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Major Corporations and Organizations Develop Internal Consultants and Seek Outside Clients, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Leading corporations such as Pfizer, UPS and USAA have built internal management consulting staffs.  The goals of such moves vary, but they include maintaining better control over the consulting process, improving internal communications, enhancing the understanding between staff and consultants and creating a consulting staff that has first-hand experience and knowledge of company culture and procedures.  However, the top goal on the list must inevitably include cutting consulting costs, which can run thousands of dollars per day for highly experienced management consultants provided by major outside firms.
In some cases, internal consultants may hire external consultants on an as-needed basis.  The internal consultant trend has grown to the point that a professional association has been created, the Association of Internal Management Consultants, Inc.,  The group has an annual spring conference and an impressive membership roster that includes people from blue-ribbon firms.  On an organization chart, some firms may classify their internal consultants as part of “planning” or “strategy” departments.
One interesting offshoot of this trend is that the internal consulting units at a few companies have begun offering consulting services to outside clients.  This not only creates a new profit center for the company, it also promotes the brand reputation of the parent company.  This is increasingly common in industries such as hospitality that are focused on high levels of customer service.  At the Walt Disney Company, long famous for customer satisfaction and innovative employment practices, a consulting unit called The Disney Institute ( is now teaching other firms how to better engage their customers.  Clients in a wide variety of industries are calling on consultants from The Disney Institute to show their executives how to implement more effective practices or to train employees in higher levels of service, teamwork, the creation of brand loyalty and innovation.
Likewise, The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, a unit of Ritz-Carlton Hotels (itself a luxury property subsidiary of hotel giant Marriott), is teaching client firms how to provide superior service.  The Ritz-Carlton Advisory Services unit teaches leaders at client firms how to benchmark their own practices against the proven theories in practice at Ritz-Carlton.  In addition to pure consulting, the firm schedules classes for employees and executives of outside firms.  Courses offered by Ritz-Carlton include “The Ritz Carlton Experience.”  Billed as a class for non-managerial staff, it focuses on the vital steps in delivering excellent customer service.  The program takes place at selected Ritz-Carlton hotels and includes a two hour “Service Excellence Culture” presentation and another two-hour session called “Memorable Customer Service.”
At the federal government level, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) runs its own IT consulting arm.  It’s called Federal Acquisition Service or FAS (formerly the Federal Technology Service (FTS)), and it provides consulting, systems integration, design and purchasing services to federal agencies.

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