At the start of your career both of these options will provide you a good and challenging opportunity. But as you develop your career you may find that one avenue is more suited to the type of work that you prefer to be involved in. Your choice may be influenced by a number of factors which include your personality type, work interests, natural aptitudes, work skills, specialist interests and your life stage.
In consultancy you will have the opportunity to network with many fellow EPM specialists. You will often find that consultancy teams are very diverse with people from varying backgrounds and types of expertise. If you have recently relocated to the UK then being among colleagues who have had a similar experience can help you to settle in.
In consultancy work you often get to work with new technologies which mean that you are developing specialised skills that could make you a more marketable employee. You may be sent on courses and gain certifications which is also a valuable investment in your career.
One of the drawbacks of consultancy work is that it often involves a lot of travel. You could be called to work in different locations around the country every few months or you could end up travelling to different clients 3-5 days a week.
A position in an end user client is generally in a fixed location with set working hours, and this can be a bonus if you have already made the big move of relocating. It will give you time to settle into a new community and adapt to your new life in the UK.
In terms of the work you may be brought in to work on a brand new project, or you may just be looking after an existing system. It is important to find out what your role will be in advance so that you can establish if you will be a good fit for the position. Some companies have strong career development programs and will pay for new certifications should you wish to attend courses. Others may just be focused on existing roles rather than new technology so it is also important to qualify this in your interview.
When considering which consultancy or end user to work for there are a few factors to take into consideration:
- Corporate Culture and Work Life Balance: Larger organizations tend to have more formal processes and more bureaucracy. By comparison smaller companies are often more flexible with things such as working from home when not on site with a client or negotiating the number of days of leave. If you have a family and do not want to be travelling extensively then an end user company may be the option that suits your current life stage.
- Project scale and size: The larger organisations will provide you with exposure to some of the biggest and most cutting edge projects in the market. One of the reasons for this is that they have the diversity in different departments to provide a full service solution to the clients. Having said that, larger consultancies tend to charge more, so the smaller organisations can often be more competitive in terms of pricing. The result is that you can often find interesting projects in both small and large companies.
- Formal Training programmes: As a general rule bigger organisations tend to have more organised career development programmes which focus not only technical skills but also your soft skills e.g. presentation & negotiation skills. However, some smaller consultancies also have strong career development programs. Before making a decision between a smaller or larger company find out more about their career development programs.
Your choice of company will take all of these factors into consideration. While some people may be concerned that in an end user, they may not get as much exposure to new and cutting edge technology, for others the opportunity to focus on and work in depth with a specific system or technology is seen as a benefit. EPM is a niche market area and consultancies are consistently looking for candidates who have good project experience and good consulting credentials. Therefore, it does not always matter which kind of company you have worked for before, as long as you have been working on interesting projects and have kept your skills up to date. By knowing your core skills and career interests you can make an informed choice that will help you develop your career.