When Should You use Consultants for Research & Development?
It's a dilemma. Try and develop in-house? Or use an external consultant?
We asked a number of our clients why they had used our consulting services. Their reasoning may help you make your decision. The main reasons they gave were:
The Project Required Unique Skills...
You probably don't have too many people on your staff with in-depth experience of data mining, compiler development, algorithm development, etc.
Even if you did have such staff, would you have a steady stream of projects in those areas with which to keep them busy? And is it going to worthwhile to train somebody in a specialist area that you rarely need, knowing that they might then leave shortly afterwards?
When unique or unusual skills are required, it generally makes sense to employ an outside consultant to both perform the work and train your staff in that area.
A Good Consultant was the Cheapest Option...
It's generally cheaper to learn from other people's mistakes rather than your own.
Implementation of a project by someone who already has experience with many of the technologies involved, who has worked in a wide range of environments, and is able to pass on their experience to your own staff may prove much less expensive than going it alone.
Although a good consultant will cost more in hourly rates than a permanent employee, savings in productivity and improvements in quality can make using a consultant the more economic choice.
The Timing was Critical...
Using a consultant who is already familiar with the key technologies involved is generally quicker than either training or recruiting staff.
If time to market is important (as it often is), using a consultant may reduce the time required to start up and complete a project by several months.
The Project Requirements Were Temporary...
Nobody likes to lay off staff. It's bad for morale, and may even lead to an exodus of your best staff the staff you most want to keep.
If your staffing requirement is temporary or uncertain (e.g. to introduce a new technology, to develop a new product or prototype, or to implement a new business process) it makes most sense to employ consultants to meet your project needs.
Albion Research Ltd. is based in Ottawa, Canada. Please contact us for more information about our services.
© Albion Research Ltd. 2013