Consulting has undergone significant change over the past few years, including noticeable digitalization and a shifting talent pool in 2022. All signs point to 2023 being another period of great change for the industry as a whole.
With continued flexibility and technical adaptation, those in management consulting and other consulting specializations can look forward to steady demand, particularly for remote services, and opportunities to repurpose their expertise in the form of digital products. Widespread smart tech use will support a shift to more niched differentiation, with a heavy emphasis on strategy.
Here, we’ll dive into each of these 2023 consulting trends.
A lot of business owners feel unsure about how the state of the economy will impact them in 2023. Many experienced growth in 2022 but struggled with employee retention and worries about an impending recession.
While the immediate term is marked by uncertainty, the long-term outlook for consultants remains positive. The global business strategy and management consulting market is projected to reach $531 billion by 2029. Even if there are hiccups in the next few years, consulting firms that focus on efficiency now are likely to remain resilient and see considerable returns.
Worldwide economic pressures have increased demand for business expertise, and consulting firms are uniquely poised to help organizations of all sizes overcome this period.
When the world shifted to remote work during the 2020 pandemic, the consulting industry changed drastically. Instead of being face-to-face with clients, consultants were suddenly expected to provide the same level of service from afar. Some businesses have returned to a hybrid or in-person model, but much of their client interactions remain remote.
This distance can present challenges, but it’s also a massive twofold opportunity.
First, consulting firms can continue to cut costs and streamline operations to increase profitability. Applying the funds they used to dedicate to travel to worthwhile investments such as technology implementation and corresponding platform training to get managers and consultants up to speed with the industry’s digitalization can have a major impact on their bottom line.
Remote availability also improves global reach, opening up a wider target market and talent pool for many consulting businesses.
Another benefit of the move to remote services is the fresh potential for many firms to generate revenue from digital assets. During the years when consulting solely took place in person, it was uncommon for firms to offer supplemental resources beyond the scope of a client’s project.
Move over, spreadsheets and slide decks. Now, it’s easy for consultants to create courses, eBooks and downloads to add additional value. Some firms have also started putting together workshops and offering additional coaching to build out a suite of revenue-generating products that keep existing clients coming back and draw in a new online client base.
The scope of consulting services varies considerably by industry — and even by firm — but there’s one facet that’s expected to be universal by 2023: strategy. Consulting clients are seeking more detailed, personalized advice, and the most adaptable consulting businesses have responded.
Because general strategy recommendations won’t cut it, many are turning to technology to generate accurate and meaningful data that can inform strategy advice. Thanks to cloud-based platforms that allow for centralized visibility, specific and accurate data is more readily available. Consulting firms can now use advanced automation and custom reporting to encourage longer-term relationships and benefit from recurring work.
On the client side, the right tech also makes it easier for clients to implement what a consulting firm recommends — think automated emails, streamlined workflows or accurate time tracking.
Since 2020, massive growth in the consulting industry has made generalized consulting more competitive. Experienced business owners have long touted the value of niching down, but that’s not always been the leading advice in consulting. The nature of consulting work has stayed largely consistent.
In 2023, however, positioning your consulting business as specifically as possible — regarding the market you serve, the services you provide or the way you approach consulting — will help set you apart in a growing field. This is one of the smartest ways to protect your business and team from economic unknowns and stay relevant to clients who are encountering the same worries.
Consultants can no longer do what they’ve always done. Just as the business world and industry is changing, consultants have to adapt to be successful.
This year is projected to be a turning point in technological literacy. Three years post-pandemic, businesses are beyond the window in which it was acceptable to still be figuring out the “new normal.” Those who hire consulting firms in 2023 want to know they’ll be given solid advice about choosing the right tech stack and rolling out new platforms.
As the year begins, consider how you’ll improve your team’s skillset. One of the best ways to get your employees comfortable advising on complex tech needs and automation is to get them accustomed to using a powerful platform themselves.
➡️ Need inspiration? We know one consultancy that got it right! Read Tegrita’s story.
What do you think will happen in consulting in 2023? We want to know! Share your thoughts.