Thursday, January 28, 2010


Recently, I read three different WSJ articles that all made me think of the changes in the consulting industry. The first article, The Campus Consultant is about the growing numbers of companies that are using professors from University Executive Education programs instead of hiring consulting firms to assist them in assessing the best path forward for the company. The second article, Interim Managers Take Longer Roles is about the growing numbers of companies that are using interim managers for longer periods of time and for a wider variety of projects and purposes. The third article, SAP Sees Return To Growth covers SAP beginning to see top line growth in both software and consulting services.

Many years ago, the consulting industry learned how to work cooperatively with the major software vendors to serve clients. Although neither party particularly likes to work together, they were forced to do so by the market. Interim managers has, until now, been the province of the restructuring and bankruptcy consulting firms not a service of the large multi- service firms. Strategy work has largely been the property of the boutique strategy firms, although all the large multi-service firms have some offering. The Universities always had professors doing some strategy consulting work but they were not a major competitor to the large firms.

The large firms have learned to team and partner with the software firms, as noted earlier. The future will require them to significantly expand their teaming abilities. With the number of retired executives expected to grow dramatically over the next few years, there will be countless numbers of qualified semi-retired executives that companies can hire on a project basis. The multi-service consulting firms would be smart to begin now to expand the types of services they offer through teaming arrangements rather than only by their full time staff. The should have a stable of semi-retired executives available and a relationship with a University through its executive education programs.

What about your industry? What changes do you need to consider?
Until Next Time,

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