The who, what and how of management consulting keeps changing and stays the same
Managing talent and restructuring and building decarbonization credentials will drive management consulting in 2022
Management consultancies traditionally stood at the top of the IT services pyramid, delivering advice, road maps and business cases for other vendors to follow, reaping the rewards of high margins and brand prestige. Pre-pandemic, disruption upended every business model across the technology spectrum, while consulting appeared to move along, unchanged since the first corporate board listened to advice from McKinsey & Co. In actuality, management consulting had been shifting from slides to software for years, with the pandemic accelerating those changes. The 2021 drivers and trends pushing change included managing and upskilling talent, restructuring to meet new client demands and bring new capabilities to the market, and jumping on the sustainability bandwagon.
A note of caution: Even with all the changes in consulting since the spread of digital transformation, TBR believes most management consulting engagements center on traditional deliverables: road maps, business cases and strategic advice. In recent months, TBR has heard from consultancies and their clients about a resurgence in strategy consulting, perhaps stemming from a post-pandemic push to reorient to the future having made the operational and organizational changes necessary to survive 2020 and 2021.
Concurrently, IT services vendors and cloud and software giants have increasingly pushed into the consulting space, sometimes supplanting established management consultancies engaged in implementations and managed services. TBR does not believe this trend will result in significant management consulting market share being earned by the likes of Microsoft or Infosys, but the large-scale implementation and managed services engagements may include a wider mix of ecosystem partners delivering to the end client. In 2022 the management consultancies that navigate the rough and changing partnering landscape will outperform peers.
2022 management consulting predictions
- Expanded capabilities require expanded skills, leading consultancies to increasingly invest in education
- Restructuring throes and woes will continue to constrain some management consultancies’ abilities to execute consistency
- Sustainability booms for consultancies poised to measure, benchmark and report client’ progress
Telecom Business Research’s 2022 Predictions is a special series examining market trends and business changes in key markets. Covered segments include cloud, telecom, devices, data center, and services & digital.