When you go into a hospital for the fist time you encounter an information desk. They will direct you to your doctors office, or the registration office, or the room where the person you are going to visit is. After you have gone to that same hospital several times you do not need to stop at the information desk anymore but you know how to navigate the place.
One of the added values of a consultant is experience in an industry or field. During my career I have worked in some government contracts as well as some real state related services, but most of my experience has been in the Insurance and Healtcare industry. I have worked inside of many hospitals and was actually one of the first people that got to read the HIPPA rules before they were even final. That makes me valuable to a company that needs to enter that type of company because they will not have to train me on some of the general procedures or terms, but I can get into the specifics of the project.
When it comes to document imaging, I have not just installed big systems to make a company paperless but I have actually written some piece of them from scratch. I have had to evaluate both hardware and software and figure out what the ROI (return on investment) is going to be. Again that knowledge makes me capable of entering projects that require document management with knowledge that can help things move a little quicker.
Every industry has its own culture and knowing how to navigate it can mean the difference between a successful project and a disaster. Identifying the person that has that information is as critical as gathering all of the requirements prior to any project. A culture consultant is the person that can do that for a project. They should be the person that infiltrates the organization before a business analyst starts the talks with the people.
A culture consultant can also be someone already in the organization. It should be someone below middle management that knows what the glue that holds the company together. If such person does not exist, someone has to come in a identify the type of culture the company has and be able to come out of it with ways to improve it or at least optimize it before a project begins.
Culture consulting does not stop at the level of an organization, but more on a later post. Working with clients in both big and small cities in the us and also international clients hast taught me that every geographical location has its own way of doing things. The difference should not be ignored and taken into account when starting any kind of new project within a company.