting 4.0 . Take a look in Book by Ferdinando Piumelli to Consulting Y.
[werbung] Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Ferdinando Piumelli . (2016). Consulting Y – The digital transformation . Bielefeld: Edition Carthago.


I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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