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The future of strategy consultancy

In this article, we go through four trends have been observed in the last few years:

The evolving requirements of clients
Consultants are being hired more on-site
The rise of big “one-stop-shop players”
The growth of small, flexible consultancy boutiques.

Then, we examine the immediate reaction of companies that specialize in strategy as well as what we believe is going to be needed for the industry to stay clear of The Levitt’s “Marketing myopia”. The strategy firms have definitely begun to evolve, but in an the ever-changing world of digital they must look at delivery strategies that go rather than just throwing people with smart minds and their industry knowledge at the issue. To achieve this, they need to completely embrace the latest technology.

Then, we examine the immediate responses from the strategy companies and also what we believe is going to be needed for the industry to stay clear of the Levitt’s “Marketing myopia”. The strategy firms have definitely begun to change, but in an the ever-changing world of digital they have to look at delivery strategies that go that go beyond throwing intelligent people and their industry knowledge at the issue. In order to do this, they need to be fully embracing the latest technology.


The beginning of the consultation “mini-MBA” we were taught about myopia in marketing the term invented by Theodore Levitt. It is a way to understand the risks of marketing only from the perspective of selling a product, rather than in terms of meeting the requirements of the customer.

At an era in its growth each industry is classified as a growth industry due to the apparent quality of its product. However, case after instance, companies have been sucked into the shadow of poor management. The most often emphasized aspect is selling rather than marketing. This is not the case, because selling is focused on the requirements that the sellers have, whereas marketing is focused on the requirements of buyers.

As I go through this article this moment, I cannot resist the feeling that it’s an important message that should be heard by the strategy consulting firms. They have helped their clients overcome their marketing blindness for many years There are some clear indications that the initial “disruption” that we’ve witnessed in strategy consultancy has started.


As the global online transactions continue to increase and expand, the requirements of a significant portion of customers have changed.

The first is that the availability of data has altered the customers’ requirements. Before, consultants for strategy could bring information from the market to a. An insightful analysis of this could aid in identifying trends and possible factors that could trigger future changes. The data available isn’t just more accessible and accessible, but also much more internal records, that is usually more useful.

In addition, businesses have built up internal abilities and tools. They are getting better when it comes to using their data. The products are built around data rather than being able to see what data is released when they sell their productsor services. This allows companies to continuously change and adapt. Tech companies that are growing rapidly are constantly changing their strategies at every level of the business, as a result of more accurate information and insights.

The third reason is that companies that have a significant presence on the internet are faced with different challenges than traditional industries. The new worlds of UX as well as product management and Big Data are suddenly of crucial importance.

Additionally, given the ever-present danger of recession, and the weak levels of growth in GDP, customers are less budget-conscious than they were in the past. In past years the prospect of a 10x ROI was sufficient to justify the huge upfront fees. With more restrictions customers are beginning to search for more flexible solutions which can be offered for less.


It’s been an ongoing steady flow consultants to”strategy” teams of corporates “strategy” groups of corporations. Indeed, the majority of people who graduate from college choose consulting in order to “open doors” to industry. Typically, consultants make their first move into a position of strategic importance, before moving into a commercial job once they are fully aware of their business and have built the necessary stakeholder networks.

But what’s beginning to change is that consultants are getting hired into non-strategic positions. Because the capabilities of consultants (analytics and insight; communications to top-level stakeholders) are required in more sectors of business, consultants are getting hired into commercial or operational roles right out of consulting. As consulting is becoming more functionally specialized (i.e. supply chain consultants, techno strategy specialists) There are more obvious points of entry.

This is a self-fulfilling prediction As more consultants are involved in the teams, they tend for “what they are familiar with” (i.e. greater number of consultants). With the increase in numbers it is not just that there is little “need” for consultants from outside There is also more competition for the talent.


The most significant growth in strategy firms over the last couple of years have been with the Big 4. Through acquisitions, and hiring of senior partners they have formed teams for strategy with alumni of the established brands in the field of strategy (i.e. recruiting from McKinsey, BCG, Bain and BCG, Oliver Wyman, LEK; acquisitions of Booz and Company (PWC) and Monitor (Deloitte)).

The Big Four are able to offer a unique distinction: their powerful strategic minds are supported by the size. In terms of functional aspects they can be a one-stop-shop to use them as an expert advisor in accounting and tax, legal operational and consulting. This size is seen as offering not just an integrated, complete solution, but also offering huge savings in costs.

