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The 2017 MCA Awards has 25 categories: 14 project categories, 5 individual categories, 3 new Consulting Excellence categories and a further three overall awards – Project of the Year, Consultant of the Year and Best New Consultancy.  This guidance describes the areas covered by each category and is not intended to be exhaustive.  Examples of successful projects in each project category can be found by looking at previous award winners on our website (www.mca.org.uk/awards/)

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In 2016 the MCA launched the Consulting Excellence campaign. This scheme celebrates consulting’s value and commits MCA members to the highest standards of ethical behaviour, client service and professional development. Three new Consulting Excellence categories focus on the consulting practice of individual firms, and are only open to MCA member firms.        

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Project award categories

1. Best Use of Thought Leadership
Demonstration of the impact of an initiative or approach to thought leadership by a consulting firm. The impact could be in developing the capabilities and skills of the firm, launching a new service, supporting excellent client service and projects, stimulating wider debate in management and public policy or in building brand and marketing strength. Judges will be assessing the quality and originality of the thought leadership, alongside evidence of its impact.

2. Change Management in the Private Sector
Demonstration of a structured transition from a current state to a desired state involving major, sometimes transformational changes in how an organisation does things, rather than merely the improved performance of existing processes. This could include organisational change and restructuring, cultural change, Target Operating Model initiatives, fundamental reengineering of approaches and post-M&A activity.

3. Change Management in the Public Sector  
Demonstration of a structured transition from a current state to a desired state involving major, sometimes transformational changes in how an organisation does things, rather than merely the improved performance of existing processes. This could include organisational change and restructuring, cultural change, Target Operating Model initiatives, fundamental reengineering of approaches and post-merger activity.

4. Commercial Excellence
Demonstration of work that helps clients to improve their value – either directly in their supply chain, through excellence in procurement and supplier management or in creating new commercial models and/or new business strategies. Entries may focus on the supply chains for goods, services or raw materials, whether globally or locally, improving efficiency, reliability or quality; or equally may focus on improving the procurement and supplier management process and/or developing a client service in this area.

5. Customer Engagement
Demonstration of successful engagement with customers through improved retention, increased brand awareness, or increased market penetration. This could be customer strategy, customer service, channel management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), sales force effectiveness, marketing communications, market research, brand management, product development or category/product management.

6. Digital and Technology - Sponsored by Thales Cyber & Consulting
Demonstration of the successful management of a digital or technology-based initiative for a client. This could be any aspect of digital strategy including how a business handles the impact of digital disruptors on its business model.  Other eligible projects could include IT strategy, IT programme management, hardware/software development and integration, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) initiative, IT testing, data security, wireless and mobile communications, web and internet consulting, management information or business intelligence.

7. Finance and Risk Management *Amended Description*
Demonstration of the effective use of financial and risk management to support an operation or business unit. This could be asset and capital management, investment strategies, harmonisation of accounting standards, automation of financial processes, compliance and regulatory issues, business and operational risk, or business continuity.

8. Innovation - Sponsored by Kimble *Amended Description*
Demonstration of the application of new and emerging ideas, processes and technologies and/or the use of innovative management techniques and processes which have successfully transformed a client operation or an aspect of the operation. This may include assisting clients with new startup initiatives or enabling clients to enter new markets or helping them develop new products and approaches.  This could also be the ground-breaking transfer and application of existing ideas, processes or technologies from one sector or service to another. Projects must demonstrate the innovative character of the consultancy’s contribution.

9. International - Sponsored by IndigoBlue
Demonstration of successful project work overcoming cultural and geographical barriers in any sector or service line carried out in an overseas market. This could be a project carried out by a team of consultants pulled together from around the world to work with the client, or a consulting team working on a project with the client in one or several countries. This category is open to all UK-based consultancies, and, uniquely, to consultancies based in other countries as well. The latter are not able to enter projects that are carried out in the UK or their own domestic market.

10. Performance Improvement in the Private Sector - Sponsored by Mindbench
Demonstration of improving the performance of existing business activities in the areas of cost reduction, process design (in manufactures, service provision or support functions), capacity sharing and quality assurance, most frequently deriving benefits in efficiency and positive impacts on the bottom line

11. Performance improvement in the Public Sector
Demonstration of improving the performance of existing business activities in the areas of cost reduction, process design (in manufactures, service provision or support functions), capacity sharing and quality assurance, most frequently deriving benefits in efficiency and positive impacts on the bottom line

12. People - Sponsored by KellyOCG
Demonstration of the successful delivery of people-related change. This could be HR strategy and management, leadership, organisational development, pensions/ benefits/ compensation, performance management initiatives, training and development, recruitment, retention and motivation, or talent management.

