The Fickle Drift of Business Consultancy

Apr 20,2019 by Shashvat Vats
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Via 30 years of internet

March 12, 1989, the tech legend, Tim Berners-Lee, introduced the World Wide Web, an unparalleled and fantastic application to us on 12 March 1989. Nevertheless, with such a razzle-dazzle invention, everything in the business world was meant to get disrupted, for better.

Conventional, outdated, and humdrum practices of businesses across several industries took huge bumps, which gave these organizations a new face in this era of digital transformation. No wonder, people are calling this epoch as the fourth industrial revolution.

Amidst all this technologically fused topsy-turviness, there is one business sector that has been able to hold its ground strongly; Consultancy.

Business consultancy or the industry where companies or individuals offer valuable insights and advice to the C-suites of different organizations for varied requirements is on the verge of massive disruption and there is nothing you can do to stop that.

From being a traditional sector with an astounding performance record, this new wave of digitalization and ultra-modern techs is threatening the decades’ old heritage of business consultancy.

Business Consulting – An Epitome of Constancy

One of the most stupendous characteristics of the business consulting sector is its firmness.

The primary business model of consulting industry has not experienced any change in the last 100 years or more.

What consulting was successful in doing was sending smart professionals (external resources) into enterprises for a specific time-frame to provide solutions to the most sophisticated issues bothering their clients.

Two aspects that have always shielded the business consulting sector from disruption are obscurity and alacrity.

The world of consulting is highly murky and understandably so. Even the bigwigs of the consulting world have matured into ‘solution shops’ where answers to the most complex problems are developed in the ‘black box’ of the staff room.

From a client’s perspective, it becomes really hard to measure or judge the competency of a consulting firm. It is so because businesses hire these consulting companies to gain some domain knowledge and proficiency that they themselves crave for.

Whether the project has been completed or not is also very difficult to identify because of intrusion of external aspects like management transformation, the standard of execution, and time frame. These factors influence the outcome of the consulting firms’ propositions.

Business Consultancy – the rise of the Digital Age

Simply put, digitalization has put the consulting sector in a completely new phase, which is quite apparent as the businesses that were availing these services also faced drastic transformation.

The sudden permutation of the marketplace, which trimmed the share of conventional management consulting has disrupted a lot of organizations.

In the past, the segmentation of business consultancy firms was easy to do. For instance, companies like IBM and Accenture were known for operations and implementations. And if a company has a business consultancy requirement, then BCG or Bain was the obvious choice.

Today, it isn’t easy to distinguish what’s what. This is so because clients are now vigorously seeking digital solutions. Business consulting firms are hence incorporating technological operations alongside conventional strategies. This has transformed the roles of consulting firms as:

  • Firms offering operations and execution assistance had to brace and strengthen their tactical divisions.
  • Contrarily, business consulting firms had to fixate on developing digital practices.

One of the biggest repercussions of digital transition could be seen in how the consulting sector viewed itself. Post the digital boom, the perspectives of consulting firms took a U-turn. Today, business consulting firms are more focused on data and experience.

What changed? Why? How?

To fathom the disruption in the consulting sector due to digital transition, you require to have a far-sighted vision along with a bigger picture scenario.

For example, the average life of a Fortune500 company around five decades back was 60 years approximately.

In the year 2010, this dipped to 18 years.

It is expected that by the end of 2020, 75% of today’s Fortune500 companies will perish.  

Why so?

  • Customer expectations are climbing up like a squirrel, which is again incited by randomly popping up digital experiences. This, in turn, spikes the competition in the market from newly formed digitally-sound companies that are meeting customers’ demand at a much rapid pace.
  • This is the reasons that quite a lot of enterprises and SMBs are now working with digital transformation consulting vendors.
  • However, this ain’t easy too.
  • Today, to survive in this cut-throat rivalry, you require to get on the same page with customers and comprehend how they and their preferences have transformed during this digital revolution. Then only you can market an innovative environment and culture needed to endure the volatile business climate.
  • This makes the main objective of consulting engagements to now set on customers. Today, if any company is thriving in such an ambiguous environment, it’s not an IT firm but the organization that is customer-centric.

