I really hate just regurgitating content from other sites but the following article just hit home, summarising what, in my opinion, sets us apart!
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VISTA is an acronym for value, integrity, service, trust, and accountability. These qualities are essential to extend beyond a simple provider-consumer relationship and to establish shared-value consulting relationships.
Value is fundamental to a successful consulting relationship. You must know and be able to articulate what value you will provide as a consultant or will expect a consultant to provide for your BI program. To achieve shared-value relationships, the inverse is also important: You must know and be able to articulate what value the consultant expects to receive. When value is described in measurable terms, it becomes possible to discuss and develop a consensus on value expectations.
Integrity is a cornerstone of good consulting practice. The best consultants operate based upon a code of ethics. As a provider of services, be prepared to state your code of ethics. As a consumer, be sure to ask about it. Key ethics considerations include confidentiality and nondisclosure. Also avoid conflict of interest; be (or hire) a consultant who is not influenced or biased by the possibility of work beyond the scope of the current engagement.
Service is the heart of successful consulting; it is a service business. Thus, consultants are service workers. An effective consultant is one who actively works to deliver real benefits to clients in a professional and effective way. A positive and pleasant experience upon conclusion of each engagement is the mark of service-oriented consulting. As a consultant, be able to clearly articulate your service model. If you’re hiring a consultant, be sure to ask how your prospective consultants define and deliver service.
Trust aids in confidence, comfort, and ease of communication – all essential for successful consulting. A relationship based on trust prevents suspicion and misgivings for both providers and consumers of consulting services. Good consultants know how to establish trust and will offer solid and meaningful references who attest to their trustworthiness. Wise consulting clients openly inquire about references and take the time to check them carefully.
Accountability helps to set expectations, enhance communications, prevent misunderstandings, and assure a conflict-free consulting experience for both parties. Before a consulting engagement begins, agree on fees, reimbursable expenses, reporting responsibilities, the form and frequency of progress reports, the basis of billing, and payment terms and conditions.