On the other hand their size is huge, which implies they are more flexible. They can provide smaller projects and more flexible models , as capacity can be easily controlled.

The smaller, more flexible BOUTIQUES and FREELANCERS

Another exciting trend is the rising number of freelancers, as well as small, two-to-three-person boutiques. It is now a sought-after career option, which offers greater flexibility and freedom. On one hand you will find boutiques that employ entire teams and position themselves as direct rivals to companies that specialize in strategy. The less well-known are the small boutiques as well as freelancers.

We’re seeing an increasing people interested in either an individual resource for junior managers (stand-alone with good stakeholder management abilities) or in putting two teams of a smaller size (manager with 2 analysts) to manage strategic projects. While the costs of these projects may seem very different from the typical plan of strategy consultation, setup and implementation may not be that much different. It’s likely that these small firms or freelancers will be able to tackle the heart of the work of strategy consulting (i.e. crucial Board decisions) However, the peripheral work that has gradually been accumulating over time is at risk from this more flexibleand cost-effective approach.


There are some interesting responses to the recent changes in the marketplace. We are not only seeing the introduction of new business models that are innovative and consultants are also looking into different ways to gain access to a greater and greater flexibility of workforce.

The new business models of innovation were extensively explained within the HBR article “Consulting at the edge of disruption” in October of 2013. This trend has continued with new implementations, operations analytics, analytics, and benchmarking “arms” to the most prestigious strategies firms. Most of them operate under the brand name of strategy (i.e., McKinsey Solutions; McKinsey Implementation), but there are also a few subsidiary companies (i.e., Finalta is an affiliate of McKinsey which is focused specifically on benchmarking within FS). They are likely to continue to grow, and I will surely be a major element of the disruptions we’ll witness.

In the last few months, an fascinating trend has been observed. Consultancies are now responding to the need of more flexible and flexible model for delivery. The “manager and 2” model appropriate for certain scenarios. Clients require more long-term engagements usually for less intensive durations. Since the work becomes more functionally-based as well, it becomes integrated within the business. In this way, things will be moving more slowly. The delivery process is no longer viewed as a buy-in from the over and it’s about delivering changes to these areas of operation, which is always taking longer to fully integrate.

Two interesting trends have been observed within consultancies that are looking to provide greater flexibility:

Flexible employment. The best companies in strategy are seeking creative ways to retain their top talent. We’ve had many interesting discussions on the ways in which consulting firms can become more flexible. This is in order to prevent the loss of top talent due to the changing lifestyle. If the three-day work week or the 7 month with 5 months off models are more popular it will be interesting to find out.

Freelancer pools. We’ve seen strategy firms plan to launch “surge capacities”. We’re currently working with seven strategy firms to assist them in helping to create “freelance groups”. These are pools made up of strategy consulting alumni who have become freelancers. This lets these firms more effectively manage their utilization, however, it also allows them to offer more flexible ways of service to their clients (i.e. longer-term, more long-term; low contact). This is traditionally difficult to provide without the size of Big 4.


Consultancies have grown rapidly over the last two decades. In the process, the percentage of work that is considered classic strategy has steadily decreased and now is around 20 percent, a drop from 60-70 percent just 30 years ago, as per Tom Rodenhauser, the managing director of advisory services at Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory (Consulting on the Cusps of Disruption HBR). If the strategy consulting firms are to remain at their current size they must be innovative to maintain this non “classic-strategy” fringe.

Consulting is on the verge of change for the past two years. While there are definitely developments in the works, we believe that this is only the beginning. We expect to see a further detachment of the center by more specialized firmsas well as the continuing consolidation of larger companies. We are also anticipating freelancers to grow and take on the work that is more peripheral from the larger consulting firms.

But, for us, the biggest change that is required is greater flexibility in the delivery. Customers’ needs have changed. While steps are being taken to expand beyond traditional consultants There is a need for more ingenuity. Consulting has to shift away from the role of smart people solve problems and embrace greater technology and the capability to offer products for their clients that offer solutions to their issues.

Strategy consultancies may keep their position in the “periphery” (non-classic work on strategy) They have grown in the last decade, by offering “products” that benefit their clients for the long run. Strategies can be provided in the form of smaller projects that focus on solving difficult problems. Due to the rapid growth of innovation and the many startups that are in the field Expect certain acquisitions in not too distant time. Consultants will begin to view the latest innovations not just as high-margin delivery systems, but as vital to their ability to provide top-quality guidance.