How and Why Consulting Services Add Value and Attribute to Project Success in the Energy Industry
The ever-evolving nature of today’s energy markets and energy-based legislation means change is inevitable. How organizations choose to digest and react to change explicitly influences the success of that organization within the industry. Changes within energy markets often call for the modification of trading strategies and implemented software solutions to facilitate business, or maximize returns, and the old adage “you get out what you put in” rings true.
There are many decisions that need to be made when initiating a market-change project and one of the most important ones to be made is “do we need consulting help?” There is no quick and definitive answer to the question, as there are many factors that must be weighed such as the availability and knowledge level of in-house technical and business resources to facilitate the work to be done. Many companies will need to ask themselves if their staff has the deep market knowledge necessary to make critical project decisions and whether the staff has the bandwidth to set aside their daily responsibilities to address the project. If either of the above questions results in a ‘No’ answer, the company may be on the precipice of engaging in a costly and lengthy project.
Many organizations under the energy umbrella have been faced with time-sensitive business challenges such as shifting energy markets or adaptation to state or federal regulator’s legislation. These events can significantly strain technology and business resources that are responsible for the daily operation of the business as well as the preparation and implementation of strategies and technology solutions. Spreading resources thin across project initiatives and daily run responsibilities exposes companies to financial risk in the form of elongated projects, missed opportunities, or fines and penalties.
The quickest path between two points is a straight line, and this is true for time-sensitive project initiatives. A dedicated, focused team can mitigate the financial risks associated with project work and provide control and transparency to management.
Energy marketers and utilities are in the business of supplying energy to meet demand, while consulting practices are in the business of supplying experience and knowledge to energy marketers and utilities. Hiring a consulting practice to assist with energy-based projects greatly improves the chance of project success, and consultants can help fill holes in project staffing plans by providing program and project management, business process analysis, market research and a number of technology related roles to support current business across multiple markets.
Specialized consulting practices add measurable value to focused projects in the form of expertise within the markets their clients participate in and hands-on experience driving said projects. The services provided by these specialized consulting practices do come at a premium, but the return on this investment is realized through the proper execution and successful completion of energy-based projects; furthermore, engaging a consulting practice can add strength to an organization without the overhead of adding full-time resources to the payroll.
Engaging a consulting practice for energy projects has many advantages over sourcing the personnel in–house. While the services provided by the consulting practice often demand a higher hourly rate than full-time resources, the knowledge, experience , discipline, and focus provided by consultants can mitigate traditional project risks and successfully deliver initiatives within the time and quality constraints provided.