It never ceases to amaze me how rapidly the world is changing before our eyes. We went from landlines to pagers, to smartphones in a matter of decades and the technological advancements have surpassed anything we could have ever imagined. I can’t help but wonder about the impact of technology in the consulting space. What do we have to look forward to? What trends could the amalgamation of technology and skills result in? And what does this mean for the future of this industry over the next 3-5 years? Here are a few trends that, I think, will take the consulting world by storm in the near future.
Increased Use of Technology
One of the areas that is likely to see the benefits of automation will be accounting. I believe, the replacement of humans with machines will gain pace resulting in not just cutting down time and costs, but also reducing errors/improving efficiencies. The good news is those of us who are willing to reskill, embrace technology and recognize the need to collaborate more effectively with technology tools will not just survive but thrive.
The future is also likely to see more widespread use of technologies designed to solve business problems — either developed in-house or by ‘smart’ product companies (Mind you, there is already a proliferation of such tools in the marketplace). All signs indeed point towards the adoption of such tools exponentially. These technologies will become embedded as part of the business model and will no longer be an afterthought. Clients will demand it increasingly leaving consulting firms with no choice but to adapt
Higher Demand for people with Tech skills
Individuals with deep functional and/or industry expertise will always be in demand but firms will also start to prefer individuals with tech implementation expertise. This is something that both young and seasoned professionals in the industry should keep in mind and aim to upskill to stay relevant. If one can weave technology to solve industry and/or functional problems, the chances of such people landing lucrative job prospects will be considerably better.
Emphasis on Learning and Development
While companies will continue to attract and retain employees using factors such as the quality of the role to brand recall, compensation, culture, and work environment, the ones that have learning and development as part of the culture, allocate higher spending and actively train their employees in new skills, that will attract and help companies retain employees
Demand for ROI by Clients
Finally, a trend that will redefine the consulting space is the move toward delivering tangible outcomes. We live by this every single day and have delivered over $200 million through cost savings (profitability improvement), cash flow improvement, and revenue optimization which has resulted in significant enhancement to enterprise valuations for several of our clients. Clients are and will continue to demand an ROI on their fees which is valid considering that as an industry, it is incumbent upon every consulting firm/ consultant to deliver a return regardless of whether there is an expectation from the clients that we are servicing.
While most of these trends are already upon us, I see them playing a more prominent role in the next half-decade or so. Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I do believe that the future of consulting will be truly magical if we are able to keep our clients at the center, continue to remain transparent, and deliver tangible outcomes to clients as our DNA. Technology might make a few roles redundant but it will also create new job opportunities and new avenues of learning. Personally, I am very excited about the future. As someone wise rightly said, “The choices we make today create the future that we are dreaming of”. On that note, have a great day and a wonderful weekend.