The most informed CEOs across the globe have already put their digital business transformation plans in motion. Others will surely follow their lead in 2016, but many will require the insights and guidance of consulting firms that have a proven track record of helping senior executives achieve their bold goals.
Finding qualified forward-thinking advisers can be challenging. Navigating the path to success often requires deep-domain knowledge that enables these consultants to help their clients redesign business models, streamline legacy processes and realign organizations around a new commercial vision and associated objectives.
Management and IT Consulting Landscape
The consulting firms that are attempting to fulfill the market demand have varied expertise. Leading a digital business transformation project compels the professional service team to span both business-oriented and technology-centric issues. Traditionally, few consulting companies have subject-matter experts that are skilled in both arenas.
Annual revenue for the sixteen firms in the Technology Business Research (TBR) 'Management Consulting Benchmark' increased 6.5 percent year-to-year in 2015, reaching $77 billion. In contrast, the overall IT services market revenue contracted 6.9 percent.
As clients increasingly adopt cloud computing, big data analytics and digital technologies, business operations models are changing, creating opportunities in Operations Consulting -- the core of management consulting -- at 44 percent of the $37.5 billion management consulting benchmarked revenue in 1H15.
"Vendors successful in linking the implementation of emerging technologies with business decisions for clients will continue to win engagements in 2016," said Patrick M. Heffernan, principal analyst at TBR.
The rapid changes in emerging technologies compel these firms to acquire or partner to remain competitive. The McKinsey & Company acquisition of Henry Rak Consulting, an analytics boutique serving retail clients, appeared to be an anomaly.
However, by the end of 2015 the acquisitions pace set by McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), KPMG and their peers illustrated how the McKinsey experiment was actually the start of a market-shifting trend.
Pervasive Market Development Trends
While management consultancies have consistently acquired smaller consulting firms that typically fold neatly into their existing capabilities and strengths, large purchases such as Deloitte of Monitor or PwC of Booz & Company have occurred.
According to the TBR assessment, during the last 12 months, McKinsey and BCG led the strategic shift to build and expand their emerging technology capabilities -- especially within software analytics and digital transformation.
Similarly, many of the benchmarked consultancies entered or enhanced alliances designed to align deeper technology capabilities with core consulting offerings. Case in point: the Deloitte partnership with Accenture Duck Creek indicates a willingness to be a strategic partner -- even to a historically fierce competitor.
As multiple management consulting executives noted to TBR, the pace of change in technology and innovation has motivated even the most conservative consultancies to either form new partnerships or acquire resources more rapidly. This trend will therefore continue in 2016 and likely accelerate to satisfy growing market demand.