Last Thursday we partnered with Consulting Magazine to sponsor a webinar that addressed the impending disruption of the consulting industry and discussed how consultants can stay ahead of the curve. The discussion included input from two consultancies, Ernst & Young and West Monroe Partners, Managing Director of Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory Tom Rodenhauser, and Edwin Miller, our own Founder and CEO. You can listen to the full webinar here, but below we’ve provided a brief recap, as well.
Craig Glindemann, Partner, EMEIA Advisory Centre, EY
The discussion kicked off with EY’s Craig Glindemann, who spoke about the emerging technological trends that consultants face today. He noted that there are a number of global trends, such as mobile, cybercrime prevention, and automation, that are inextricably linked to the digital technology that is leading today’s business world. These mega-trends are affecting the way consulting clients do business with their own customers, requiring business models that allow for increased speed and mobile capabilities and the ability to deal with massive amounts of customer data. He then noted that consultants likewise need new capabilities and processes – beyond microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel – to keep up with the trends. Where consultants would form a hypothesis off a small sample size of data in the past, for example, the expectation today is that they will use big data to form conclusions. Competency in data analytics, therefore, is key for consulting firms today.
Tom Rodenhauser, Managing Director, Advisory Services, Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory
Tom Rodenhauser spoke about the evolving relationship between the consultant and the client. Consulting clients today are viewing consultants from a different vantage point than before. Technology is shortening the distance between the consultant and the client – whereas consultants have previously served as the knowledge powerhouses, clients today are becoming more sophisticated, running more parallel with consultants than following them in industry knowledge. As a result, clients are looking for more sophisticated and innovative solutions, effectively changing the traditional consulting value proposition. He stated that we will soon see a clear separation in the industry between consultants that are adopting solutions based on technology and those that are rooted in their old ways, helping clients make only incremental changes instead of the sweeping changes they expect. To position themselves for the future, consultants should turn to asset-based or productized solutions, where the actual consulting delivery is performed via a modeling system, instead of depending on individual analysts.
Greg Layok, Senior Director, West Monroe Partners
Greg Layok stepped up next to discuss the growing trend of asset-based consulting. He stated that assets based on analytical solutions and accelerators will become key drivers for consultants to create customer value. The promise of big data and predictive analytics is becoming a reality, and there are tool sets emerging that will enable consultants to capitalize on big data and analytics. Assets provide a competitive differentiator, allowing consultants to bring something tangible to customers, from a faster ROI to demonstrating deep knowledge or repeatability of solutions. He identified two main technological trends in the consulting world: data analytics and cloud computing. Because analytics is becoming top of every client’s agenda, clients are demanding that consultants be more quantitative in their solutions. Cloud computing, on the other hand, will lower complexity and cost of deploying new customer solutions and accelerators. Consultants would do well, therefore, to develop an innovation program to adopt these trends. Moreover, consultants should consider the talent necessary to serve today’s clients. True data scientists are rare; consultants need hybrid business-data scientists with deep domain expertise who have the desire to learn the necessary analytical tool set.
Edwin Miller, Founder & CEO, 9Lenses
Edwin Miller then spoke about how technology is starting to disrupt the way consultants perform client discovery. One of the primary difficulties consultants face is how to perform client discovery and still remain on par with today’s technology trends and client expectations. With traditional consulting methods, consultants lack the ability to ask consistent, connected, and secure questions at scale. The traditional process is time-consuming and results in inconsistent, insecure data with limited depth. The answer for consultants is to embrace technology in order to self-disrupt client discovery. They should look to adopt tool sets that collect and connect all data in one platform, allowing for data that is connected, secure, and leads to deep quantitative and qualitative insights.
A Q&A period followed, addressing questions around dealing with client expectations and different methods for how to approach the future of consulting.
Be sure to check out the webinar for a more in-depth discussion on how emerging technologies will disrupt consulting!
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