The situation we're considering is as follows:
- You are in charge of a large project to implement a new business process that is to be heavily automated.
- You have a fixed budget and deadline.
- You currently do not have the expertise or staff to undertake and complete the project.
- You want to make as big (read: positive) an impression as possible.
Find and contract a knowledgeable "one-stop shop" that has both the SMEs needed and the manpower to carry out the plan/advice from the SME(s).
Now we get to the option that combines the role of the consultant and the role of the development team. What I mean is that instead of sourcing the consultant from one firm and the development from another (or, if you're going internal for development, the development from there), you source all those tasks from a single vendor.
- Time spent acting as an intermediary between the consultant and the dev team is minimized. Your time (and your team's time) is important.
- Time is saved not needing to find/contract both a consultant and a separate development team.
- Greater/enhanced communication between the consultant and the dev team, thereby bypassing/reducing potential miscommunication.
- Increased likelihood of successful plan implementation.
- Greater flexibility during both planning and execution phases.
- Reduced chance of budget and time overrun.
- The chance of getting a break on rate is higher (though not guaranteed).
- Greater perceived value, in addition to greater actual value (i.e. you're not just getting a document that "passes the weight test".)
- Potential "eggs in one basket" situation.
- Can be challenging to find a vendor that has both the domain expertise and development expertise together in one shop if you don't know where to look.
- May sacrifice laser-like competency and depth in a particular field for something more akin to a carbide drill or even an entire workshop (think about it).
- Increased need for vendor transparency (but this is easily addressed).