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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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: