In-house consultants are increasingly preferred over outside service providers, according to a study by Luenendonk, a German IT consultancy and market researcher.

Luenendonk polled 19 German consultancy companies and four buyers of consultancy services in a study called “The status quo and positioning of in-house consulting units 2010.”

“Companies’ internal consultants are turning into serious competitors of established external suppliers of management consulting with increasing frequency,” Luenendonk said in a press release.

Buyers of consulting services interviewed for the study said they often preferred in-house consultants because these already knew their companies and could start a project faster than outside service providers.

In addition, in-house consultants were generally seen as less expensive. And they would, in principle, be available for consultations after the conclusion of a project.

Executives also said in-house consulting operations can serve as training ground for specialists and managers.