What makes clients special in the Nordic region?


Having a business-led approach to technology issues could be the factor that determines success in the Nordic consulting market.

In the research we carried out earlier this year, we asked clients what – if anything – would make them buy a lot more consulting.  Not just a bit more: a lot more.  And, because we asked this question of people in many different consulting markets, we’ve developed some sense of what makes clients in those regions special, what they’d really like to have – and may not get – from consultants.

A business-led approach to technology may not sound like rocket science.  It may not even be rocket science.  But it seems to be in short supply in Scandinavia.  Almost 70% of the people we asked (and they were all senior executives in large, multinational organisations), said that this approach would encourage them to buy more from consulting firms; more than a quarter said it would make a ‘substantial’ difference to their expenditure.

Why is this such an important factor in the Nordic market?  It reflects the region’s marked preference for specialist expertise (a trait it shares with its Teutonic neighbours): 35% of Nordic clients say that deep knowledge of trends in their sector would encourage them to buy much more consulting, compared to 26% in other markets.  Moreover, a business-led approach to technology may be perceived to support Nordic clients’ other priority: smart in the way they organise themselves in so many areas, Nordic executives see a business-led approach to technology as integral to helping them understand and enter new markets overseas.

By contrast, Nordic clients are not quite so interested as their counterparts in other countries in tying the fees they pay consulting firms to results, and they’re much less interested in tools and techniques, perhaps again because they want their experts to be able to think on their feet.

Depressingly, Nordic executives are particularly scathing when it comes to the extent to which consultants are capable of meeting their needs.  Roughly, they’re half as likely as people elsewhere to believe that consultants are good at implementation and bringing innovative ideas.  Perhaps most worryingly for the Nordic consulting industry, a miserly 3% think the consultants they work with are capable of the all-important ability to take a business-led approach to technology.  Looking on the bright side, the firm that first gets that right will scoop far more than its fair share of the market.