4 Consulting Challenges for Business Transformation in a Covid-19 World
Yechte Consulting Ltd, Colin Halliday


Cutting to the chase, this insight article is for you if you recognise the need for business transformation in a post Covid-19 world, and want to understand how a new model of consultancy and contractors can address your challenges.

At the time this blog was written the world is six months into the Covid-19 global pandemic.   Everything has changed and businesses are having to adapt at an alarming rate.

So many challenges we have directly seen businesses experience revolve around the uncertainty of the unknown:  

What is the new business focus? Will my projects still go ahead? Will I still need my team? How will my team adjust to remote working?  Will the output still be the same?  How do we need to transform as a business?

Will Consulting in an IR35 World be the Answer?

Answers to a lot of these questions have historically been found in the contracting or staffing augmentation world. Consultants and contractors have historically given the flexibility needed to deal with moving landscapes.  

However, with the advent of IR35 (albeit delayed until April 2021), that too has now brought itself increased challenges and headaches.

In addition to the well documented IR35 financial implications, contractors are often singular outfits brought in for a specific need.  However, business’ needs have now become so much more complex and this may not be the right approach.

So how do businesses move forward?  How do they still meet their deadlines and minimise the impact of this changed landscape? Is the current consulting and contracting model still the answer?

A New Model of Consulting needed for Business?

We have seen a new model emerging in the last few months to address these challenges, both in Europe and the UK.  But to first explain that model we need to explain how we fit within it.

Yechte are a digital consultancy and not a recruitment consultancy.    This is an important distinction to make for businesses and recruiters, who we both partner with.  yechte are a team of contractors who not removed from the front line of projects but have all worked on-site, directly with businesses throughout Covid-19.  

Why does this matter to you?  Because it has given us a unique first-hand experience and community across a range of Telecoms, Life Sciences, Digital Agencies and other verticals in what tactically makes a difference.

So, what makes the difference to your business?

Challenge 1: Ownership of your Consultants

Typically, contractors may come to businesses in isolation, or through recruitment firms.  In both cases their sole focus is the immediate project you have given them.  Onboarding starts from scratch and any insight gathered leaves when they do.

We have recently seen a need for greater ownership and long-term accountability where deadlines are tight, change is constant and budgets are fiercely guarded, as nothing is certain.

We believe this ownership and accountability is achieved through a long-term partnership that goes beyond your initial project.  A partner who seeks to understand both your micro and macro needs before the resource sets foot in the metaphorical door.  

That partner will then endeavour to ensure the work is completed by that resource, and you are happy throughout.

At the tactical level the resource is accountable both to you as a business, but also to yechte as its employer.  What does that mean for you?  Increased output, delivery, communication and professionalism.

This also leads us onto our next challenge: Onboarding of your consultants quickly…

Challenge 2: Accelerated Onboarding of your Consultants (often remotely!)

Understanding and anticipating your business needs is critical in fast tracking a successful onboarding of contractors.

This process historically can be slow to get up to full speed, taking one to two weeks or even longer!  Every contractor typically needs to become familiar with the following:

  • Your ways of working

  • Your technology stacks

  • Your cultural approach

  • Your key contacts

This is even harder to achieve when your contractor needs to onboard and work remotely, due to Covid-19 work restrictions. 

Having a partner who has worked at various seniority levels within businesses and knows how to ask the right questions remotely is essential to getting the resource you require up to speed quickly.  

We have seen an 80% drop in onboarding time with our contractors through this model.  By arming them with an overarching real time playbook of your business, and providing that additional time and support you would normally be required to do has had significant time and cost savings.  

This knowledge is owned by us and shared to the wider team at yechte by resources already in your business, so the next resource you need can upscale even more quickly! 

But upscaling only works if it is with the right resource… 

Challenge 3: Onboarding the Right Consultant

A partner will understand where you are heading as a business and anticipate how best to support your areas of upscaling to achieve new business transformation goals, as well as down scaling when the need is no longer there.  

They will understand the wider context of the immediate need, and the unique challenges to achieve this through remote working as a team.

Tactically they will know at a deeper level the skill and experience of the resource required to achieve your goals, as well as the cultural and communicative fit that is best needed.

We have also personally seen several instances where our consultants were able to bring our expertise to recommend a different (and in the end critical) skill set based on the business’ needs after further investigation.

With traditional contractors your hire is only as good as their individual knowledge and response to your initial need.  

With this new model, you have an entire partnership with years of experience across many Blue-Chip organisations behind each recommendation, and in the context of your long-term goals. 

And this experience is constantly being invested in by us.  As they are our staff and not freelance contractors, we believe we are as only good as our people, and train accordingly.

But how will this model change when IR35 arrives?

Challenge 4: Consulting and IR35

Yes, there is respite until 2021 for the private sector when it comes to IR35.  However, at the time of this blog that is only a little over half a year away.

A lot of projects we are supporting businesses in have lifecycles of 6, 12 and even 24 months.  

That means that decisions being made now about the team required to complete projects have to take into account the additional impact (both financially but also legally) of IR35.

For a lot of employers that means their projects won’t begin (24% according to a recent YunoJuno study).  40% are worried, moderately to severely, about their projects as a result.

Conversely it also means a lot of consultants and contractors are now moving in-house and becoming permanent - which means the pool of resources businesses and recruitment firms can pick from will start to reduce in terms of options.

So, what is the answer?

We believe the answer is to have a partner who can remove that IR35 burden completely.  

That is only possible when that partner isn’t a one-man-band, or an umbrella organisation, but an actual consultancy that employs staff, covers National Insurance, pension contributions, provides training and so on.   

Because you are hiring a consultancy and not a consultant that places us firmly outside of IR35.

Not to mention the additional benefits a consultancy brings you – being able to provide you with a range of consultants that ensures you get the right resource for the right job.  

And we have seen this model work both with businesses directly, but also through recruitment firms who are looking for that additional level of expertise or specialism, be it Project Manager, Business Analyst or Data Scientist.

If this insight article has piqued your interest and you would like to learn more about how we have helped businesses navigate their way through various Covid-19 related business challenges then please feel free to drop us an email or call and we’d be happy to give you our take on any challenges you may have.