Letters to the editor

Following are responses to an FCW.com poll question that asked, "Does a consulting firm lose its objectivity if it's owned by a product manufacturer?"

There may be an unintentional but psychological pressure to promote the parent company's solutions. It may not be that way, of course, but it may be the perception of potential clients.

Some clients may not care, providing that the best value is provided. Some very open management may allow potential clients to inspect recommendations to permit them to assess those recommendations. Such openness may not give away business secrets but may demonstrate the fairness of decisions.

And then there are the results. Will PwC Consulting feed IBM Corp. insider information to allow IBM to bid unfairly? ("IBM spurs concern with bid for PwC.") Who is worried? Is this a rerun of the joint consultant-auditor firm?

Terence Freedman
HRA Ltd.

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It obviously would have an effect. Although the consulting firm may recommend any product, there will exist a more robust pre-sale support from their owner/manufacturer. But, I have worked with companies who are interested in the sale of support and are not interested in the product itself. The profit margins are slim and competition is tough for products, but the sale of support does not carry large overhead costs.

Raul Mavis
City of Nogales, Ariz.

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It is certainly possible for a consulting firm to remain objective when owned by a product manufacturer. But, they will always live under a cloud of suspicion, even when they act with the utmost integrity.

Name withheld by request

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