The Modern Consulting Company

  1. The modern business consulting firms are helping businesses to design & understand personas, extract leads with user motivations, pave customer journeys and identify & invent ways to appropriate and unscramble customers’ course vis-à-vis digital transformation.
  2. If you look in the past, consulting organizations have shown dependency on direct readouts and PPTs to offer their solutions.
  3. Today, these stagnant insights become useless within weeks of their implementation owing to the constantly transforming digital climate.
  4. Hence, the disruptive business environment requires a modern approach where management consulting firms invest in cloud techs and evolving approaches.
  5. A lot of business consulting firms have thus started using online platforms to offer amendable information in real-time. These flexible solutions can be influenced, modified, tuned, and bolstered even after the engagement readouts are winded up.
  6. Roadmaps and customer journeys are readily updated and versed with any new technology that commences in the market through these daises.
  7. Along with this, these platforms become a reliable and frictionless point-of-contact for consulting companies with their clients, which ensures a cognizant upselling.

Preparing sharp and crisp processes

Disruptive consulting companies address the volatile and rare requirements of Fortune 500 companies by strategizing new processes that are aimed to captivate the inventive customer-centricity of the engaging malleability of sharp design and development.

This approach empowers the companies that follow their legacy systems to comprehend, test, adapt, and socialize ideas, which, in return, allows the organizations to transit from whiteboards to innovation, design, funding, and development.

Cross-sector competencies

Another phenomenal change is that consulting companies are today utilizing cross-sector best practices method to offer solutions to the businesses.

Previously, a domain expert was assigned or an industry-centric approach was aligned for every engagement.

Today, advanced technology and a significant rise of user experience patterns have apparently proven that a few business models can be imitated. These replicated models are then utilized to create prosperous and meaningful user experiences and attain expected business outcomes.

This makes today’s consulting firms not an expert of any particular industry but a constant follower of successful business models, best user experiences, and innovative technology integrations across different sectors.

Data Rules

So, how do modern consultants string together all the tiny details and competencies of clients and mix them together to make tactical hops in the sector?

It is the proficiency to identify which tools and techs suit the clients profitably and feasibly. So, today’s consultants always look to stretch their expertise and ace new innovations in unique ways to benefit clients.

The consulting company that can curtail the void between technology and strategy is in true meaning, a competent consultant.

Amidst this, there is one particular competency that all the modern consultants and firms need to possess in order to provide best solutions to businesses – data, is perhaps the most critical elements that make the difference.

In a digital age, where communication between businesses and customers are happening all over the secure platforms, data is like a gold mine. Data is everywhere.

Consultants looking to get a solid grip on data extraction to comprehend the latest trends, customer behavior, competitor’s strategy, and so much more. Businesses are continuously gathering data on a daily basis, which leads to the rise of data warehouses in today’s environment.

One of the most playful strategies of today’s companies is to manipulate and monetize the data. Advanced insights are sheltered by the products and services of businesses that would use these valuable insights to generate a superlative experience for their customers.

The Future

  • Market experts have predicted that in a decade or so, the course of business consulting will be even smoother and more frictionless.
  • With the continuous refurbishment of technology, the future will witness in the demand of consultants who have specific domain expertise and experience.
  • Since the generation of today is not getting STEM (Science, technology, Engineering, Math) education at a rate similar to the older times, many opportunities and doors will be opened to experts with related education to particular sectors.
  • Additionally, it is also predicted that future consultants will utilize Artificial Intelligence to improve their offered solutions.
  • Also, the future will see a complete eradication of the practice of preparing deliverables in a black box or inside a conference room. Instead, consulting firms or consultants will involve throughout the engagement process to make a better experience for clients and their customers.
  • A few ardent names in the consulting sector has also claimed that the future consulting industry will witness an annihilation of billable hours, commissions, and project fees altogether.
  • Client relationship will play a decisive role to solve problems.

What’s your prediction? Do you think that the erratic run of the business consulting sector in the last 30 years will be resumed or will the disruption consume this humungous industry as a whole?

Thanks!

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