The management consulting industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years, with the market being valued at around £10 billion pounds in the UK in 2022, a huge leap from £7.4 billion pounds in 2012.
However, as the size of the consulting market increases, this brings new challenges and trends for your firm, directly impacting your processes, from delivering services to advanced ways of working. Here are the top trends that will shape the future of management consulting firms:
- Remote consulting
- Greater level of senior involvement in partnerships
- Creating strategic partnerships
- Recruiting new talent
- A struggle to retain existing talent
- Wider use of technology
1. Remote consulting
Nowadays, salespeople and consultants are typically used to hybrid working models as a result of travel restrictions from the recent pandemic. In fact, 83% of employers said in a recent survey that the shift to remote and hybrid working has been successful, which is why we believe this trend will continue to grow in future.
Not only does it offer flexibility to your workforce, but it also benefits your reach towards potential clients too. For instance, with clients based in a different geographical area, platforms like Microsoft Teams allow you to communicate effectively from location to location, regardless of where you’re based.
Technology like this allows remote consulting to become much easier, and with the variety of integrations out in the market already, remote working should be amongst your top priorities throughout the remainder of the year.
2. Greater level of senior involvement in partnerships
Your firm can’t continue to waste time and money on junior and mid-level consultants – you’ll need engagement from senior level representatives to offer expertise and drive efficiency for the successful execution of projects. There has been a shift of consultancies scrapping the ‘pyramid’ hierarchal structure as a result of this, so no matter the project, you can drive and prioritise new value creation at their core.
Additionally, your employees who are senior level can ensure any new starters within the business adapt to projects quickly. By actively engaging with customer cases throughout your firm, this leads to increased knowledge sharing, which can be transferrable towards future projects to boost efficiency.
3. Creating strategic partnerships
Due to the rapid growth of the industry, creating better partnerships has become key to retaining a competitive advantage. Reports from PwC noted that the number of joint ventures and alliances increase year on year with consulting firms, and due to the number of benefits strong partnerships hold, this trend likely to continue within the future of management consulting. These benefits include:
- A wider range of expertise – not every business is going to be knowledgeable in every area of the industry. A strategic partnership resolves this as you can collaborate with departments from likeminded businesses, with the potential to generate new ideas without additional investment
- Increased opportunities for sales – partnerships may provide a gateway to reach new markets and sectors depending on their credibility and trust within the market
- A higher level of customer trust - 60% of customers say many firms are structured to suit their way of working and not of their customers. Therefore, as strategic partners will be already aware of how to effectively target customer bases, you can learn from their practices to build better relationships
4. Recruiting new talent
With the introduction of new ways of working and models in place, management consulting firms will be keen to bring in fresh talent and skillsets. This rising trend will enable you to keep productivity and efficiency high, whilst also expanding the input you have to generate better value towards clients.
5. A struggle to retain existing talent
On the flip side however, a common issue among management consultancies today is their ability to retain the talent they already have.
Due to the number of opportunities out there for graduates and experienced consultants alike, if a business fails to provide career progression, this can cause problems when trying to retain staff. It’s found that 92% of junior consultants are more attracted to firms that have clear progression, and want work that not only incentives them, but also allows them to grow within their field. Some ways you can retain your top talent include:
- Offer the right career support – by having regular 121s for instance with your new and existing workforce, this will allow you to identify techniques to further their own progression or identify personal goals that they want to work towards
- Constantly strive to be innovative – just as much of an importance it is on a client’s side, employees also want to see improvements with their efficiency. One way you can do this is through implementing new technology such as AI within your processes. We’ll cover more on this trend later
- Educate employees on your current processes effectively – confusion when using your software or lack of knowledge when engaging with customers is the last thing you want within your management consultancy firm. Therefore, by spending time to educate employees through workshops for example, this can hold many benefits for both parties
6. Wider use of technology
It’s no surprise this trend is shaping the future of management consulting. Here are a few examples of technology you can implement your processes:
- Effective time and expense management – a PSA tool will allow you to track project and labour costs effectively, meaning you can make better informed decisions for your project teams and in other areas of your firm
- Resource planning capabilities – makes it easier to view all resources across your organisation, including metrics that matter most towards driving efficiency like hours worked on a project
- Deep financial insights – gain sophisticated budget tools to track your budget effectively, from creation through to completion with clear visibility.
You can read the benefits of PSA software in more detail by clicking here.
Wider use of AI and machine learning
AI can enhance your ability to operate whilst improving the services you can provide. For example, with your project teams, integrating AI can help you automate tasks such as manual data entry, freeing up your employees to focus on the more meaningful work.
Machine learning can also help boost efficiency, but more specifically, it’ll help you make more informed decisions if you have access to the right information. For example, if the same issues keep cropping up when delivering your services to clients, you’ll be able to identify the problem through tools such as predictive analytics, so you can prevent the disruption from happening again.
Explore the biggest challenges facing management consultancies today
With these trends comes a new set of challenges your firm will likely run into. Our interactive infographic explores these within the professional services landscape, and how you can adapt to tackle them effectively. We address:
- The strategic and operational challenges
- Why digital transformation is the key to success
- The four key steps to achieving digital transformation in professional services
Interested? Get your copy below.