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Conclusions

When product companies like HP offer high-end consulting services, they introduce a new component of risk. There are strategies that companies can employ to reduce the potential risk of creating a professional services unit that doesn't fit synergistically into the overall business portfolio. If companies don't manage this risk factor, they can create a distanced professional services unit that does little to drive overall business objectives forward. A clear mission and agreed-upon mission statement is one of the tethers that can be used to anchor the professional services organization to the rest of the company portfolio. However, if the primary mission of professional services is not clear and agreed upon, a company can expect unpleasant consequences such as these:

  • Conflict between internal business unit leaders—such as wrestling matches between the VP of professional services and the VP of sales executive regarding the "right" thing to do for a customer. They both will have opinions, they both will have valid points, but they may never reach an agreement.

  • A professional services business unit that's profitable in its own right but has alienated itself from other key business units.

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