Forecasts for 2017
Strategic Planning Programme 2017
As an analyst (rather than an on-the-ground consultant), it can be easy to dismiss a consulting market when it seems so troubled that there appear to be few prospects of things going right. Brazil is one such market. The volume of consulting work barely grew at all in 2016, having contracted in 2015. The economic situation is dire—the economy has shrunk by more than 7% in the past two years—and is also beset by high unemployment and a crippling budget deficit. Well-documented political shenanigans have been hugely destabilising—with impeachment followed by meatpacking scandal followed by further impeachment worries—and have hit investor confidence hard. Bear in mind, too, that this is the country that gave us the delightful (at least to the disinterested observer) notion of the “chicken flight”—the idea of a hopeful surge in economic performance, swiftly followed by a fall to earth—and that was when times were relatively good, with Brazil proudly occupying its position as one of the then-fabled booming BRICS.
Blog | 10th October 2017 | Read more
Thanks to a strong economy, a renewed client focus on growth, and a healthy appetite for adopting digital, the Australian consulting market grew by 5.2% in 2016. Alastair Cox shares the three big trends dominating this market at the moment.
2016 was actually a very good year for the Indian consulting market, with almost 14% growth. This represents a significant increase on last year's already strong 11% growth rate, and is a powerful testament to the health and increasing maturity of this market.
2016 saw an upturn in fortunes for the Italian consulting market. Heightened client interest and growth, and digital intitives across a wide swathe of industries drove revenue growth of 4.3%. Alastair Cox shares some more insights...
By Zoë Stumpf.
It must be very irritating to be Canadian and be constantly taken to be American—at least by foreigners unfamiliar with nuances of accent. The good news for the Canada consulting market is that there’s no real danger of that type of confusion happening: Not only is the market a fraction of the size of that of its southern neighbour, it’s also very different in its make-up. Take digital transformation as an example. In the US—arguably the world’s most digitally mature consulting market—digital has become a vast behemoth accounting for a huge 25% of the total market, driving work across all service lines and encompassing all industries. In Canada, it’s a different, rather more modest story, with digital work accounting for less than 6% of the market and the largest share of the work falling to strategy consultants. Indeed, the fact that digital projects now account for a very large proportion of all strategy work in Canada suggests that digital is something people are talking about a lot more than something they’re acting on.
Blog | 7th July 2017 | Read more
By Zoë Stumpf.
Having just emerged—slowly—from the depths of the financial crisis, Brexit was arguably the last thing that the UK financial services industry needed. Eight years of dealing with onerous regulatory requirements and severe cost cutting–as well as the disruptive influence of digital and aggressive inroads by challenger banks–have taken their toll on the industry and left it in no need of this new challenge.
Blog | 20th June 2017 | Read more
By Zoë Stumpf.
It may be a little fanciful to compare a consulting market with a film, but the Benelux consulting market has, to my mind at least, an awful lot in common with 1993’s Groundhog Day–a comedy all about an arrogant TV weatherman, tasked with covering the annual appearance of a groundhog from its hole, who then gets trapped into reliving the same day over and over again until he gets it right. It's this time warp element (rather than the humour) that draws comparisons with what is happening to consulting in Benelux now–a market that seems to have got itself well and truly stuck on the hamster wheel of low growth.
Blog | 13th June 2017 | Read more
By Jodi Davies.
I've lived in Dubai for the last seven years, in a villa a stone's throw from the beach, in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab (well, almost...). I feel incredibly fortunate to live here and over the years I've watched, mostly in awe, but sometimes with a tinge of regret, as Dubai develops around me. I've seen the relentless move to modernise and make shiny and new that's led to every last vestige of sand being consumed by grand, ornate constructions, and I've seen bright white malls and palatial villas spring up, seemingly overnight, as if by magic.
Blog | 8th June 2017 | Read more
By Rachel Duk.
I confess: I was utterly enchanted by Disney’s remake of their classic film Beauty and the Beast. In common with my fellow cinema-goers, I sought solace from the ongoing political debacles in the UK in a French wonderland of singing candlesticks and talking teacups. And in a happy coincidence, my mind was allowed to linger in that particular universe for a little longer, as the next day I boarded a Paris-bound Eurostar to talk to some of our customers about the France consulting market. While I prepared myself for the day ahead—the soundtrack still ringing in my ears—it began to dawn on me just how many parallels existed between Beauty and the Beast and the France consulting market.
Blog | 16th May 2017 | Read more
Zoë Stumpf shares some insights from our recently published report on the UK consulting market, noting the impact of Brexit and the continuing growth in digital transformation work, along with a positive forecast for the year ahead.
By Fiona Czerniawska.
A recent article in The Economist argued that globalisation was already “in retreat” before politicians started talking about the need for greater protectionism. In 1990, when McDonald’s opened its first branch in Moscow, the firm “embodied an idea that would become incredibly powerful: global firms, run by global managers and owned by global shareholders, should sell global products to global customers”. But the return on equity of the top 700 multinationals has fallen to 11%, down from a peak of 18% ten years ago; moreover, if we compare the ROE of multinational firms with that of their local competitors, the latter often do better. “Global reach has become a burden, not an advantage”, The Economist concludes.
Blog | 17th March 2017 | Read more
By Julie Ahadi.
Researching clients’ views on the consulting industry in the GCC can sometimes feel a bit like falling through a rabbit hole: We don’t claim to have encountered any rabbits in waistcoats along the way, but much like Alice in Wonderland, we have, at times, felt as though we’ve entered into an alternate reality...
Blog | 14th March 2017 | Read more
By B.J. Richards.
“Keep calm and carry on”: The plucky little exhortation with the horrifying backstory became positively ubiquitous over the last few years, gracing countless coffee mugs and greeting cards while keeping many a London souvenir shop afloat. Irrepressibly British, the WWII-era sentiment clearly struck a chord with a recession-weary citizenry upon its rediscovery at the end of the noughties.
Blog | 8th March 2017 | Read more
By Fiona Czerniawska.
I’m not generally prone to nostalgia, but trying to analyse trends in the consulting industry is sometimes enough to make me yearn after a quieter life.
Forecasting demand trends used to be very simple. Back in the heady 1990s, it was just a question of how big you thought the growth figure should be. You could, for example, assume that all banks would behave in the same way. Want to know the size of the consulting market there? Easy: 3% of costs across the board. Want to know what it would be the next year? No problem: take the last five year’s growth and draw a straight line. The global financial crisis came as fairly rude wake-up call to all that, but at least the consulting world could comfort itself that, if they got it wrong, then so did just about every major financial institution and government on the planet. Since then, we’ve all learnt to forecast at a more granular level, to be circumspect about our predictions, and to spend more time talking to clients, who after all will be the ultimate arbiters.
Blog | 23rd February 2017 | Read more
By Zoë Stumpf
When we carried out our global survey of clients in December last year, we had a good idea that we knew what they would say. With the world looking like a less certain place than it did only a few short months ago, we thought that they would be more tentative about increasing consulting spend, and less likely to be committing to new projects.
It’s a good job that we didn't put any money on the outcome, because we were quite wrong. Clients were overwhelmingly positive–more so than they have been for the last few years–both in terms of their plans to kick off new initiatives and to use consultants to help them.
Blog | 7th February 2017 | 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