Does the ISM acquisition of ADR send a warning shot over the bow of traditional consulting firms that a new model is on the near horizon?

Posted on March 27, 2012


In my preparation for my interview with ADR International’s Bill Michel, who’s company was recently acquired by ISM – well actually the association’s newly established for-profit company called ISM Services, I could not help but wonder if this marked the beginning of a new era.

The New Consulting Model?

Specifically, if the ISM move finally represented the acknowledgement of the 800 pound gorilla (or elephant depending on your preference)  in the room, which is the level of importance placed on end-user competency and its impact on the successful implementation of a strategy or automation platform.

Let’s face it, and referencing the comments of a senior player within the State of Georgia’s purchasing hierarchy relative to the work performed by AT Kearney, it was as if the consulting firm came in and made all of these suggestions and changes and then when the contract was done moved on leaving the State with little more than a game plan with no discernible means by which it could be executed.

Or to put it another way, and something that both consultants and ERP vendors have been reluctant to acknowledge, at least publicly, is that despite their best efforts the success or failure of any program hinges on the expertise and cooperation of those on the front lines.  If an organization whether in a public or private enterprise lacks either of these key attributes, then there is no consultancy firm or software solution that will make up for an absence of cooperative expertise or talent.

Perhaps this is where the ADR acquisition by a for profit arm of ISM comes into play simply because ADR was one of the first consulting firms to recognize the link between the services they provided and the ability of the client workforce to synthesize their recommendations on a practical, everyday basis.

Within this context the ISM – ADR teaming seems like a logical evolution or perhaps merging of complimentary competencies that very likely represents the new consultancy model that will both define and drive procurement practice for the next 10 to 20 years.

One thing that is certain, is that the interview with ADR’s Michel will be very, very interesting.

Remember to use the following link to access both the LIVE and on-demand broadcast with Bill Michel “ISM nabs ADR tipping the scales of change in their favor.”