6 Industry Trends That Can Help Increase Your Consulting Firm’s Growth Potential

November 15, 2021

According to Accenture, over 76% of companies are investing in emerging technologies. While technology can provide firms with unprecedented project visibility, it can also help teams collaborate and work to their full potential. This model increases customer satisfaction and ultimately helps to deliver higher-quality projects. Technology combined with the right expertise can help unlock new markets and increase your consulting firm’s growth potential.

Learn more about what research reveals regarding today's emerging trends and how consulting firms are adjusting to the demands of the industry:

1. Expanding Possibilities for Artificial Intelligence

The Hinge Research Institute discovered that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the top must learn technology trend for high-growth firms. Although AI is not new, in 2021 it became more of a focus for consulting firms as they sought to increase market share and capitalize on an emerging trend. There is good reason to believe that opportunity will continue to grow.

McKinsey also found in their Automation Survey, only 55 percent of institutions believe their automation program (leveraging AI) has been successful to date. Furthermore, a little over half of those survey respondents said their programs have been  more challenging to implement than expected. Given these statistics, this leaves plenty of room for consultancies with the proper expertise to capitalize on this growth area.

2. Rising Demand for Internet of Things (IoT)

Linchpin, a digital marketing agency, recently revealed that over eight billion devices are connected to IoT are in circulation, and that number is expected to grow over 40 billion by 2027. Many of the large consulting groups have implemented an IoT practice in the last few years to support this trend. This increased connectivity represents a huge opportunity for all consulting firms. 

Industry analyst, AI Multiple, advises that consulting firms wishing to compete in the IoT space should become fluent in the following skills:

  • Embedded software development
  • IT Security
  • Field Gateway programming
  • User experience (UX & UI)
  • AI and Data Analytics

3. Leveraging Big Data & Analytics

According to analytics platform provider Sisense, 49% of companies are using data analytics "more or much more" than before the COVID-19 crisis. With the rise of Big Data and IoT, the demand for better analytics has become a major trend across many industries. Some firms see big data and analytics as a threat, with dashboards and reports effectively replacing consultants. However, this trend predicts to create more jobs than it does to dissolve them.

While big data applications assumingly crunch numbers more accurately than people, humans are still needed to decipher the results and attribute meaning to the data. In addition, the design, implementation, training and ongoing support will need to be handled by specialized teams, leaving room for opportunity.  


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4. Innovating with Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is best known for enabling cryptocurrency, but there is much more to it than that. Added security is a key feature of blockchain, as it helps create decentralized systems for recording and documenting transactions. Beyond the financial arena, blockchain can be useful for a variety of industries and solutions including:

  • Security & Identity Management
  • Smart Contracts
  • Cross Border Payments
  • Creating More Efficient Supply Chains

According to IBM, demand for blockchain expertise rose almost 2000% last year. As that demand for blockchain expertise continues to rise, so does the opportunity for consulting firms to capture new market share.

5. Investing in Cybersecurity 

The evolution of technology has opened up many opportunities in the consulting industry, however, that opportunity comes with added security risks. The anticipated growth of smart devices, 5G, edge computing, and artificial intelligence promises to create even more data, connected nodes, and expanded attack surfaces. Ensuring private information remains private is a top priority across all industries, especially after many companies shifted to a hybrid-workplace model. In their, 2021 Technology Trends, Deloitte offers six cybersecurity areas that firms will need to focus on.  These include:

  • Data discovery and classification
  • Asset discovery and attack-surface management
  • Configuration and patch management
  • Identity and access management
  • Third-party risk management
  • Logging and monitoring

These areas represent huge opportunities for consultancies in 2022 and beyond.

6. Transitioning to a Hybrid Workplace

The shift to a hybrid workplace has created many new challenges around security, visibility, and connectivity. Many of these challenges will be addressed through new technologies and the efficiencies and insights they can bring. Consultancy.uk noted, “without the barriers of time zones and travel limitations, traditional models will shift to on-demand consulting services at scale” —necessitating the deployment of staff from any location into any project based on skill needs and availability.

Keeping in front of this curve will require digital transformation initiatives beyond simple video conferencing and collaboration tools. Firms will need to create interactive and immersive mediums to help keep employees engaged, track resource deployment, and analyze company performance across multiple clients and projects.

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In Summary

While keeping up with technology trends is key in today’s market, consulting firms who are looking to gain a competitive edge need to consider implementing a project-based financial management or enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. When implemented correctly, consulting firms can better allocate resources, improve budgeting, increase collaboration, and identify project risks - all leading to more successful engagements and happier clients.

To learn more about these and other innovative technologies visit Deltek.com and be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest trends, technology and issues shaping project-based businesses.