Building on Transparency and Trust, Firm Reinvents IT Consulting
When a passion for reform manifests in the marketplace, it’s heartening to see—particularly in an industry begging for change.
Consider the IT consulting industry, which enjoyed astronomical profits in the ’80s and ’90s thanks to a client base all too willing to pay big money for technical talent. Then something changed: Buyers became savvier, and IT consulting firms became more brazen, sinking to new lows to stay profitable. Rate negotiations reflected a win-lose mentality on both sides.
For a time, the industry’s reputation seemed beyond repair. Based on its survey of corporate CIOs, the IT consulting firm BalancePoint Corp.—whose inception in 2004 held the promise of fundamental change—understood what it was up against.
“Our industry earned a C+ at best,” says BalancePoint principal and founder Michael Sommers. “CIOs were tired of being manipulated and mistreated. We, too, bemoaned the industry games and the lack of trust. That’s the problem we set out to solve.”
New Business Model Offers Welcome Change
When BalancePoint’s principals introduced the firm’s signature “market-driven transparency” model in 2004, they had little interest in marketing it. Instead, they sought to prove it—one client at a time.
The model was an instant hit, thanks to its open-book, market-driven rate structure; its uncompromising standards for quality and results; and its focus on value-added, long-term client relationships. Today, on the eve of its 10th anniversary, BalancePoint can point to tremendous growth—averaging nearly 70 percent per year—as well as many loyal CIOs eager to spread the word.
“Our financial transparency with the labor pool and with clients reflects our passion for win-win-win relationships,” says principal and founder Scott Lippert. “Ours is a mutual value proposition: maximum ROI, minimum risk and enduring peace of mind.”
Success and Responsibility Go Hand in Hand
From day one, BalancePoint’s founders were committed to achieving responsible growth. They were also determined to lead responsibly. So they built into the firm’s business model a steady stream of charitable support, with gifted amounts scaling along with top-line growth regardless of quarterly performance. Supporting clients’ charitable causes remains an equally high priority.
“Wanting to give back is certainly not unusual,” says principal and founder Jacquie Morgan. “But we did our thinking in the early days, weaving this responsibility into our model so we’re not making decisions on a quarterly basis. It’s just the right thing to do.”
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