First, let's discuss the importance of critical mass for the success of the effort. As you create True Solutions™ in specific market segments, you'll begin to have success selling the solutions (assuming you have an appropriate portfolio strategy and are leveraging the power of Service Chains™). As success builds, you'll of course have to be able to implement these solutions, and build Trusted Advisor relationships to enable the harvesting of the accounts.
These actions will require not only the appropriate talent (both numbers and ability), but the talent must also be able to perform as planned. This critical mass will be the difference in meeting your expectations and failing to launch. Please try to view that getting your organization ready for action - we might term this your customer intimacy workforce - requires that your R&D spend will be just like with a new product. You wouldn't take a product to market that you could not manufacture in the volume necessary for success. Also, remember how many companies view talent today - they wish to minimize the number of people as much as possible as one measure of success. Therefore, getting this correct and getting support for the hiring (and there may be significant hiring) is crucial.
This is further complicated by the number of True Solutions™ you are taking to market and the number of market segments you are working with. Like many issues in the journey, the best approach is somewhat counter intuitive.
Let's divide the acquisition strategy into two categories:
- Acquiring products to strengthen your pull through opportunities, that is to say, getting more products that can be pulled through your Customer Intimacy Engine™ model. Although this is an important topic that can positively affect your Customer Intimacy Engine™ business, most companies have good processes in place to manage these acquisitions. Therefore, we'll skip this category.
- Acquisitions of professional service capabilities to assist accelerate the development and execution of your Customer Intimacy Engine™. Professional service people have many of the skills you need to build and deliver the front end of your True Solutions™ (sometimes the entire True Solution™, depending on the solution itself). They have not worked in the environment you are creating. Therefore, the creation of critical mass - that does exactly what you want the way you want it done - must be created by you. That is to say, you must bring in resources and develop them (form them; train them; lead them; manage them; coach them; reward them) into the force you need. Therefore, large professional service acquisitions early in the journey can be detrimental to the effort of building the force you need. Large acquisitions could swamp your teams, methods, approaches, etc. Let me make a quick comment if you must make a significant acquisition (there could be political reasons for this or need to show significant revenue quickly) it can be accomplished but you must undertake the following to an even stricter degree. Then, you might ask: "Is there no value to Professional Service Firm acquisitions?" Yes, there is, and it can be very powerful.