The objective of developing the unicist ontology of B2B Knowledge Providers was to provide companies with the necessary information to decide which type of consultant is necessary and functional. We include in this definition R&D organizations, business training enterprises and consultants that are organized as businesses and the internal consulting organizations of large companies.
It has to be considered that the purpose of knowledge providers is to expand the value generation of a company. It can be said that business consultants are frequently used for other purposes, which is true.
But the concept of a knowledge provider is to expand the value that is being generated. This implies that if the provider was not there, the results would be inferior.
The maximal strategy of knowledge providing is to expand the boundaries of businesses in order to make them growth, while the minimum strategy is to provide support to solve the problems that need to be eliminated to foster value generation.
There are five levels of knowledge providing roles. Three of them are focused on the minimum strategy and two of them on the maximal strategy to expand boundaries.
These roles are:
- Support Service Providers
- Knowledge Providers
- Expertise Providers
- Solution Providers
Level 1) Solopreneurs
Solopreneurs are functional to deal with specific problems that can be outsourced. They work basically in a specific field where they have the necessary empirical and analytical knowledge to solve problems.
Their success depends on the personal relationship they establish with their clients. Typical cases of solopreneuring are academics who establish relationships based on their teaching activity and have an authoritative role in their field.
They move to a superior level, building a firm, when they decide to establish a client base that allows them to have a stable business and not only conjunctural contracts.
Level 2) Support Service Providers
These are basically small companies that provide hygienic services for large companies or work as catalysts of internal problem solving processes for all types of companies.
They work with universally accepted methods or technologies to deal with operational and technical problems.
The core of their success is based on the personal relationships they establish with their clients and the conflict avoidance in their work. Therefore, they only deal with conservative solutions that do not change the status quo of the organizations.
They have no R&D to develop proprietary technologies although they frequently mention that they have “unique methods”. Therefore, they have no brand, which requires on their behalf the use of a universally accepted technology.
Their brand is given by the names of their leaders. Typical services of this level are traditional legal services, auditors, change management implementers, strategy implementers, human resources advisors, IT providers, etc.
They move to a superior level when they decide that they do not want to depend on the next conjunctural problem to work as support services providers. This is a low price segment.
Level 3) Knowledge Providers
This level includes the preceding level of Support Service Providers. These Knowledge Providers are small or medium size companies that provide operational and analytical knowledge to their clients. This knowledge is necessarily associated with the requirements of the client organization.
Typical services are training services in all the operational analytical fields the members of a company need to manage. They are successful when they have concrete specialization fields that make them be perceived as having an authoritative role in the market.
They use universally accepted technical solutions and their specialization field is to make them accessible to the members of an organization. They tend to be integrated with support services to cover the needs of implementation of the company. Their brand is fully dependant on the specialty of their manpower.
They have no R&D to develop proprietary technologies although many of them have a specific way to implement their services. They provide conservative solutions while they tend to mention that they are on the leading edge.
They compete with the market and with internal knowledge transfer processes. Their success is based on the establishment of strong personal relationships with their clients and with the members of their organizations.
They move to a superior level when they decide to migrate to a “specialization market” because their market is becoming a commodity one.
Level 4) Expertise Providers
This level includes the preceding level of Knowledge Providers. The Expertise Providers are small, medium or large companies that provide specialized expertise to their clients. Typical services of this segment are specialized law firms, expert business consulting firms, expert technology firms, etc.
These organizations have R&D processes to develop solutions to systemic unsolved problems and develop proprietary technologies that are partially opened to the market to build the image of their organization.
They might work as boutiques or as organized institutional firms. When they work as boutiques their brand is fully associated to the brand of their experts and when they work as large consulting firms their brand is institution driven (Booz Allen, McKinsey, etc).
Their success is based on the functionality of the expertise they provide. To expand markets they use the reliability of their solutions, which is materialized in their brand attributes.
The reliability of their solutions includes the inclusion of highly qualified people to provide the solutions to the end clients. They compete with equivalent companies in the market and only have internal competitors within the client organization when they have no leading edge solutions. This is a high value – high price segment.
They move to a superior level when they decide to include final branded solutions in order to expand the market.
Level 5) Solution Providers
This level includes the preceding level of Expertise Providers. Solution Providers are small, medium or large companies that provide specialized solution to their clients.
These companies are fully focused on R&D to develop solutions for specific problems in specific markets (for example: SRI). There are basically two types of solutions providers: Those who provide tools and those who provide business objects.
The tool provider develops new technologies that sustain solutions to unsolved problems that allow companies to go beyond the boundaries of an activity. The business objects provider develops technologies based on the nature of the business processes, which requires managing the concepts of their functions.
These objects providers generate simple solutions that can only be accepted by organizations that need to deal with the nature of processes. This is only necessary when the systemic solutions do not suffice to expand businesses.
Typical cases of this segment are the providers of adaptive automation tools, objects for business organization, objects for market growth, objects for business strategy, etc.
These companies need to have an institutional brand in order to be accepted. The success of their solutions is necessarily measured by results. They have no competition when a company decided to expand a market and is having problems to achieve it.
Companies do not buy solutions when they are in a comfort zone. Superior education in companies is the core aspect in the expansion of these companies. This is a high value – high price segment.
NOTE: The Unicist Research Institute was the pioneer in using the unicist logical approach in complexity science research and became a private global decentralized leading research organization in the field of human adaptive systems. It has an academic arm and a business arm.