Aug 16, 2021 Daniel Green

Beyond Outlook and Excel: A Better Project Workflow For Consultants and Expert Networks with proSapient

The classic consulting project workflow involves a lot of admin for your team of consultants – this is not only tedious for your new star hires but it’s inefficient for your business.

But why are consulting projects inefficient? And what viable alternatives are there? 

Before we explore an alternative workflow that could save your team hours every week, let’s look at a typical consulting project.

Email, copy, paste, repeat: A typical consulting workflow

Let’s imagine a consulting firm running a due diligence project. 

Junior consultants need to speak with enough high-quality industry experts in just a few weeks. This short turnaround time means that they need to contact multiple expert networks to book enough calls.

So how do they do this?

Firstly, consultants create a project brief and email multiple expert networks, manually monitoring endless email threads to check the project status. 

As replies from multiple networks roll in, consultants copy and paste non-standardized expert bios into an Excel sheet and confer with colleagues to see if they are suitable for the project.

If an expert ticks all the boxes, consultants will email again to enquire about their availability and agree on a timeslot for a call. They then add the calls to their calendars.

Expert networks may have follow-up questions for the consultants – but with consultants already against the clock, searching through emails to deal with every follow-up can become inefficient. But this is valuable information that expert networks need to provide the best recommendations.

Taken together, this means that consultants spend the first two weeks of most due diligence dealing with expert networks and manually booking calls.

After completing calls, transcripts are typically run through an automated transcription service but these are often expensive, cumbersome, and prone to accuracy issues. Following transcription, manual compliance checks such as MNPI are carried out, so that transcripts can be used by the wider company or retained at all.

Not only this but there is no central platform for monitoring the overall status of the project or adjusting call times – all this has to be done manually. This creates a mountain of tedious tasks for your consultants, quickly leading to email overload and a lack of overall visibility for project leads. 

Clearly, there is a lot of room for improvement in an era of innovative technology, machine learning, and AI.

Key inefficiencies in consulting projects

The inefficiencies involved in a typical consulting project are rooted in a few repeat offenders: 

1. Manual repeat tasks

From sending multiple project requests to different networks to booking calls with experts, most consulting project tasks are manual and need to be repeated. This means consultants and project leads are not spending time on value-adding tasks.

2. Multiple data sources

Multiple networks mean data sources and with no standardized dashboard, this vast amount of admin quickly becomes cumbersome. 

3. Inefficient communication and no project overview

For consultants, constantly switching between comms platforms such as Slack or Outlook to message colleagues is not the most efficient way to communicate. This information is out of context compared to adding a comment to a project dashboard, where everyone can immediately see the expert, network, or project task in question. 

What about the expert networks?

We have seen how inefficient this workflow is for consultants. But for the expert networks themselves, this way of working isn’t efficient either. 

Each client uses a different template for their project requests, creating extra work, as they often need to follow up with consultants to get missing input. The problem is consultants’ time is already highly limited and this is not always feasible. 

The disadvantages of this consulting workflow: 

  • Consultants need more time to find and collaborate with experts
  • Consultants and project leads waste valuable time on manual tasks
  • Lack of overall project visibility with no central dashboard
  • Worse employee experience (top talent gets stuck doing boring admin)
  • Ultimately affects revenue as your team completes fewer projects overall

How the proSapient platform enhances the consulting workflow

The key to a better workflow is to link consultants and expert networks more efficiently. The proSapient all-in-one platform is a solution that works for both sides of this equation.

Let’s have a look at the same workflow using proSapient.

End-to-end consulting project management, all from one dashboard: 

1. Standardized project requests for all expert networks

Login to the proSapient platform and create a project in minutes using the creation wizard. Choose what networks you would like to use based on past performance. You can add colleagues and set your notification settings depending on your team’s preferences.

The standardized template is then sent out to all networks simultaneously, together with all the information they need to deliver top experts that meet your project criteria. 

2. One list of experts from all networks

Experts are sorted by relevance in one standardized list with duplicates automatically removed. Expert network, bio, and any other relevant information are automatically provided, saving a lot of manual copying and pasting. This makes filtering experts much quicker and easier. 

3. Centralized communication between colleagues and expert networks

The proSapient messaging center allows expert networks to ask follow-up questions and your consultants to reply directly. It also allows consultants to message their colleagues in the context of the project: Simply click on the expert and ask a question or add a note by @mentioning another colleague. The Quick Links feature allows networks to send expert profiles via the messaging center for consultants to review before formally adding them to the project. 

4. Book calls with experts in a couple of clicks

If an expert ticks all the boxes, consultants can provide or request availability in just a couple of clicks. Or they can integrate their calendar and use the auto-booking feature. All responses from experts are tracked on the platform, meaning you can book calls without searching through endless email threads.

5. Sync your favorite calendars

proSapient also allows you to sync your favorite calendars such as Outlook and Gmail – every call that is scheduled will automatically appear in your calendar. 

6. Automatic transcription

After your consultants complete a call, proSapient’s industry-leading transcription service delivers a transcript and audio file of the call. By combining advanced machine learning with expert human vetters, proSapient ensures 99% accuracy and delivers transcripts your team can rely on. 

Once each transcript has been approved by compliance, it is added to a customizable database which consultants can search or filter for rapid access. 

7. AI-assisted compliance checks

Your compliance team has complete oversight of all transcripts as they appear, right from within the dashboard. They can run checks such as MNPI with the help of proSapient’s AI-assisted features, for example automatically scanning for specific company mentions. If an issue is found, compliance can flag and elevate this for further review all from the same place.

The future of consulting project management is here

The proSapient platform is the all-in-one solution for consulting project management. It alleviates stress and greatly reduces the number of manual tasks for your consultants while also freeing up time for project leads to add value. 

An investment in an enhanced project workflow is ultimately an investment in your talent pool. Help your star hires to excel at their consulting projects with a workflow that matches their abilities.

Published by Daniel Green August 16, 2021