The consulting industry is witnessing a fundamental change when it comes to doing business. The new wave of consultants is using digital tools to deliver unprecedented customer service to their clients at less than half the cost. Digital disruption in consulting is a certainty. Today, consultants are facing an increasing level of pressure to innovate and prove value through the use of digital technologies.
There are ample resources out there that guide consultants on how to embrace this digital change, but few that get you information right from the people who have been there and done that successfully.
A recent webinar hosted by Consulting Magazine was one such event. The speakers list included the following thought leaders:
- Joe Kornik, Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, Consulting
- Andy Main, Partner, Deloitte Consulting; Chief Executive, Deloitte Digital
- Rich Lyons, CEO and President, Lyons Consulting Group
- Brendan Williams, Associate Director, Lead for Digital Consulting Research
- Bill Hobbib, VP of Product Marketing, Bullhorn
Needless to say, with so many good speakers it wasn’t easy for us to narrow down our top takeaways. But we managed to pull the ones that sparked our interest the most. Here is our roundup of the top takeaways from the webinar.
Andy Main – Head of Deloitte Digital
Digital will become the New Normal
Technology has become ubiquitous. The explosion of connectivity, data, ease of use, computing power, accessibility, and the rapid pace of innovation have made technology as important as food, water, and shelter in society.
In the last two years, we have seen nine times more data created than in the history of humanity; and in the next 10 years, 40% of the Fortune 500 companies will be gone.
8 Great Traits of a Digital Business
As the Harvard Business Review rightly pointed out, “For businesses to be competitive during this time of transformation, they must increase the speed with which they innovate around new digital initiatives,”. Consulting companies need to either adopt digital or fall behind their competitors. But there are some common traits shared by those that are adapting to the digital evolution.
We could not agree more with Andy Main about the importance of embracing these traits to run a successful digital business. Running a successful digital enterprise means continuously refining processes and technologies to serve clients better, in a shorter span of time, with leaner budgets.
Consulting has traditionally relied upon human capital to assess business problems and manual processes to manage data and implement changes. But today, clients are no longer willing to pay for long periods of discovery instead they want value faster, sometimes even on day one, and they like more accountability in the outcome of consulting engagements. In order to meet such expectations, consultants are forced to rethink their processes and embrace digital consulting.
Brendan Williams – Associate Director, Lead for Digital Consulting Research ALM Intelligence
Williams advised us to expect the current rate for digital growth in consulting to continue to be well above the overall consulting industry average for at least the next two years. At some point it will become a more mature segment of the market.
“There is still an enormous amount of work that needs to be done to prepare our companies, our governments, and our societies to survive in the digital age. We have barely scratched the surface”, he added. Not only is digital here to stay, but it is actually growing at an accelerating rate.
When asked if firms need to have a specific go-to-market digital strategy, Brendan explained that digital is expected to touch all aspects of business, but it will not affect all equally. Some functions will be more fundamentally turned around than others. Whether or not digital is an essential part of your business, at a minimum, all consulting firms need to have a clear view of what digital means to them and a clear view of what digital means to their clients.
Consulting firms should use digital as an opportunity to reevaluate their business models. In order to do so, they should come up with concrete examples of what they think is going to change about both their own and their clients’ businesses, what is not going to change, and how is that change going to affect the firm and the industry as a whole.
Rich Lyons, CEO Lyons Consulting Group
Lyons discussed how consultants can prepare for digital disruption in order to then help their customers prepare for it. “Operating across multiple geographies, and time zones e-commerce is a 24/7 operation. We have become a global economy” he added. He also shared an inspiring quote by Peter Senge, founder of the Center for Organizational Learning at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and author of the famous book ‘The Fifth Discipline’.
“The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition. Through learning we re-create ourselves…we become able to do something we never were able to do”
– Peter Senge, The Fifth Disciple
By going digital, consultants are able to examine more data in more intricate ways than manual methods allow, which in turn allows them to delve much deeper into the data. Successful digitization of the analysis process will allow consultants to easily slice and dice the data in order to quickly find the root causes of issues and identify appropriate solutions.