Digitalization is a big trend now. It has profoundly changed market dynamics, and behaviors of the market players. The shift in “business as usual” was more than obvious and it is considerably reflected in how consultants provide their services. While consultants have been successful in changing their clients’ business models and adapting it to a fast-changing environment, the consulting firms themselves, have not transformed that much to be able to respond to the challenges of digitalization. Indeed, the consulting industry is one of the last industries to go digital, and this was mainly driven by client expectations, rather than self-initiative.
One of the explanations for the reluctance to the digital transformation of the consulting industry is that the consulting business is predominantly based on the relationships and human interaction through providing expertise. According to a traditional view, the digitalization of consulting practices will break the consultant-client relationship and perhaps diminish trust between parties.
In traditional management consulting, specific knowledge in certain industries was a prerequisite for engagement. It appears, that this is not the case in the digital era. In the last few years, client’s expectations have dramatically changed and they do not align with traditional consulting. Clients indeed expect rather rapid innovative services, agile cycles, business models based on reliable data, digital and cloud technologies. Management and strategy consultants are often requested to provide their expertise in assisting organizations to go digital. Being faced with this kind of market response, many consulting companies were obliged to pivoting their work towards including more technology and digital practices into consulting services. Otherwise, clients would turn to IT companies to address their digital transformation needs.
Nowadays management consultants that can provide data beyond those found in Google, and align tech capabilities with management and strategy advice, are leading the consultancy market. In fact, a good consulting company should have a solid knowledge of technology and big data as a most valuable asset of the digital age, and be ready to incorporate those in business solutions.
Clients require fast solutions and are not ready to pay for long business diagnostics and data collection processes. They expect added value from the very first day when consultants enter their company. Therefore, the speed of implementation becomes one of the key success factor and skills like real-time digitalized business analytics data, become immanent for keeping the competitive edge.
Nevertheless, the digital consulting era is still in its infancy, and yet there is time for consulting companies to embrace change, transform and digitalize solutions.
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