5 keys to success for consulting firms in the fourth industrial revolution

Although the consulting industry continues to enjoy steady growth year over year, many market analysts agree that we’re headed toward a decelerating trajectory due to two major problem areas: slow firm adaptation to technology and outdated business practices. But industry experts agree that modernization — specifically the adoption of client relationship management software — can help consulting firms stay ahead of the pack

A number of challenging market conditions pose problems for the consulting industry:

  • Changing client behavior: Clients have become increasingly more demanding as they call for fixed fees that provide a deeper level of transparency on work and costs. Consequentially, clients prefer to shop around for consulting services and to spread the engagement scope and tasks between several different firms.
  • Waning profitability: Clients are also demanding better engagement value through lower pricing, which is squeezing the profit margins of many consulting firms. This is forcing firm leaders to recalibrate business models, despite a growth in overhead costs due to a talent crunch. Firms are looking for more efficient ways to manage operations and engagement costs.
  • New competition: New players are entering the consulting industry, particularly boutique firms that can expertly handle certain types of engagement tasks. These new entrants use the latest digital technologies and consulting CRM software to deploy services much more cost-efficiently.
  • Data breaches: Clients are worried about their sensitive data being held at consultant firms. This strategic information — such as data from mergers and acquisitions, sales and marketing, and personnel data — is a target for hackers and data breaches. Clients demand firms use the highest level of security in their systems.

Five Keys to Success for Consulting Firms

So what can a consulting firm do today to continue the trajectory of growth and prosperity in spite of these challenging market forces? The short answer is that the fourth industrial revolution allows professionals to leverage smart-technology investment to propel our firms to compete smarter and faster.

  1. Win more business by leveraging data intelligence, automation, and AI

  • Understand how your business is performing using data analytics (e.g., total cost of delivery, payment for all billable work, adherence to contractual obligations)
  • Leverage AI and intelligent automation of consulting services to enable fewer people to do more work, especially more mundane activities
  1. Improve efficiencies by driving down the cost of services delivery with smarter work allocation and process automation

    • Eliminate or reduce phone calls, meetings, and emails, by driving operational efficiencies via an automated integrated system
    • Utilize fewer people to do more work
    • Support talent retention by ensuring your fee earners add value and handle strategic work instead of manual tasks or busy work

  1. Maximize realization by reducing write-downs and write-offs while ensuring compliance to client requirements

    • Use automated terms management to ensure you’re adhering to all agreement requirements
    • Add automated time entry, time capture, and billing integration to ensure you’re getting paid for all billable hours
    • Create clear narratives outlining who’s doing what work, for how long, and at what cost, to help better understand the total cost of delivery and ensure profitability on future efforts
  1. Manage consulting compliance and risk by protecting your firm’s sensitive data and brand

  • Be sure you’re doing business with the right clients from a regulatory and strategic perspective
  • Use risk score-carding to ensure you don’t onboard clients that aren’t aligned with your corporate objectives and priorities
  • Let automation advise you when there are client issues from a regulatory or strategic perspective

  1. Drive client success by deepening your relationship with clients and partners through consulting client relationship management software

  • Understand the people and companies your firm knows and what their relationships are with prospective clients by analyzing your captured data
  • Keep appraised of key contacts, their jobs, and any new roles and changes
  • Capitalize on your team’s skillsets so you leverage the right team members to successfully deploy and complete engagements

Innovative client relationship management software enables all of these initiatives, helping you do much more with considerably less. Smart automation is key to maximizing realization, lowering operational costs, enhancing data security, and winning more business through better client relationships.

Learn more about how OnePlace for Consulting can help your firm improve efficiencies by driving down the cost of service delivery: