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What transforms the consulting market significantly? What trends do you see? Talking with Dr. Fiona Czerniawska from Source Global Research

 In Berlin, Consulting & Coaching, Deutschland, Europa, London, The Future of Consulting, UK

Conplore: Do you think business consulting will still exist in 20 years? Why?

Dr. Fiona Czerniawska:

Yes. Having an outside, independent person giving advice and support has always been an important part of business, although the form that takes has clearly changed a lot over time. And the fact that there’s a strong underlying need doesn’t mean that the process and nature of consulting won’t change.

Conplore: What transforms the consulting market significantly? What trends do you see?

Dr. Fiona Czerniawska:

What’s transforming the consulting market is transformation. Although you could be rightly cynical about the use of the word ‘transformation’ – it’s certainly making promises it may not deliver – the prospect of being able to make radical changes to the performance of a business is hugely appealing to clients at a time when growth via conventional channels can’t be guaranteed. We’ve calculated that roughly half of all new consulting work is coming from ‘transformation’ projects. That’s creating as many challenges for consulting firms as opportunities.

Transformation projects are huge, so you either win one or you don’t, so the gap between successful and unsuccessful firms will get wider and harder to bridge. But another factor about transformation projects is that they involve a combination of services that have traditionally been seen as mutually exclusive – high end strategy and low cost technology, for example. Indeed, the roles are sometimes reversed, so that we end up with high end technology and low cost strategy. That’s causing confusion: clients aren’t sure whether to hire a strategy firm or a technology firm to help, so they’re often hiring both. Clients also don’t think a single firm can cover all the services they need at a price point they find acceptable – and that’s creating pressure on consulting firms’ business models.

Conplore: Your advice for consultants of tomorrow?

Dr. Fiona Czerniawska:

In this increasingly complex marketplace, having absolute clarity about what differentiates you will be crucial. We speak to a lot of consulting firms that describe their proposition to clients in very broad, bland terms, and much more effort needs to go into being precise about what you have to offer. And, of, course, it’s not enough just to tell people what you do: consultants need to talk more about the value they add – and, if possible, find simple but clear and compelling ways to demonstrate this.

Conplore: Thank you for the insights, Fiona!

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