Challenges ahead for Consulting

Post financial crisis, variety of things such as paradigm shift in economic markets, increased governmental regulations and business changing technological innovations are setting the operating stage for all firms.

Historically, I.T. consulting firms have primarily focussed on the developed western markets, hardly trying to expand in other regions. But the new economics will force these firms to grow through acquisitions, a possible risk of which is a federated organisation. Till now, these firms enjoyed strong bottom lines by charging high fees or through the currency advantage of leveraging low cost off-shore – both of which are now under pressure. Moreover, they will need to evolve from their “one-size-fits-all” approach and devise customized albeit cost-effective operating models.

Also, a tremendous increase in market demand-driven job opportunities in the emerging markets will make talent retention in the off-shore centres difficult for all I.T leveraging a low cost worker pool. Intellectual property (IP) creation will then get challenging.

In developed markets, increased government regulation, lack of large capital projects in client organisations and increasing use of disruptive technological innovations like cloud computing will affect the way consultants are engaged, and pose challenges for I.T. consulting organisations such as inability to maintain a high leverage of its workforce,  and  need for a constant retooling of staff . Immigration restrictions stifling skilled workforce mobility across geographies will make it more difficult for consulting firm to respond to staffing opportunities.

In the face of these challenges, I.T consulting companies’ organisational strategy need to –

1. Focus on operations – Think local and develop localised operating models to meet client needs and budgets, enabling custom value propositions and countering immigration restrictions.

2. Focus on people – Build an employee-centric story. Invest and retain staff by incorporating training programs to help employees meet career objectives and by providing them the right opportunities and competitive compensations. .

3. Promote collaborative culture – By putting in place effective frameworks to affect a culture change, cross leverage IP to create better value for customers.

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