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Management consulting firms work across a wide variety of industries and are always looking for ways to offer new services and increase business. In order to serve today’s technology savvy customers and employees, it is more important than ever for companies to adapt their processes to accommodate quickly changing markets.

As businesses are continuing to get more and more competitive, firms need to ensure they are in tune with the latest technology trends in order to maintain a competitive advantage. Read on as we break down the top technology trends in management consulting today.

Automation and AI

When looking to improve efficiencies, the first step in management consulting should be automating and streamlining any and all processes you can. Why wouldn’t businesses have a machine do the same job as a human employee if it can be done at a quicker pace, cheaper rate, and more accurate level? This does not replace the need for human workers, but elevates the roles allowing the employees to either focus on complex tasks that require more brainpower or the human touch. An example of this would be incorporating chatbots in customer service. It would allow actual representatives to spend time dealing with more complex issues which could ultimately add to the user experience.  Automating repetitive processes in your management consulting can free you up your valuable time allowing you to reach more clients.

It’s likely you come in contact with some version of artificial intelligence multiple times a day, whether it be asking Alexa to play music or answer a question, receiving search suggestions from Google based on previous inquiries, or consulting Google Maps as you try to determine the optimal route to take in getting to a destination. AI can be summed up as intelligent machines that have been designed to work and react as humans – having capabilities such as speech recognition, learning and planning, and problem solving. AI has only scratched the surface as far as its capabilities with machines stringing together a series of AI functions giving the feel of computers acting as if they are human. Instead of being the science fiction of our past, AI will provide a more efficient way to connect with clients, gather data, and make well-informed decisions for the future.

Many management consulting firms have seized the opportunity to use AI to their advantage, and a few big-name firms have launched entire programs and divisions dedicated to AI and analytic solutions. More and more management consulting companies are increasing use of automation and AI which is providing firms the ability to help more clients improve productivity, lower spending costs, overall design new growth opportunities.

Blockchain

Blockchain, which is commonly associated with Bitcoin, is a secured, public database that can be likened to an accounting ledger – it is a place where transactions occur and can be recorded.  Any industry that is dependent on large amounts of records needing to be accessed and exchanged will see disruption from blockchain making banking, real estate, healthcare, and the government at the head of the line.

Just as all companies look for ways to grow and expand their audiences, management consulting firms need to be on the cusp of strategic offerings and in tune with new technologies. Blockchain offers new advantages for management consulting firms to examine. According to Forbes, “The security is built into a blockchain system through the distributed timestamping server and peer-to-peer network, and the result is a database that is managed autonomously in a decentralized way.”

Faster, more secure financial transactions, the ability to establish an identity, and a more efficient way to establish contracts are just a few of the advantages management consulting firms are able to offer through blockchain. As blockchain eliminates the need for intermediaries in a given process, transactions are able to be recorded and completed much faster. Accenture recently touted the future of this technology as, “Blockchain will supercharge artificial intelligence and IoT to make everything from supply chains to digital identity management smarter and more secure.”

Data Analytics

Many companies in today’s world use data analytics to draw conclusions and make informed business decisions in an effort to increase revenue, improve efficiencies, and gain a competitive advantage. While there are various data analytic applications that can be tested, the process also has multiple parts, aside from analyzing the actual data. There are many steps involved in collecting, organizing and preparing, and testing and revising the data to ensure accurate information has been obtained.  

As the data analytics process can be daunting, management consulting firms are able to step in and help companies organize the process from the very beginning. Management consultants set the strategy and design the full data action plan. They are also able to interpret technologies based on their business value, and help companies adjust to changing market conditions. When data has been analyzed and new initiatives need to be implemented, management consulting firms will be there to help ensure things run smoothly. As clients continue to make more and more data-driven business decisions, management consulting firms will continue to find ways to improve the data analytics process.

Digitalization

Digitalization has many different meanings and can be interpreted a number of ways, but for those in the management consulting industry, the idea is pretty straight-forward. Digitalization can be summed up as shifting business processes into digital formats in order to increase revenue, improve efficiencies, and provide more valuable opportunities. Clients will expect digital products to remain after the management consulting firm concludes business to ensure an effective business transformation for the future.  Consultants without digital tools will need to build some to attract and maintain their clients, as well as stand out from competitors.

When it comes to defining the digital transformation, Boston Consulting Group says “Leveraging digital technologies is more than just good business—it’s crucial to staying relevant and profitable. Companies lagging in this area risk losing ground to newer entrants and business models that are poised to disrupt markets with innovative products and services.” Digitalization presents a massive opportunity for management consulting firms, but they will first need to rethink their own business models and update their own processes before it will take them anywhere. There is very little information that cannot be located in a quick Google search or by asking Alexa a question these days reinforcing the value for consultants as expertise over knowledge.

Management consulting firms may find it increasingly harder to bring in new clients and maintain existing relationships if they themselves fall behind on technology. Clients have started to become even more selective in who they choose to partner with and will soon start to look for ways to develop and transform digital platforms, grasp the newest technologies and find ways to engage customers and improve the user experience. Developers will need to be brought in on projects alongside the consultants as simply analyzing data and spitting out reports will no longer cut it. Business strategies and methods won’t do the trick – clients will be looking for ways to improve their technology and integrate systems in order to improve efficiencies.

As technology continues to evolve, management consulting firms should do all they can to invest in tech for their futures. By moving agilely with the latest technology trends and being open to constant innovation, they will be able to save themselves and their processes from becoming a thing of the past.