The upcoming standard ISO 20700, Guidelines for management consultancy services

Management consultancies have the potential to help businesses fly… if they are used correctly. A new standard in development aims to help consultancies and their clients achieve the best from their consultancy projects.

Bringing a product to market, innovation, organizational design and optimization, IT design or training are just some of the ways management consultancies can help organizations work better. The industry also has a strong influence on the political landscape, with government spending on consultants having grown 1 000 % in recent years.

With a powerful role to play in business and government, influencing major decisions and commanding an ever growing chunk of an organization’s budget, the consultancy industry now faces higher expectations, more stringent requirements and greater evidence of a return on investment.

The upcoming standard ISO 20700, Guidelines for management consultancy services, aims to help consultancies and their clients improve transparency and understanding in their consultancy projects in order to achieve better business results. It is currently under development and has just reached the Draft International Standard (DIS) stage, meaning ISO members have the opportunity to vote and comment on the text before it goes to final draft and publication.

Robert Bodenstein, the Chair of project committee ISO/PC 280 that is developing the standard, said that it is based on the research and experience of a wide range of consultancies and their clients and features recommendations to improve the specification and delivery of management consultancy services.

“The standard will offer best practice guidance to both parties, ensuring everyone is clear on what is required for an effective and efficient consultancy process, the objectives and their own responsibilities. This will enable organizations to get better results from their consultancies and for consultancies in turn to better demonstrate the value they can offer.”

Dr Ilse Ennsfellner, Leader of the committee’s task group that helped develop the standard, said the benefit of the standard will become more apparent once it is published and in use.

“As with all ISO standards, the greater the use of the standard, the more it will benefit the industry, by promoting best practice amongst consultants and clients, and transparency for all.”

ISO 20700 is due to be published by early 2017