13. Social and Environmental Value - Sponsored by X-Forces
Demonstration of work that enabled clients and consultancies to achieve outstanding and sustainable benefits for society, including for the environment. This category includes sustainability practice and innovation, social investments and community engagement, work with the third sector or pro bono work.

14. Strategy
Demonstration of the development of a new strategy, or a major contribution to a critical aspect of a client’s strategic thinking. This could take place in the context of work on corporate strategy, corporate recovery and turnaround, business strategy, market analysis and strategy, mergers and acquisitions, policy formulation, shareholder value creation and management or corporate venturing. It could also include exercises such as scenario planning and future-proofing carried out to test organisational resilience.  Crucially the consulting firm must demonstrate a positive impact on shaping the strategic assumptions, goals or strategic preparedness of the client organisation

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Individual consultant categories

15. Change Management Consultant of the Year
Consultants may enter who can demonstrate exceptional performance in change management; for example managing change, organisational change and restructuring, cultural change, Target Operating Model initiatives, and internal communications.

16. Digital & Technology Consultant of the Year
Consultants may enter who can demonstrate exceptional performance in either digital or technology in such areas as Digital innovation, IT Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, IT Portfolio Management, IT Programme Management, Service Delivery, Enterprise Resource Planning, Systems Integration, Testing, Security, Infrastructure, Data Centre Management, Management Information, Business Intelligence, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Software As A Service, Mobile Content Delivery and Customer Engagement.

17. Performance Improvement Consultant of the Year
Consultants may enter who can demonstrate exceptional performance in performance improvement; for example, process re-engineering, product development, cost reduction, lean and six sigma, productivity and process redesign, production and services management, supply chain, procurement, distribution, logistics, shared services, quality assurance, and post merger integration.

18. Strategy Consultant of the Year
Consultants may enter who can demonstrate exceptional performance in strategy; for example, corporate recovery and turnaround, business strategy, market analysis and strategy, mergers and acquisitions, policy formulation, value management, and corporate venturing.  It could also include work in scenario planning and future-proofing carried out to test organisational resilience.  Crucially the consultant must demonstrate a positive impact on shaping the strategic assumptions, goals or strategic preparedness of the client organisation.

19. Young Consultant of the Year *Amended Description*
Exceptional performance in any service line by an individual who has worked for a consultancy company for less than 5 years, and is under 35 years of age.

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Consulting Excellence awards

Consulting Excellence is the new hallmark for quality in the consulting industry.  These new categories are only open to Member firms and reflects this step change in consulting quality

20. Consulting Excellence Award for Ethical Behaviour *NEW*
Firms will need to demonstrate exemplary and high standards of ethical behaviour throughout their consulting practice.  These may include innovations in Corporate & Social Responsibility (CSR), outstanding practical commitments to environmental sustainability or real advances in diversity. Firms will ideally be able to demonstrate that their commitments are understood and supported by all their consultants. Winning and commended firms will have made a real and demonstrable difference to wider society.

21. Consulting Excellence Award for Client Service & Value *NEW*
Firms will need to demonstrate how they provide outstanding value and/or services to their clients.  This may include outstanding approaches to managing feedback, disputes and complaints; major and effective investments in research, knowledge management and the development of new propositions; exemplary arrangements for continuous improvement; or innovations in the creation of value for clients (including the deployment of new technologies).

22. Consulting Excellence Award for Professional Development *NEW*
Firms will need to demonstrate their outstanding commitment to developing the capabilities of their consultants and/or their professional development and welfare.  This may include innovations in: training and development; the assessment, management, enhancement and deployment of the firm's skills base; or in the development of fulfilling and exciting career paths for consultants.

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Overall awards

23. Best New Consultancy *Amended Description*
To be considered for this Award, consultancy firms must firstly have a project entry chosen as a finalist, and secondly be entering the MCA Awards for the first time.  The consultancy must demonstrate their client focus, delivery excellence, commitment to their people and operational excellence via a presentation to the judging panel.

24. The Times Consultant of the Year
Judges will select a winner who has demonstrated the most exceptional performance from the individual category winners.

25. Project of the Year
Judges will select a winner from the project category winners which has demonstrated exceptional performance in any category.

 

Disclaimer

The MCA reserves the right to alter these categories or to re-allocate entries between categories once the closing date for entries has past. Entered firms will be consulted if the MCA decides to do so.