Capgemini has just released key findings from a research project aimed at identifying the fundamental changes taking place in the global consulting market. The survey ("The Voice of the Customer") sheds light on two critical issues:
i. areas where clients perceive consulting firms need to change and adapt
ii. types of assignments for which clients are likely to hire consultants in today's market
As part of the launch of these results, the company also confirmed that its name has now changed from Cap Gemini Ernst & Young to Capgemini. This follows an agreement at the time of the purchase of Ernst & Young's consulting practice that "Ernst & Young" would be dropped from the company name Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.
Areas where clients perceive consulting firms need to change and adapt
Capgemini's research illustrates that the consulting industry continues to undergo considerable change, with the shift now being driven by clients. Clients highlighted five key areas where they believe the industry needs to change in order to thrive:
Talent – clients perceive a decrease in consulting talent below the senior level, meaning firms will have to re-focus on hiring the best and also better communicate that they hire only the best.
Communication – clients see consultants as more often being in the "telling" mode rather than listening, resulting in a tendency to introduce pre-ordained solutions.
Objectivity – clients value a consultant’s ability to offer an objective perspective, but often consultants start identifying too closely with the client’s culture and lose perspective.
Reality – clients are looking for solutions that are achievable and perceive that recommendations are often too optimistic or complex.
Goals – clients want value, consultants want profit... consultancies need to present their services in a way that unites these goals so that clients and consultancies are seen as collaborating / partnering rather than having a client-customer relationship.
The overall conclusion of this part of the research work is that clients want consultants that work in a collaborative manner. Responding to this challenge, Capgemini has formalised its approach in "The Collaborative Business Experience", defining the way in which Capgemini works with its clients, employees and partners and focusing employee attention on the many intangibles that make the difference in achieving tangible results (a collaborative approach, shared goals and simpler, more effective processes).
Expanding on the reasons for developing such an approach, Capgemini Group CEO Paul Hermelin added:
"Given that almost a quarter of the respondents said 'collaboration' was a key criteria for them, future success in our industry will be defined by how collaborative you are. This is a clear step change for the consulting industry"
Types of assignments for which clients are likely to hire consultants in today's market
Alongside the perceived shortcomings of consultancies in addressing clients' needs, the other compelling results to emerge from the research are the buying signals that clients gave regarding current drivers for buying consulting services. Findings included: Clients cited revenue growth and cost containment as their two current top priorities, with improved IT effectiveness as the third priority. These are likely to be the focal areas for successful consulting bids. Regulatory and security issues whilst currently low priorities are high on the list of future challenges, so issues which consultancies should position themselves to be able to address. Almost all executives highlighted some kind of delivery failure as their biggest concern in hiring external consultants. Loss of key personnel, recovery from error and budget overruns also featured in their concerns.