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The Future of Consulting

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By Ismail Amla

Disruption. As consultants, we love to talk about how radical technology shifts are disrupting everything—the markets we work in, the clients we work with and the world we live in. But what about consulting itself? Surely our industry is facing massive disruption with the introduction of technology platforms, like Hourlynerd and Experfy, which are connecting highly skilled individuals with companies using a whole new model. Will the birth of the Gig Economy mean the death of generalist consulting?

 

Future Customer

In order to understand the future of consulting, we have to think about the future customer and the future client. Fast forward and imagine opening your eyes in the morning and your Smarthouse, using advanced biometrics to sense you’re awake, begins to hum to life. Heat purrs, coffee brews, lights adjust, music plays. The morning news appears as a hologram, hovering at just the right height over your bed, allowing you to thumb through stories with each virtual swipe.

In natural language, you rattle off endless asks to a virtual digital assistant, and expect accuracy, and creativity, back. What’s the weather going to be? How’s the traffic? Where are the kids? ‘Susie and Joe are safely on the bus on the way to school. Don’t worry—I reminded them to bring jackets, because it is going to be cool this afternoon.’ Great. ‘Oh and by the way, you’ve been offered a discount on that SUV you’ve been looking at. Partnerships the manufacturer has with Auto Lending and Insurance providers have made the package much more attractive.’ Thanks.

In order to understand the future of consulting, we have to think about the future customer and the future client. Click To Tweet

So yes, whether it’s insights on health, advice on finances or recommendations on a car—the customer of tomorrow will want complete information delivered beautifully and with ease. But that’s not all. He/she will expect suggestions that offer the absolute best option for them, personally, taking into account pretty much every aspect of their lives. The fact is that the ability to unite, analyze and share unfathomable amounts of information is, for the first time, allowing service providers not just a means to generate revenue—but the ability to make people’s lives better—and the customer of tomorrow will settle for nothing less.

Smart start-ups know this. Many FinTechs are basing their business models on the economic concept of holistic financial health. In FinTech economics, or ‘FinTechonomics’, the ultimate goal of a Financial Service provider is to contribute to the financial health of consumers, and to improving their lives. This in turn creates the opportunity to sell additional financial (and other) services to grow customer loyalty. In this age of explosive data and transparency, if you are not providing your customer—retail, wholesale, corporate or commercial—the optimum solution that contributes to their overall health, they will leave for someone who can.  It’s called disintermediation and it’s changing the industries in which we work.

Future Client

Delivering this level of service is no small feat. To succeed, our clients must take into consideration all aspects of a customer’s life in real-time, and digitally deliver a stream of contextual and relevant services. To . . . Continue Reading at Consulting Magazine

Ismail Amla is Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services, North America, IBM’s professional services division and the world’s largest consulting organization. In this capacity, Amla sets the strategic direction of the GBS team—the first cognitive consulting practice—as it engages with corporations, government agencies and educational institutions.

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