Six years ago, after being in an EPM client role for a few years, I decided to transition to a EPM10 & BPC consultant role. There are pro’s and con’s to every professional choice. If you are thinking about making the switch into a consultant role, this may help your decision process. This is not a comprehensive list just a personal perspective. For many this may seem like a lateral move, but it was much more of an upgrade.
Compensation Rates: Most likely your current position is salaried and you are not compensated for overtime after 40 hours. With most consulting firm compensation plans, you will be compensated for every billable hour that you work. When a project demands more than 40 billable hours in a week, you will earn more for your effort. Travel time by itself is not billable however, unless you are able to work on a project while traveling.
Pros: 1 Cons: 0
Travel: You should expect to travel almost every week as a consultant usually leaving on Monday morning and returning Thursday evening. Of course, for the most part this is a con. But you can mitigate this by making your travel as routine as possible like driving to work would be. Travel also becomes easier once you start aggregating points with airlines and hotels through frequent flyer miles or hotel status cards. Sometimes you will travel to interesting places and experience some sites in the evenings. If consecutive jobs sites are close you may be able to stay over a weekend without feeling like you traveled back and forth. Therefore this section is a con but I give .5 to pro for the wonderful personal travel benefits.
Pros: 1.5 Cons: 1
Working From Home: You will have the opportunity to do a lot of your work from home, usually on Fridays, a “travel break week” on a project, or some small/shorter projects. You can’t beat the commute!
Pros: 2.5 Cons: 1
Skills Enhancement and Training: Most consulting firms will provide you with training opportunities with BPC and EPM including but not limited to implementation, tips and tricks, solutions and knowing what is coming down the pipeline with their solution partners. Working with other consultants and interacting with client personnel will expand your skills and knowledge. When you are a “full time employee” it is harder to feel like you have time or determination to learn. However as a consultant keeping up on the latest and greatest is part of the reason the firm keeps you on job sites.
Pros: 3.5 Cons: 1
Company Politics: You will have to deal with personalities, turf wars, red tape and other company politics at your clients, just like you do with your current company. However as I’m not personally invested in these individual companies most times I’m not affected by the client’s politics. When the project is over I get to walk away from those politics. Therefore it is much easier to be focused on the task at hand without getting involved in “water cooler moments”.
Pros: 4.5 Cons: 1
Networking: You will meet many people, work with them closely, and they will become solid contacts. In some cases these contacts will develop into friends. The good firms have networking meetings whether in the form of yearly company meetings, multiple corporate networking events for certain locations or sponsoring events which they will help you show up to. As a consultant you don’t have to attend but if you don’t attend than you won’t meet anyone.
Pros: 5.5 Cons: 1
Solution Building: As a consultant, you will be exposed to many different implementations of EPM solutions. I personally enjoy learning about the client’s requirements, designing a solution for those requirements, and the creativity of developing that solution. Helping a client upgrade from BPC to EPM 10, or rescuing a failed implementation of BPC or EPM 10 are both particularly horizon-expanding. I also enjoy conveying product knowledge to the client, and teaching them how to maintain the solution. With each new project, this process is repeated, which again is something I really enjoy.
Pros: 6.5 Cons: 1
Exposure to Many Industries: In my experience with Column5, I’ve worked with businesses in the winery, temporary labor, concert promotion, home building, tobacco, telecommunications, grocery, hospital, mining, newspaper, chemical, power generation, and manufacturing industries. I find it very interesting to learn about each industry, and also how different organizations operate.
Pros: 7.5 Cons: 1
Consulting is not for everyone; It presents a unique set of demands and is a challenging, yet interesting and rewarding experience. Hopefully this helps give you a peek into the world of being a consultant.
Column5 Consulting is continually adding talented individuals. If you are thinking of expanding professionally and looking for a transition, then I encourage you to visit our careers page to view any open positions.