Insights Article

Time is up: Consultants, start measuring your success based on outcomes

The oncoming innovation tsunami may force you to anyway

Jesse White
June 25, 2024
June 25, 2024

The IT consulting industry’s dominant business model, based on billing for time rather than outcomes, is fundamentally at odds with the efficiency and speed enabled by today’s technologies. This tension is reaching a breaking point.


Efficiencies from technology advancement

The rise of low-code/no-code platforms has enabled major gains in efficiency. A decade ago, out of the box software capabilities would meet 60% of client needs, and we’d have to customize the other 40%. With modern platforms, up to 90% of outcomes can be achieved without unnecessary customization. Even the remaining 10% is dramatically easier to configure. This means we can pursue successful deployments in record time – as short as three weeks in some cases. Complex deployments that used to take two to three years in the government are now taking us six to nine months on average.


Most clients are better served by using these out-of-the-box solutions. But traditional consultancies exploit their clients’ lack of knowledge about what’s possible with low-code/no-code technology. They’ll ask clients what they want to build, knowing full well that the client’s frame of reference is limited to their existing, often outdated systems and processes. The client, understandably, asks for what’s familiar. The consultant then gets to work building out those specifications, billing hour after hour, without ever proposing a more efficient, forward-looking approach.


It’s the equivalent of saying: “Take the new Honda CRV I just bought and turn it into the 40-year-old Honda I am used to driving.” The result? Hours and hours of pay for the consultant.


This business model conflicts with the mission critical modernization goals of the government, which need to be accomplished quickly. 


The Intact difference 

We built Intact on the simple idea of doing the right thing for our customers, just as we would want it done for ourselves. Our business model is outcome-based. We charge our clients for the quality of an end product, not for the time it took us to build it. Our number one KPI is neither profitability nor growth. It’s customer success. And we can build a thriving business with customer success as our north star, because our outcomes-based model actively incentivizes efficiency. 


  • A smart approach to technology. We provide leadership in design to ensure best use of your technology investment while eliminating unnecessary customization. This ensures you get to your outcomes quickly and have low technical debt on your ServiceNow platform. In turn, this ensures you can upgrade quickly and take advantage of powerful new capabilities as ServiceNow releases them to market.


  • A focus on people. Technology does not produce outcomes – people do. Therefore, organizational change management is critical to the success of our customers. We understand that the most powerful technology in the world is worthless if users don’t adopt it. That’s why we invest heavily in awareness, adoption, enablement, and ongoing user support.


  • A subscription model that makes continuous enhancement fast and easy. We offer a subscription model that enables quick action on demand backlogs so that customers can constantly create new platform functionality without needing to constantly start new projects. Our ServiceNow implementations are also easy to upgrade and optimize precisely because they’ve not been over-customized from the get-go. 


These differences are built on a foundational embrace of latest technology advancements, and they are why we are equipped to weather the next wave when it comes.


Adaptation is urgent 

We are in the middle of an AI wave that is poised to make development even faster and more efficient. As we look ahead, the imperative for the industry to change will only intensify. Clients’ expectations for speed and value will continue to rise. In this world, a business model premised on inefficiency is simply untenable. ServiceNow describes the role of AI in the low-code and application development cycle as “revolutionary.” They point to a Gartner prediction that by 2025, 80% of app development will make use of GenAI code generation, with developers acting as validators and orchestrators of back-end and front-end components and integrations. 


A business model that relies on inefficiency is riper for disruption than ever in the face of this oncoming innovation wave. Clients will increasingly demand faster, more cost-effective solutions, as they become even easier to achieve. 


Forward-thinking consultancies that pivot towards outcome-based pricing—and the way they work as a result—can unequivocally embrace new AI technology, without the fear that the efficiency it promises may hurt their bottom line. At Intact, we are thrilled about the potential it will unlock.


The future of partnerships is outcome-based, and we welcome all to join us in it.