The consulting industry was never a static one and it will not be one ever. The business consulting industry has been witnessing several changes over the years and the changing trends reflect in business models, the criterion for selecting consultants and expected skill sets in consultants.
The contributions of the consulting industry in various sectors like telecommunication, internet, ecommerce, software designs, etc aids in the accelerated growth of these sectors. More and more consultancy firms are blooming up every day and the industry has a high growth potential, which is yet to be exploited. Adopting the best internet practices and data warehousing techniques can help in promoting the growth of the consulting industry.
Some of the recent trends in the ‘forever evolving’ consulting industry are:
Service Models That Undergo Continuous Changes
The definition of the consultant itself keeps changing with the changes in the industry. A thorough analysis of the changes suggests that consultants are not isolated experts working independently anymore. They are increasingly collaborating with numerous other service providers to reach a common goal.
A survey by Sioo suggested that three prominent consulting services models are emerging. They are continuous consulting, collaborative consulting, and instant consulting. In a collaborative consulting model, several service providers and consultancies provide low-cost advisory services. Continuous consulting offers services to a firm to help it achieve a continuous revenue target. In instant consulting, a service provider does short research and gives immediate insights.
Growing Competition and Commoditization of Services
It is the golden time of freelancers and expert service is increasingly becoming available to clients in several online platforms. The present environment of the consulting industry is of increasing competition and it is bothering several firms.
Changes in the Discovery Process
The ways that clients adopt to find the potential business management consultants are changing. More clients prefer selecting consultants from an online platform. Sioo’s survey concludes that clients prefer instant consulting more in recent years. The reputation of the firm is not the only criterion for selecting consultants. Many firms are making in-house teams of former consultants, to build internal groups within the firm. The formation of these internal teams will eliminate the need for finding consultants from the outside because the company already has experts in the house.
Growing Concerns about the Return of Investment
Clients are always conscious of the price of advisory services. Clients expect better returns of their investment and the hourly billing method used traditionally does not suit those clients. Online tools and services compete for information discovery and this brings down the prices of advisory services. To stay differentiated in the environment of competition some consultancies offer some value-added technology like artificial intelligence.
Firms prefer deciding the monetary value of the work by analyzing its worth and this trend of billing based on performance is growing famous. This billing method alleviates the concerns of the client about unexpected fees and it sets a benchmark for the consulting professionals to target.
Ever growing Demand for Innovation and Skills
Rapid changes in innovation influence all the industries and the changes are sometimes challenging to consultants. When the technology changes at a quick pace, more consultant recommendations might go out of date. To avoid this scenario continuous education is important and the firms make sure that their consultants are trained well in new skills.
Launch of Digital Consulting Divisions
Since digitalization is the need of the present and future, more consulting agencies have started to add digital expertise to their firm and many digital agencies are now offering consulting services. Consulting firms have been launching digital consulting divisions and are on the path to increased digitalization.
Expertise and Knowledge is Becoming Increasingly Commoditized
Internet-based content is more available to the public now and digitalization has led to the commoditization of expertise and knowledge. Micro consulting is gaining popularity in the consulting industry and this involves an expert engaged in short projects different from the work done by a consultant team for several months.
Freelancers Prefer Maintaining Their Independent Role
Some freelancers collaborate with small consulting firms while some prefer working independently. Recent surveys suggest that most of the freelancers do not intend to abandon the independent working culture. Freelancers usually customize their billing and prices and this flexibility of freelancers makes many firms prefer their service. Larger consulting firms usually lack the flexibility of freelancers.
Crowd Sourcing Of Individual Experts and Consulting Firms
Consultancies are increasingly adopting the option of crowd sourcing to get the help of individual experts. A consulting firm will not have all the necessary expertise and they choose to work with outside experts. This widens the knowledge base of the consulting firm and the client gets the necessary insights. Consultancies choose to work with tech start-ups, digital agencies and even with freelance experts.