Navigating the Consulting Market: 5 Useful Facts

by | Jan 12, 2022

As an executive in the middle of the consulting sourcing jungle, you already have a taste of the bitter-sweet challenges this adventure can throw at you. Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to find those hidden gems – consultants who are like a well-tailored suit for your projects – experts in their fields with a wealth of experience, and fitting into your corporate culture like the perfect puzzle piece.

But then comes the wild, colorful creature known as the consulting market. It’s a creature of many faces, offering services as diverse as a box of assorted chocolates and catering to many clients. The million-dollar question is, how do you ride this creature without getting thrown off?

Cue the dramatic music because we’re about to drop five golden nuggets of wisdom about the consulting industry that will make your ride smoother. These nuggets will equip you with knowledge about market trends, challenges, and opportunities and, most importantly, help you sidestep those annoying potholes that could otherwise cost you time, money, and street cred.

Whether you’re a consulting sourcing pro or a newbie, these nuggets will sharpen your decision-making skills and help you squeeze every drop of value from your consultants. So, without further ado, let’s get this party started!

How Does the Consulting Market Look Like in Your Region?

Got your business parked in North America? Then high five! You’re chilling in the consulting world’s big league, responsible for nearly half of the global game. The US is where it’s happening, folks.

More consultants than you can shake a stick at, and consulting firms so large they could have their own area codes. And the dollar signs? More than all of Europe combined. We’re talking Scrooge McDuck levels of revenue here.

Now, both North America and Europe are grown-ups in the consulting market. It’s as everyday as your morning coffee. The name of the game here is digitization, innovation, selling your socks off, and revamping tech and operations.

But Europe isn’t just a one trick pony. It’s like a consulting buffet. On one plate, you’ve got Western Europe, mature consulting markets moving at a gentle, unhurried pace. On the other plate, you’ve got Eastern Europe, a less mature consulting market, but one that’s running the growth race like Usain Bolt.

Navigating this diversity of consulting firms in terms of size and offerings can feel like cracking the Da Vinci code. But that’s where the fun begins, right?

Now, if you’re rocking a company in Asia, the Middle East, or Africa, you’re in the fast lane. Particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, the growth rate is setting records, offering a smorgasbord of opportunities for Western consulting firms. Japan and Oceania are the top dogs here, but there are plenty of emerging consulting markets nipping at their heels.

Calling a Spanish-speaking country home? The Latin American region is bouncing back after a series of hits. The big enchilada in this region is Brazil, boasting a diverse and fragmented provider base.

Now, many of the big-shot consulting firms have decided to pack their bags and invest in these emerging consulting markets. But local firms are holding their own, contributing to an industry that’s as diverse as a box of assorted chocolates. The plot twists and turns of this industry make the diversity almost… never-ending. It’s like a great mystery novel you just can’t put down.

Consulting market regions

Know Your Consulting Category

Looking for a consulting partner? You gotta start by checking out what they’re good at and who they typically help. But don’t stop there! Other bits and bobs can really affect what kind of value these smarty pants can bring to your team.

Capabilities and Service Lines:

Think of capabilities like the superpowers consulting teams bring to the party. They’re the services they provide matching up with what you need to get done in your biz. This is like the DNA of consulting work.

We’ve done some serious online sleuthing, hunting through thousands of consulting websites for our Consulting Quest Directory. We’ve seen the whole spectrum, from sleek and professional to, well… let’s say, not so much. But nearly all consultants will showcase their superpowers on their websites and pitches.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s split the Capabilities into seven major leagues, each covering its own set of tasks:

  • Strategy & Management – the big picture thinkers
  • Technology & digital – the geek squad
  • Research, and Development – the innovation wizards
  • Sales & Marketing – the people who make it rain
  • Finance & Risk – the money maestros
  • Operations – the efficiency engineers
  • Human Capital – the people people

Only a select few companies start by focusing on the problems they can solve. But it’s a killer move for consultants wanting to stand out from the crowd.

Industries Served:

This is all about who the consultants work with – the sectors that fuel demand for their services. As you’d expect, demand gets cranked up in sectors facing lots of changes or those sitting on a pile of cash. Here’s a sample platter of sectors you might come across:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts, Media & Entertainment
  • Automotive
  • Aviation, Aerospace & Defense
  • Chemicals & Materials
  • Education
  • Energy & Environment
  • Engineering & Construction
  • Financial Services
  • Health & Life Sciences
  • High Tech
  • Leisure, Travel & Tourism
  • Manufacturing
  • Natural Resources
  • Non-Profit
  • Private Equity
  • Professional Services
  • Public Sector
  • Retail & Consumer Products
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation

How to Pick the Right Consultant for Your Next Project?

To find the best Consultant for your new project, you must understand how the consulting market is structured. Consulting firms come in all shapes and sizes, shaped by their areas of expertise and the industries they serve. From the big players covering a broad spectrum to the smaller, specialized firms, there’s a world of options out there.

Depending on your project’s needs, you can choose from generalists, specialists, or even niche consultants to join your team. But wait, there’s more to consider! Beyond their expertise, other factors impact their style and the value they bring to your organization:

  • Size and Geographic Footprint: How big they are and where they operate can affect their reach and capabilities.
  • Ownership Structure: Some firms follow a partnership model, while larger companies may have more traditional structures with profit and loss constraints.
  • Profile of Partners: Their background will give you insights into their strengths and areas of excellence.
  • Delivery Model: How they handle projects and deliver results is an important aspect to consider in your decision-making process.

The Rise of Internal Consulting

In-house consultants are like the secret weapon to tackle many challenges and make projects shine. Under pressure to find efficient support, executives now turn to these internal heroes, cutting costs and getting top-notch results.

The advantage of internal consultants lies in their lightning-fast grasp of knowledge and expertise specific to their own organization. They may not have external benchmarks, but boy, do they know their company inside-out!

When privacy and trust are paramount, internal consultants step up to the plate, handling sensitive projects with utmost care.

But hey, every coin has two sides! There are pros and cons to both internal and external consultants. It all boils down to your project’s unique needs and circumstances. Play your cards right, and you’ll get the best of both worlds!

In Conclusion: Unleashing the Human Factor in Consulting

As we bid farewell to our journey through the wild terrain of the consulting market, let’s reflect on the vital element that fuels its success: the human factor.

In the ever-changing landscape of global economies and technological advancements, it’s easy to get lost in the data-driven world of consulting. But we must never forget that, at its core, consulting is a human-to-human business.

Finding the right consultants for your projects is akin to discovering those hidden gems that fit seamlessly into your corporate puzzle. It’s about assembling a dream team of experts who bring a wealth of experience and a perfect cultural match.

As we ride the colorful creature called the consulting market, we encounter an array of firms, each with its unique capabilities and offerings. But at the heart of successful consulting lies a commitment to embrace cultural diversity and unite the team around shared goals.

Remember, it’s the people coming together, armed with their talents, expertise, and soft skills, who drive meaningful change and achieve remarkable results.

So, fellow explorers, armed with the wisdom of the consulting market trends, challenges, and opportunities, I hope you are better equipped to conquer this jungle. Harness the power of the human factor, and let it lead you to triumphant project outcomes. Your quest for excellence has just begun!

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Navigating the Consulting Market: 5 Useful Facts

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