Three things you should know about the DACH consulting market

Our latest research into the consulting industries of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria reveals the region’s markets to be in good health, with strong levels of client demand right across the board. For those firms already active in, or thinking of entering, this large market, here are a few pointers on some of the developments we’re seeing right now:

1. Digitisation: growing fast, with lots of potential

The volume of digital work grew by just over 30% in 2018—a huge increase, reflecting widespread client enthusiasm for new technology. Indeed, digital work now accounts for a third of all consulting work carried out in the region. But DACH clients have a long way to go if their commitment to digital is to catch up with that of neighbours such as the UK, where almost half of all consulting work carried out is digital in nature. This presents a significant opportunity for consultants working in the region—though they must understand that this cool-headed client group is not prone to making panic-based investments for the simple sake of keeping pace with peers in other countries. Consultants need to be crystal clear about the value they can deliver—clients want to be very sure that their digital investments will pay dividends.

2. Switzerland: not quite as good a prospect for banking consultants as it used to be

Switzerland is virtually synonymous with banking, and banks have provided a rich seam of work for consultants specialising in financial services for many years. However, while there is still plenty of work on offer, there are concerns that volumes are not growing as quickly as in the past. The need for regulatory support is lessening slightly, and at the same time, key clients are putting budgets under scrutiny. We think the situation could really start to impact volumes in 2019, with growth rates more modest than Swiss financial services consultants are used to.

3. Platforms: a growing source of new competition

Platforms—a means of accessing a whole range of freelance consultants—aren’t a new phenomenon, but they are gaining popularity in this conservative market. Clients like them because of the transparency they offer and the ease of access to specialists—as well as the relatively low price tag attached to those specialists. They may not be right for all types of consulting engagements, but the fact that clients are enthusiastic about using them to meet some of their consulting needs is shaking up the market—and forcing larger players to think carefully about the value-add they can offer.

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