The Transformation of Transformation
Strategic Planning Programme 2016
By Fiona Czerniawska.
Regular readers of this blog will know that we see the consulting industry dividing into two markets: the low-cost market, where familiarity results in super-specialisation, standardisation, and—ultimately—commoditisation; and high-value consulting, in which unfamiliar problems can only be solved by smart people supported by clever tools. We’ve argued that these two markets co-exist, but the former, although bigger (about 70% of the total, we estimate) is growing more slowly than the latter—which would be fine except that clients are telling us that these markets are also diverging, making it hard for firms to do both. All that’s created pressure on the consulting business model.
Blog | 12th April 2017 | Read more
By Fiona Czerniawska.
“Change doth unknit the tranquil strength of men,” wrote the nineteenth-century English poet Matthew Arnold.
2016 tested even the most optimistic consultants’ mantra that all change is good for the industry. To be fair, the year’s two biggest changes–the election of Donald Trump and Brexit–have so far done little more than create huge uncertainty, making it hard for clients to decide where to focus their limited resources. That hiatus in corporate decision-making may be brief in the US, given the number of executive orders flying out of the White House, but the nature of the UK’s post-Brexit world is no clearer now than it was six months ago. So it’s tempting to hunker down and wait for the fog to clear.
Blog | 16th February 2017 | Read more
What's everyone talking about within the financial services consulting market? Zoë Stumpf shares some findings from our recently published report.
By B.J. Richards.
“My grandpa is still waiting for me to grow up!” announced my good friend Josh to peals of laughter as we sat in a swanky London cocktail bar. It had been a while since we’d seen him, and we were thrilled that a speaking engagement had brought him to town. You see, Josh’s job as a professor and principal investigator at a top-ten global research institution keeps him pretty busy, so we don’t get to see him as much as we’d like.
Blog | 21st November 2016 | Read more
By Rachel Duk.
If the current antics of a certain “reality-star-turned-presidential-candidate” are anything to go by, political scandals are currently in vogue. For those of us watching on here in the UK, the build up to the US election has made for compelling viewing—a fascinating political soap opera that would keep writers of House of Cards in storylines for years to come. For the US electorate however, the debates are a glimpse of an unappealing reality that may come to pass when votes are cast today. Watching on with some empathy perhaps, are the inhabitants of Brazil—who are all too familiar with the damaging effects politically bad behaviour can have on business.
Blog | 7th November 2016 | Read more
By Rachel Duk.
When the economic crisis of the late noughties sent shockwaves through Europe, many of the continent’s inhabitants steeled themselves for an undefined period of monetary gloom; ruminating on the dizzying escalation of house prices, and merrily blaming bankers for most of life’s ills. In Spain, however—beleaguered business owners weren’t content to let a tiny hiccup like an economic meltdown crush their dreams of growth and prosperity. With the domestic economy looking wholly uninspiring, a handful of innovative clients echoed the entrepreneurial spirit demonstrated by Spanish explorer, Juan Díaz de Solís, in 1516—and set sail for Latin American shores.
Blog | 24th October 2016 | Read more
Rachel Duk talks through the challenges in place for consulting firms and their clients within the energy & resources industry.
By Edward Haigh.
It’s not entirely unusual to see the Big Four outperforming the market these days. In 2015 they did so in all of the five biggest consulting markets in the world, but nowhere has the difference between their performance and that of other firms been quite as stark as it has been in Australia. So why?
In part it’s because the Big Four are placing themselves in the sweet spot at the moment–sitting somewhere between strategy and technology and asserting their ability to do both of those and a whole lot else besides. In a market in which clients are often trying to do everything, the Big Four offer everything.
Blog | 29th September 2016 | Read more
By Zoë Stumpf.
The Italian consulting market, after years of high expectations counterbalanced by poor performance, finally achieved a little bit of growth in 2015. True, only 1% growth, but any growth at all in a market that has experienced years of negative or low growth has got to be seen as a good thing.
Blog | 26th September 2016 | Read more
By Alastair Cox.
As one would expect, the revelation of Maria Sharapova’s use of banned performance-enhancing substances provoked an extremely negative response from the tennis and sport-at-large community. As a result, Sharapova received a two-year ban from tennis. Meanwhile, and on a slightly more existentially-significant scale, Russia annexed Crimea and found itself on the receiving end of massive economic sanctions.
Blog | 19th September 2016 | Read more
By Julie Ahadi
Let’s start with a predefined notion of “normal” from a western perspective:
Perhaps that’s the reason, therefore, that a video, showing an Arab man in traditional attire as described above, scaling multiple buildings in sandy (undisclosed) locations, went viral earlier this year. His speed and dexterity has earned him the nickname “Spiderman of the Gulf”. But, aside from the fact he was wearing the most inappropriate footwear–yes, sandals–is it that much of a big deal? A young, fit man with time on his hands and energy to burn choosing to climb a building or ten? It seems pretty standard for any–and all–silly antics to be filmed by your mates and uploaded onto YouTube these days. And that’s exactly what happened here. So it’s not the act so much as the circumstances–i.e., someone doing something which is completely at odds with our cultural stereotypes–that amuses us so.
Blog | 12th July 2016 | Read more
By Julie Ahadi.
There is an Arabic proverb (Lebanese, in fact) that goes: “He who wants to eat honey should endure the stings”. We suspect that a fair proportion of consultants in the GCC may benefit from reminding themselves of this mantra in the days and months ahead as the impact of low oil prices play themselves out.
Blog | 16th May 2016 | Read more
By Fiona Czerniawska.
Our latest report on UK consulting pegs growth in this market at 8.2%, that’s up from 6.6% in 2014 and means that, for the second year running, the UK is one of the world’s most attractive consulting markets.
Inevitably, though, growth isn’t spread evenly across all industries or service lines: two areas stand out.
The first is risk and regulation. That’s not a new story, but it does have a bit of a new twist to it. As we’ve pointed out before, demand is bifurcating, with the more familiar areas being commoditised and industrialised, as clients seek to limit the overall amount of money they have to spend in this area, and the less familiar areas commanding greater executive attention and higher fee rates. We thought that might lead to a slow-down in growth overall, because the bulk of consulting falls into the first, commoditised category and because clients here are seeking to bring fee rates down even if they can’t reduce their actual workload, but it appears that the amount of regulatory change is still more than enough to maintain demand. The risk and regulatory consulting market, worth just over £500m in 2015*, grew by 12%.
Blog | 29th March 2016 | Read more