Infosys: Top Five Trends for The Future of Consulting

Growth over the past few decades has been primarily driven by transformation. From the dot-com boom bringing businesses online for the first time to companies moving ever-greater amounts of their tools and resources to the cloud, the consulting industry has played a key role in helping develop and execute transformation initiatives that have changed the way we do business.

The acceleration and increased adoption of next generation technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the metaverse has pushed consulting businesses to transform themselves to remain relevant in a changing world. Ravi Nagarajan, Partner at Infosys Consulting, recently shared with CIO magazine five key trends that he believes will shape the consulting industry in the next decade.

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Nagarajan predicts that clients will place growing importance on execution over strategy and select consultancies that can take strategy all the way through execution and deliver on expected outcomes. The numbers back this up, with strategy consulting work making up roughly 20% of business, down from 60-70% of business about 30 years ago.

Technology can be expected to make up the core of any future consulting work, as businesses place greater emphasis on the “how” part of strategy and expect their consulting partners to deliver by using the best combination of next generation technologies to step up their user and employee experience, agility, process improvement, and a host of other critical outcomes.

Consultants can expect clients to demand increasing accountability for the fees they are paying, and potentially tie a part of fees to the outcomes achieved. Currently being used by some consultancies as a differentiator in an increasingly competitive market, it is likely this will become a standard operating model in the future

Boutique firms with specialist knowledge can expect to receive a greater amount of attention from larger firms, who will need to partner with them to leverage their unique capabilities, while still owning the overall transformation accountability.

Last, Nagarajan expects that “work from anywhere” will become a key decision influencer as consulting talent chooses firms to work for. Firms with greater flexibility will be better able to meet the needs of clients who will be less concerned about where the talent is located as long as they’re receiving the right talent at the right value.

As the business environment continues to transform to meet the needs of a changing world, consulting firms can expect to see these trends grow into the mainstream over the coming years, and those that embrace the change will be better positioned to turn disruption into business gains instead of business challenges.