With companies focusing on growth and digital initiatives across many industries in Italy, the consulting market recorded revenue growth of 4.3 per cent to reach a market value of €1.2billion in 2016. This was despite another year of low economic growth in Italy, demonstrating that the consulting market has the resilience to perform well even in a challenging environment.

These findings are revealed in a new report from Source Global Research, the leading research and strategy firm for the global management consulting industry. The report also found that 2016 saw the price pressure that has plagued the Italian consulting market in recent years finally begin to abate among most client groups, with average rates increasing for the first time in many years. The report says that this is partly thanks to growth being back on the agenda for many clients, and partly because of a growing appetite for consulting among mid-market clients.

Digital investment picked up significantly in 2016, with greater and more varied demand for consulting support. In line with this, clients’ expectations of consulting began to change, with a noticeable shift towards implementation and an expectation of tangible results on each project.

The manufacturing industry was the fastest-growing consulting market in Italy last year, with revenues up almost 9 per cent from 2015. Financial services, retail, and technology, media, & telecoms also saw good levels of demand for consulting support.

Technology was the fastest-growing consulting service line in Italy in 2016 because of the shift towards the implementation of digital solutions.

Alastair Cox, Analyst at Source Global Research said:

“Digital and growth initiatives really have had a positive impact on Italy’s consulting market, but we have found that the traditional consulting model is under increasing pressure, and this is driving new ways of working. One example is the creation of innovation centres as a means of developing and testing new, innovative concepts. Another is a shift to an asset-based or subscription model, whereby scalable digital solutions are created and become reliable revenue streams.

Some firms are also forming ecosystems that include other professional service providers in a bid to offer their clients the highest-quality end-to-end services.”

The Source report found that technology firms experienced the strongest growth of any firm type in 2016, bolstered by their digital credentials. Accounting firms—a group that includes the Big Four—enjoyed a better year than they saw in 2015, thanks to their focus and investment in digital. Strategy firms also performed well, with higher levels of M&A activity and clients’ desire for growth strategies boosting revenues.

Ottorino Capparelli, Country Manager-Italy, RGP, added:

“The Italian market is a market with a high degree of fragmentation, so we have a few very big consulting firms that keep going at a good pace and a number of small or mid-sized firms that are growing right now but have a harder time of it. There's a big difference between the top five, six, or even 10 firms and everybody else.”

The Source report says that consultants are hopeful that 2017 will prove a similarly strong year, with further demand for digital and growth-related initiatives providing good levels of growth.

For more information on Source reports contact alice.noyelle@sourceforconsulting.com or telephone +44 (0)20 3178 6443 or visit www.sourceforconsulting.com.

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