2023 Unwrapped: The Consulting Year-In-Review – (Part 3) 2024 Opportunities Are All About AI

January 03, 2024
Kevin Plexico
Sr. Vice President of Information Solutions
The Consulting Year-In-Review – Part 3

As we enter 2024, the consulting industry finds itself at a crucial juncture, with the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) promising transformative changes. Recently, we asked some of the top industry thought leaders to discuss the challenges they faced this year and the opportunities they see for 2024 and the future. Part three of our year-in-review blog series focuses on the top opportunities for growth. Almost all of the consulting experts we talked with saw AI as the top opportunity for consulting firms in 2024 and beyond. Below, we highlight some of their thoughts.

2023 Consulting Year in Review (Part 1: Uncertainty | Part 2: Efficiency | Part 3: 2024 Outlook)

How Consulting Firms are Using AI to Power Growth in 2024 and Beyond

Marcus Quigley, Technology Lead, Environmental Financial Consulting Group, LLC (EFCG):


“Generative AI tools are primed to expedite data analysis, enhancing efficiency, and allowing consultants to focus increasingly on advisory roles.”

– Marcus Quigley, Partner, Technology Practice at EFCG


Marcus Quigley, from the engineering consulting industry, sees AI as a transformative force, predicting efficiency gains and a shift towards advisory roles.

He emphasizes the need to balance AI capabilities and human-driven expertise, foreseeing a significant impact on the industry's competitive landscape. "This shift is not merely a superficial adaptation; it reflects a profound long-term realignment in the role of engineering consultants. The traditional model, which heavily emphasizes manual data collection, processing, and analysis, is giving way to a new paradigm. Here, sophisticated algorithms and machine learning models sift through vast amounts of data at unprecedented speeds, identifying patterns, making predictions, and identifying solutions that would have been insurmountable for human analysts just a few years ago.”

As this change gathers momentum, client expectations will also evolve. Marcus explains, “Clients will no longer seek consultants merely for data processing capabilities but for their expertise in integrating AI-driven insights with strategic foresight." In short, AI won't necessarily take your job, but a consultant who knows how to use AI will.

Marc Lacroix, Partner at RTM Consulting, LLC:


“AI will become an ever-increasing part of every solution customers want to implement. The challenge for consulting is to anticipate what the right use cases are for the work you do and focus on those.”

– Marc Lacroix, Partner at RTM Consulting, LLC


Marc emphasizes the importance of anticipating the proper use cases for AI in consulting. He acknowledges the excitement surrounding AI but also recognizes the need to help customers navigate the changes it brings.

Jennifer J Fondrevay, Founder & Chief Humanity Officer at Day1 Ready™:


“AI is already affecting the consulting business in good and bad ways. The good ways are in improving turn-around time for time-intensive tasks (e.g., research, summary reports, proposal writing).”

– Jennifer J Fondrevay, Founder & Chief Humanity Officer at Day1 Ready™


Jennifer sees consulting firms leveraging AI to improve turn-around time for mundane tasks that can help improve efficiency.

However, Jennifer cautions against the misuse of AI, noting that there could be instances where AI output replaces the advice of trusted advisors.

Tissa Richards, CEO and Founder of Marketing Logix, Inc.


“Many people don't realize that when you use ChatGPT or similar generative AI tools to 'write' content for yourself or your clients, you are sharing potentially sensitive information with a third party.”

– Tissa Richards, CEO and Founder of Marketing Logix, Inc.


Tissa is another leader who offered a cautionary note, emphasizing the need for prudence in adopting generative AI tools. She highlights the risks associated with sharing sensitive information with third-party tools like ChatGPT. A former cybersecurity CEO, Richards underscores the importance of fully understanding these tools before integrating them into business processes.

Although these tools can be incredibly productive, there are potential risks that include the sharing of sensitive information with third-party tools, and respecting client agreements and NDAs.

Luk Smeyers, Founder of the Visible Authority:


“While the exact trajectory of AI's influence on consulting remains uncertain, its growing presence is undeniable. Consultancies must stay informed and agile, ready to adapt to the transformative changes AI might bring.”

– Luk Smeyers, Founder of the Visible Authority


Smeyers paints a dynamic picture of the evolving AI landscape, describing how consultancies are leveraging Large Language Models (LLMs) as 'research assistants.' As we saw in part 2, he stresses the need for adaptability and agility in the face of potentially disruptive shifts in the industry. Smeyers recommends that consultancies stay informed and agile to harness the full potential of AI in the coming years.

Jason Mlicki, Principal of Rattleback:


“Unquestionably, the biggest opportunities in 2024 will continue to be AI While we're probably at or near the peak of the hype cycle, I suspect you'll continue to see lots of demand from clients looking to gauge how ready they are for AI, to build their AI roadmaps and understand how to deploy the technology effectively in their organizations.”

– Jason Mlicki, Principal of Rattleback


Mlicki envisions shifting from mere productivity gains to using AI to unlock future industry growth. "The largest areas of client demand right now seem to be to use AI to improve customer support functions and streamline the work of call center personnel." However, he predicts increased client demand in 2024 and beyond for building AI roadmaps and deploying the technology strategically.

Andy Jordan, President of Roffensian Consulting S.A.:


“AI won't replace people; it will require people to reinvent how business gets done, and that will create a lot of opportunities for the more visionary firms in each consulting sub-sector.”

– Andy Jordan, President of Roffensian Consulting S.A.


According to Andy, the immediate impact is in reducing administrative overhead. "Next will come better insights – overlaying AI on top of data and reporting to identify trends, opportunities, anomalies, etc. that people wouldn't capture." Beyond that, the barrier is going to be the willingness of humans to accept AI capabilities; the technology will soon be capable of doing more than leaders will be comfortable allowing it to do. The opportunities will be significant and limitless – eventually.”

And Speaking of AI and Consulting Growth Opportunities

As we step into 2024, it's evident that AI is not just a buzzword but a force that demands attention and strategic integration within the consulting industry. Experts agree that while uncertainties exist, those who embrace AI with caution, adaptability, and a commitment to ethical considerations will navigate the evolving landscape successfully. You can catch many of the consulting experts featured above in our new On-Demand Webinar: 2023 Unwrapped: A Year-End Review of Consulting Challenges and 2024 Opportunities. You will hear an interactive discussion on top consulting leaders' challenges in 2023, how they tackled them, and the opportunities they see for 2024, including how consulting firms will use AI.

Thank you to our consulting partners who helped with this effort: