It may be a common perception to many that engaging a consultant is a matter of pinpointing the problem and offering a solution. However, consultancy involves much more than that.
When approaching a problem, BongoHive Consult uses a human-centered design approach where we have people in mind and at heart. This is to say, we do not view our clients just as corporations and entities looking for services but rather as individuals seeking solutions to real problems.
We help to create these solutions through our consultancy services by working with entrepreneurs, corporations, and startups through our company business arm – BongoHive Consult. BongoHive Consult, offers bespoke services to businesses and organisations, to help them apply technology innovatively and meet their business goals. We do so through our in-house experts as well as through collaborative efforts with partners.
Over the years, we have collaborated with various clients and partners through the services that we provide as a consulting firm and in so doing have picked up on some valuable lessons as a consultancy in the Innovation and Tech spheres.
We sat down with our Projects Manager, Maumo Mubila to discuss what we have learned offering consultancy services.
Q: What are some of the practical and effective ways to manage the client-consultant relationship?
A: For there to be a great working relationship between the client and consultant, it is important to have the following things in mind:
- Reliability: In order for any relationship to work there needs to be trust between both parties. We aim to build trust by listening to our clients and learning everything about them. This includes their likes and dislikes, their challenges and opportunities that they foresee could improve their products, services and ultimately their business as a whole. This process entails having agility and flexibility in how we work together to address their changing needs.
- Clarity: There should be clarity of expectations on the scope of work, timelines, deliverables, and ways of working between both parties. This is important as it cultivates a culture of understanding, and trust and allows the client to receive personalized services that are unique to the challenges they face.
- Culture Fit: It’s important that both the client’s and consultant’s cultures align in order for their relationship to work. This means taking into consideration aspects such as: What do they value? What impact are they trying to create? What are their beliefs about the problems they are trying to solve? What are their perceptions with regard to collaborating and co-creating? Alignment of culture allows for a better working experience between both parties and builds further trust and confidence in the relationship.
- Open and Regular Communication: It’s important to have open, honest, and regular communication. This can be fostered by holding regular client meetings depending on the nature of the project. Such a communication structure ensures constant alignment on project objectives. In addition, issues are identified and addressed in a timely manner allowing for changes within projects to happen more seamlessly. Regular communication further deepens the client-consultant relationship.
Q: In what ways can clients prepare themselves as they engage in consultancy services?
A: Know the kind of expertise that you need:
- Consultancies are specialized in various fields. It’s important for clients to do some research about the consultancy they wish to engage in and ensure they understand their field of expertise. As BongoHive, we are always up for a good challenge; however, this still means that expectations on both ends should be understood and agreed upon before starting the project.
- Have a defined problem: This is important especially if you want to hit the ground running. BongoHive will always support clarifying problems, it’s part of what we love to do! However, it’s always faster and better when we have somewhere to start. This means having a clearer understanding of what the problem is.
- Set Clear Boundaries: Ensure that you have defined the project’s vision, goals, budget and establish clear priorities. It is likely that projects may grow as time passes and hence needs may increase additionally. Ensuring you have provisions for scope expansion (timelines and budget) is always a good idea and helps to maintain a good working relationship.
Q: What approach does BongoHive Consult take when handling projects?
A: We usually take three different approaches when handling clients:
- The client understands and has a clearly defined problem.
- We listen to fully understand and align with the client and validate their assumptions through questions and a needs assessment.
- The client partially understands their problem.
- We listen to understand the challenges the client is facing.
- Ask questions that help the client and the team to work through the problem.
- Brainstorm and propose various approaches and solutions to the problem.
- Agree, and document agreements to share with the client before the work begins.
- The client does not understand their problem.
- Similar to the second scenario, we apply design thinking and human-centered design principles to co-create solutions with the client
These are the general approaches. As mentioned above, we tailor our approach and solutions to each client therefore, these may vary depending on the client’s perceived problem, culture, timelines, budget, etc.
Q: Why should one engage BongoHive Consult?
- We are confident and flexible to break new ground and try out new tactics for increased efficiency.
- We are always willing to learn, because of our agility and flexibility.
- People are at the core of our business, we tackle every problem in a way that always places people first.
- We value creating and maintaining relationships with our clients.
- Being the first tech and innovation hub, we have established a strong grip on viable solutions needed in the ecosystem.
- Community is an important pillar in our work, we create networks that enhance business and entrepreneurial efforts in Zambia and beyond.
- We have deep knowledge of the Zambian technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation space and good networks and relationships with other regional and international ecosystems that we can tap into
How can BongoHive Consult help you?
As technology and innovation experts, BongoHive Consult offers expertise in identifying, evaluating, and implementing disruptive technology for established businesses and SMEs.
We assist in:
- Assessing technology needs and aligning with business objectives.
- Analysing market trends and researching emerging technologies.
- Providing implementation guidance and project management support.
- Ensuring technical and operational compatibility with existing systems.
- Training and upskilling of personnel.
- By leveraging the latest technology, our consultancy tech team helps established businesses to improve efficiency, stay ahead of the competition, and drive innovation.
BongoHive Consult offers expertise and solutions for businesses and corporations looking to incorporate and leverage the use of technology and innovation. Get in touch with us by visiting our website at [email protected] or call +260 97 362 1800