The global consulting market, including operations, management, strategy, IT and HR advisory, has showcased high growth over the past ten years. Initial projections in 2020 suggested that the market would rise progressively through 2023. And, although the COVID-19 global pandemic has certainly dampened the predictions of growth in the professional services sector, the need for consultants is greater than ever right now.
Now, more than ever, clients need help to enhance business performance by evaluating current issues and preparing improvement plans accordingly. Those professional services firms that concentrate on directing organizations to improve operational efficiency and decreasing costs, while identifying new emerging revenue opportunities, will be in high demand. Additionally, an increase in need for cybersecurity to protect businesses from threats is further propelling the growth of that specific market right now.
The months ahead will probably be quite volatile and dynamic. It now appears likely that some places will experience a local resurgence as restrictions are lifted and economies reopen. That will influence countries at the earliest stages. In the United States, currently, there are local discussions about relaxing restrictions, and the most successful approaches there, will inform the approaches deployed nationally in the United States.Even when lock-down restrictions begin to ease, businesses will need to figure out how to operate in new ways. In short, resiliency—the ability to absorb a shock, and to come out of it better than the competition—will be the key to survival and long-term prosperity. One of the key questions facing business leaders is whether their industry will rebound from the economic shock posed by the virus or sustain lasting damage. For consultants, this is an opportunity to provide critical support and help their clients survive, thrive and evolve.
If necessity is the mother of invention—and it often is—there could be some positive outcomes of the coronavirus crisis. One has to do with the human imperative to communicate and those consultants, marketers and advisors that can provide real insight about messaging right now will be in high demand. Similarly, consultants that have learned how to operate remotely and manage flexible workforces—at a high level and at far greater speed–and can provide that learning to their clients, will be highly-valued.
It could be that the decisions made during this crisis lead to a burst of innovation and productivity, more resilient industries, smarter government at all levels, and the emergence of a reconnected world. And, those professional services firms that help organizations to improve operational efficiency, decrease costs, identify new emerging revenue opportunities, increase cyber-security, lead digital transformations, introduce new remote operating systems, help manage flexible workforces, and steward careful communication, will be valued by clients across industries and sectors.
Singhal, Shubham and Sneader, Kevin 2020, The future is not what it used to be: Thoughts on the shape of the next normal, Accessed April 15, 2020 <https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/leadership/the-future-is-not-what-it-used-to-be-thoughts-on-the-shape-of-the-next-normal>