By hiring a consultant, clients have access to deeper levels of expertise than would be financially feasible for them to retain in-house on a long-term basis. Moreover, clients can control their expenditures on consulting services.
I was with a famous comedian when a young fan walked up and asked for an autograph. The comedian blew him off. I’ll never forget the look on the young boy’s face. He was devastated.
Consultants provide their advice to their clients in a variety of forms. Reports and presentations are often used. However, in some specialized fields, the consultant may develop customized software or other products for the client. Depending on the nature of the consulting services and the wishes of the client, the advice from the consultant may be made public, by placing the report or presentation online.
Such consultants are often called “contractors” since they are usually providing technical services (such as programming or systems analysis) that could be performed in-house were it not easier for the employer to operate a flexible system of only hiring such technologists at times of peak workload rather than permanently.
Some consultants are employed indirectly by the client via a consultancy staffing company, a company that provides consultants on an agency basis. The staffing company itself does not usually have consulting expertise but works rather like an employment agency. This form of working is particularly common in the ICT sector.