The BigC model

I’ve seen the full range of individuals in the Big Consultancies. E.g. Deloitte do some lovely work in Wellington.

That doesn’t change the problem with the fundamental model of every BigC:

– Bring in the show-pony seniors

– Find out what the answer is

– Promise to deliver it

– Write the questions to give the answer required

– Obfuscate with genuinely clever words

– Bait and switch: back out the seniors and bring in kinds-in-suits with standard boilerplate

– Milk it for as many years as possible

Then either:

– Blame client failure to follow the solution given and/or changing circumstances. And/or:

– Declare victory, create numbers to justify the expense, shower glory on the decision-maker who hired you.

Then get the hell out before it all comes crashing down, or slides slowly into disrepair and irrelevance.


The latest boondoggle is “Digital Transformation”. When you engage a BigC to “do a digital transformation”, of course the answers are going to be technology, not people or practices.

The lesson has been learned over and over that digital technology alone solves nothing. The ERP disasters of the 90s (and since) made that clear.

And yet here we go again: monolithic, radical, waterfall change of technology systems, in a project over multiple years, designed and driven by an outside agency interested only in their own enrichment, with no long term interest in the outcome. (The big C can always take all the credit and none of the blame for future outcomes).

Can we just not?