Boutique BCM Firms: Good Things Come in Small Packages

Richard Long

Companies seeking help with their business continuity management programs can choose between giant consulting companies, small boutique firms, or something in between. When you’re choosing a business continuity consulting firm, quality help is available across the spectrum, but in our view, boutique BCM firms offer something special.

Related on MHA Consulting: Client’s Guide to Hiring a BC Consultant

The expression “good things come in small packages” doesn’t mean that only small things are good. It just means that bigger isn’t necessarily better—and that size does not always correlate with value.

Some large things are excellent: The Grand Canyon is an example. Some small things are wonderful: newborn grandchildren, for instance.

Basically, the value of something doesn’t depend on its size but on other factors.

This is certainly true of business continuity management consulting firms and services.

BCM’S Big Boys

As a business continuity management consultant at a boutique firm, MHA Consulting, I am always aware of the presence out there of the gigantic, powerhouse consulting companies that offer BCM consulting.

These globe-spanning professional services networks provide consulting services to the lion’s share of the world’s biggest corporations. They’re very large companies with a presence in multiple countries and hundreds of thousands employees. (MHA has around a dozen.)

The big firms didn’t get big by accident. They have formidable and well-deserved reputations for competence, in BC consulting and other areas.

There used to be a saying, “Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM.” The same could be said today of some of the large firms offering BC consulting services. Those firms are safe picks for anyone tasked with hiring BC help. Nobody ever got in trouble for hiring one of them to do their BCM consulting.

Small Firms That Deliver Big Results

That said, however, being big isn’t everything. The big boys do not have a monopoly on BCM experience and skill. When you’re choosing a business continuity consulting firm, it’s important to remember they aren’t the only firms with a positive track record, a history of success, and experience working across multiple industries.

And they aren’t your only options for getting quality business continuity management services.

The big BC firms might not even be a realistic option for your company, depending on its size and BCM budget. The large consultancies’ staff and reputations aren’t the only things about them that are hefty. Their fees are, too.

The large firms have many strengths, but there are some things that boutique BCM firms are uniquely good at delivering to their clients. Perhaps some of these are especially valuable to your company.

Here are a few things that small BCM firms like MHA Consulting tend to be especially good at providing:

  1. Cost savings. Smaller firms tend to charge less than the big ones for the same quantity of work performed to a comparable level of excellence. Boutiques usually charge less by the hour and by the engagement.
  2. Flexibility. Boutiques tend to offer more flexibility and adaptability in tailoring their offerings to meet the customer’s needs. The big firms’ processes are deep and effective but also relatively fixed and formal.
  3. Accountability. When you work with a boutique BCM firm, the CEO is almost certainly just a phone call away. There’s a good chance he or she might even be your BCM consultant and primary contact.
  4. Consultant experience. At the big firms, you might find yourself working with junior-level consultants. In working with a smaller firm such as MHA, you are likely to work with seasoned professionals—people who had related careers in other organizations before becoming consultants.
  5. Consultant breadth. At big firms, consultants tend to specialize. At a small firm like MHA, consultants tend to be experienced in the whole range of BCM issues and tasks, from business functions and IT/disaster recovery, to crisis management, recovery planning, BIAs, mock disaster exercises, and regulatory requirements. This means that instead of having to work with (and pay for) four or five consultants, you can develop a close working relationship with one or two.
  6. Specialization. Some boutique business continuity firms specialize in certain aspects of BCM (such as relocation) or in BCM for certain industries (such as banking). Depending on your situation, such a firm might be a good fit for your organization.

Large firms offering BCM consulting services have many strengths, but the six areas listed above are ones where boutique firms just might have the edge.

Find a BC Consulting Firm That Will Meet Your Needs

Firms offering BCM consulting services run the gamut from gigantic multinational corporations to small boutique firms such as MHA. Quality services are available from companies across the size spectrum, but certain kinds of clients might find a boutique firm to be a better fit. These include companies that put a priority on cost savings, flexibility, accountability, and consultant experience and breadth of knowledge, and/or companies seeking a firm that specializes in their issue or sector.

In choosing a partner to help you meet your BCM needs, the most important thing is not the size and fame of your consulting firm, it’s finding a firm that understands your goals and can meet your needs.

Further Reading

For more information on choosing a business continuity consulting firm and other hot topics in business continuity and IT/disaster recovery, check out the following recent posts from MHA Consulting and BCMMETRICS:

About
Richard Long is one of MHA’s practice team leaders for Technology and Disaster Recovery related engagements. He has been responsible for the successful execution of MHA business continuity and disaster recovery engagements in industries such as Energy & Utilities, Government Services, Healthcare, Insurance, Risk Management, Travel & Entertainment, Consumer Products, and Education. Prior to joining MHA, Richard held Senior IT Director positions at PetSmart (NASDAQ: PETM) and Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT) and has been a senior leader across all disciplines of IT. He has successfully led international and domestic disaster recovery, technology assessment, crisis management and risk mitigation engagements.
IT/DR TestingCOVID-19 as a BCM professional