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With so many different types of consulting firms in the industry, it's not a surprise that many people don't fully understand when and where they should use each type of firm. Granted, in some cases, there are overlaps. However, in most situations, the core areas of expertise and target segments vary among the different categories of consulting firms which makes them complementary, rather than directly competing. The list below highlights different categories of consulting firms. It also explains the major differences between TeleChoice, a strategic catalyst, and each of the categories. These differences help better define the categories and how they complement TeleChoice.

One-Person Shops and Boutiques. One-person shops and boutiques are typically highly specialized, covering one or two technologies within a specific industry. In some situations, they also get involved with source selection and implementation. TeleChoice, on the other hand, covers a wider range of topical areas and technologies within telecommunications. The wider coverage allows TeleChoice to evaluate technology at a more strategic level, analyze the effect of one technology on others, determine the potential market value, and assess the overall industry impact. Therefore, a one-person shop or boutique might help a company with the implementation in specific areas based on TeleChoice's business strategy, service definition, positioning, and messaging recommendations.

Market Research. Market research firms are often quite complementary to TeleChoice. TeleChoice may work interactively with a market research firm or use the results of the research to support TeleChoice's business strategy, market strategy, and market acceleration projects. When TeleChoice conducts research projects, we typically work with smaller sample sizes seeking qualitative information on strategic issues. In other projects we work hand in hand with research firms for quantitative studies to support product/service launch activities. For example, TeleChoice may work with a market research firm to conduct surveys with different enterprise market segments to understand their current environment, challenges, buying preferences, buying behaviors, etc. TeleChoice and the client then use such information to develop the marketing strategy, service packaging and pricing, and messaging for the market segments.

Continuous Information Service (CIS)/Analyst. Similar to the market research firms, CIS/analyst firms conduct research, but they also produce ongoing reports as a result of their research. These ongoing reports are usually provided as a part of an ongoing subscription-based service in conjunction with analyst hours to understand the research more deeply. Again, TeleChoice may work with these companies in a similar way as with market research firms. In recent years, some CIS/analyst firms have begun complementing their research and report business with their own in-house custom consulting practice, which has caused some confusion. TeleChoice staff have worked for a number of years wearing both "analyst" and "consultant" hats, and are adept at both skill sets. Our refined focus on business and market strategy and expertise at market acceleration has been our core practice for many years, giving us a different perspective than other analyst firms.

Management Consulting. TeleChoice's custom consulting work is most similar to the work of management consultants. The biggest differences are that TeleChoice focuses only on business strategy, market strategy, and market acceleration projects and our expertise is in service provider environments and leading edge technologies. Many management consulting firms cover different industries and offer full outsourcing solutions from strategy development to implementation. TeleChoice's role as analysts in the industry brings unique value to custom consulting work that most management consulting firms don't have. In fact, in some cases, management consulting firms have partnered with TeleChoice to perform specialized tasks that are part of the overall outsourcing solution.

Public Relations (PR)/Marketing Communications (Marcom). TeleChoice works collaboratively and synergistically with PR/Marcom firms. TeleChoice might develop a company's market strategy, target market sequencing, product suite, service packaging, pricing structure and rates, positioning and messaging. The PR/Marcom firm would then use the results of TeleChoice's work and/or work interactively with TeleChoice to develop advertisements, press releases, logos, print/digital communications, etc. Other functions they cover include creative design, branding, media relations, event planning, and mass communications. Some marcom firms also do messaging and value proposition work and, in those cases, TeleChoice brings the industry analyst perspective to the table to provide an initial "acid test" prior to the client's product launch or announcements. The result is a win-win-win for all parties.




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