A large part of this owes to the irreversible changes wrought in the business ecosystem by two big events of 2022—a fuller understanding of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the meteoric rise of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain environment. This article looks at the key consulting industry trends that will shape the industry in 2022 and how consultants can make the best of the challenges ahead.
Consulting industry trends for 2022
Taking The Digital Turn In Consulting
The future is digital. Starting with 2022, it is set to become even more so. Consulting was one domain that relied to a great extent on the proverbial personal touch. It was standard practice for consultants to visit a client’s site to get a better feel of their processes before coming up with a solution. It is clear now that this practice is becoming increasingly unfeasible. Instead, the future is going to be more reliant on virtual platforms, distributed teams, and remote, rather than on-site consulting.
The multi-sourced and crowdsourced consultant selection process
For a long time, consulting was an old boys’ club. Your networks from business school and who you knew professionally often decided who your firm chose as the consultant. With hiring and selection now increasingly moving online, more firms are leveraging the power of technology to match their requirements with pools of freelance and niche consulting firms, rather than picking out one large firm with an established reputation. The benefit to the client is in the form of faster turnaround times and lower costs, as freelancers and smaller firms undercut the competition to remain competitive.
This follows directly from the previous point. With freelancers and boutique firms offering no-frills services with reduced turnaround times at much lower costs than established firms, the margins of the larger firms would be hit. This is a disruptive shift that will force global consulting firms to implement more cost-effective solutions. This consulting industry trend has the potential to be a redistributive force, allowing smaller firms to match up to the large global players with far greater resilience than ever seen before, altering the face of the consulting industry as we know it.
Focus On Restructuring
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the manner in which we live our lives, and consequently, the way firms do business. This has led firms to contemplate identifying their core and non-core activities and focusing on the latter. Merger and acquisition strategies of firms are similarly shaped by this same strategy, with non-core activities increasingly being outsourced. This structural re-engineering will also create demand for change management and upskilling the workforce to deal with the changing ecosystem. Consulting firms that specialize in these twin domains are likely to witness increased demand from clients going forward.
Technology To Drive Business
This is one consulting industry trend that has been gaining momentum for a long time. In 2022, it is expected to cross over from being a trend to being the norm. Tech firms have emerged as the clear leaders in the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak and are expected to continue to be the drivers of global recovery. This will translate into more strategy- and operations-oriented business for consulting firms as technology-driven companies seek to leverage the changed market scenario to their advantage.
The Rise of Blockchain Consulting
Cryptocurrencies have been the other big story of 2022. As blockchain becomes the bedrock of businesses and processes of the future, more businesses are engaging consultants to advise them on the potential use cases, business values, and risks associated with blockchain adoption, along with the best strategies for its implementation. This is expectedly to lead to two emerging consulting industry trends—the hiving off of blockchain consulting from tech consulting and its emergence as an independent division in major consulting firms, and the rise of boutique blockchain consulting firms staffed by crypto experts that are focused only on blockchain implementation in businesses. Either way, it appears blockchain consulting is here to stay.
Staying Ahead Of Consulting Industry Trends
Knowledge is power, and no one understands this more than consultants. This is why Knowledge Partners focus on arming consultants with cutting-edge research that provides consultants with clear foresight into their domain. Most of these partners are built on the three pillars of technology, research, and data expertise. This means that they specialize in seamlessly integrating knowledge gleaned from analytics data enabled by technology. Leveraging the power of our proprietary in-house technology solutions, they excel at providing data-driven solutions to consultants that allow them to stay ahead of the curve in times of paradigmatic shifts like the present.