5 Business Consulting Industry Digital Transformation Challenges

In the past decade, as our habits have been completely overturned by newer and more affordable technology and the way we approach work has shifted following big societal changes, many industries have seen their fundamentals shaken. Companies have had to rethink the way they do business to the roots in order to survive, and many new players have leveraged emerging trends to pose a serious threat to incumbents. The business consulting industry is no exception. Growth has picked up after the decline following the Great Recession, and the sector is growing at a steady pace — about 3.4% annually in the United States. Nonetheless, they have faced, and continue to face, business consulting industry digital transformation challenges that cannot be underestimated.

In particular:

  1. More intense scrutiny by customers, whose expectations have changed and are now demanding more
  2. Decreased prices of products and services offered, which makes it more difficult to deliver top and bottom line growth
  3. Additional complexity of projects, now involving multiple stakeholders and required to deliver more value with less resources
  4. A changed workforce that no longer tolerates having to spend their working days with paper and manual processes and demands instead to be challenged with interesting and relevant tasks
  5. Increased reputation risk to have data and sensitive information stolen or compromised. Most in the industry think of data leaks in terms of when, rather than if

Within the same time frame, M-Files has worked with companies in the consulting industry to implement new ways to manage information that could fit with their changing needs.

Enhancing the Customer Experience

In a world where people can find most answers on the internet, the need for specialized knowledge is jeopardized. This is particularly true in business consulting. Twenty years ago, big consulting firms could leverage specific and secretive expertise to win customers; now this is no longer possible. Knowledge is spread everywhere, and is used by freelancers, boutique firms, purpose-driven consultancies and internal strategy departments to help companies with their challenges.

It’s a Buyer’s Market!

As customers get a more central position in the offering, the price charged for services provided comes under increased scrutiny. Nowadays, it is easy for customers of consulting firms to shop around in search of fixed and transparent pricing. Deltek found that 54% of COOs in professional services believe providing more value at the same cost is a key challenge for the future of their organizations. A second survey found that leaders at consulting firms are looking to get better control of costs, and particularly project costs, to increase profitability.

Projects are More Complex

When a consulting firm gets hired, an ad hoc team of experts is assembled, and a project is kicked off. Being able to deliver the project on time and within the constraints of the budget is fundamental to the success of the service firm and the satisfaction of its clients. Almost 60% of managers in consulting firms see projects becoming more and more complex. Partly, this is due to the involvement of multiple stakeholders to address a certain issue — subcontractors, independents, partner companies, but also the customers themselves.

Workforce has Changed

Consulting firms are made of people. The services they provide are only as good as their workforce. In the past decade, many things have changed in the way we all manage our personal and professional lives. Our expectations have shifted, particularly what we want from our job and our propensity for change. It was once normal to stay with a company for most of a career, sitting at a desk 9-to-5, Monday to Friday, often working on trivial tasks. Today, we want work that is flexible, collaborative, temporary and highly technological.

Keeping Client Information Secure

Consulting services firms handle an enormous volume of confidential client information. From strategic and reorganization plans to details about mergers and acquisitions, sales and marketing data, personal identification data and classified business communications; the documents containing this information are delicate. When they fall into the wrong hands, the bond of trust between the company and their client is broken.

The Solution to Business Consulting Industry Digital Transformation Challenges

The volume of documents and data any company is dealing with will only get bigger in the future. Consulting firms are no exception, and since time is their most valuable — and limited — resource, they need to make their wealth of information a facilitator of growth rather than an impediment. To find out how intelligent information management is addressing business consulting industry digital transformation, download our free eBook: