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What lies in the future for consulting? How will digitalisation change the industry? In the first instance, it creates double the work for early adopters of the digital consulting trend (e.g. Deloitte and Bain&C0). In the long term, new technologies will only improve a consultant’s output, allowing for deeper and faster analysis.
These days, when people think of consulting firms, they commonly think of multi-million corporations in the middle of central London, occupying the top floors of skyscrapers. And although this may still be the case with a lot of organisations, it seems that whole lifestyle and culture of consulting is changing due to digital advancements. These changes to the industry have resulted in many groups of people moving to freelance career options. This new style of consulting has only made a noticeable difference in the past 4 years. It is gradually becoming more interactive and engaging, and this trend may gradually change into a complete digitalisation of the sector.
The growth of digital consulting makes it exciting for newcomers and recent graduates looking to seek an opportunity in consulting. The digital world opens new opportunities for more virtual and freelance consulting opportunities worldwide, as it seems to be easier to communicate and complete tasks digitally. Many CEOs and owners have only positive thoughts for the future of consulting, makings comments such as “In 10 to 15 years, the consulting industry will be thriving even more than today. As technology continues to improve, specific expertise will be not only required but worth more.” Jim Morris, President & Owner of The Alternative Board Tennessee Valley.
A challenge that many consulting firms will face is constantly adjusting to match the current economy, as well as adapting to current digital and virtual trends. Consulting firms need to balance their workload in different ways, because while digital technology and virtual communication seem to be the future, there are many clients still used to traditional ways of communication.
Although this new way of consulting is important for the industry to grow, currently it isn’t crucial for the consulting sector to fully rely on the advancements of the digital age, as the industry is full of experts in finance, marketing, communications, and so much more. However, traditional consulting has been replaced by digital formats that make processes and communications simpler, and get things done faster. For example, digital transformation allows consultants to examine more data in depth. The depth and detail of analysis made possible by digitalisation aid the consultant in finding issues faster and being able to identify more useful solutions.
The digital world is also changing the needs of clients. Many clients are asking for consultants to help them make the transition to digital. So, as well as digital advances changing the pace of consulting, working with the client to help them develop digitally is additional work for consultants. The amount of effort to inform and educate a client of a new digital cycle and innovative ideas is limitless in the digital world. Because of this, it results in consultants having to cope on multiple fronts; dealing with the traditional forms of consulting and communicating, while having to also accommodate new technological strategies and adjusting to current trends.
There are many other aspects to the job for a digital consultant. One of their most recognisable jobs is dealing with a client’s SEO. Next would be social media usage, web design, and advertising. Although each of these is a full-time task in itself, above all the role of the digital consultant is to make a client successful online. As a result, different aspects to their role may be prioritised over others depending on the online position and stature the business.
In recent years, many firms such as Deloitte have noticed the change in the digital world, and have adjusted to it well. (Deloitte now has 12% of the consulting market.) Firms such as Bain and Company, 9 Lenses, and KPMG were the first to make the initial steps into digitalisation, and have benefited from this change. It seems to be only a matter of time until many other firms and opportunities become available through the digital world.
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