Consulting – Impact of Economic Downturn

In the backdrop of recent economic crisis that has enveloped the globe, one of the key questions doing the rounds in every circle is – “when would things be back to happy times”. I would certainly not hazard a guess in an attempt to answer the question; however, I would like to share my views on the probable impact of this deep crisis on the management/business consulting industry around the globe.

I would attempt to explain the possible outcome at two levels – short term and long term.

In the short term there could be some slowdown of consulting opportunities in specific industry segments, namely those industry segments that are more adversely impacted by the downturn.

However, in my view the bigger impact could be on the long term landscape of management / business consulting services. This landscape had been redefined globally in the past by two major landmarks – IT majors entering the consulting services space through bought-outs, and reorientation of Big Five consulting business. In my view the current crisis could also go a long way is reshaping this landscape once again.

Risk assessment, identification and mitigation have for sometime been high on the priority list of most organizations worldwide. Increase in number of compliance requirements (‘SOX’, ‘IFRS’, ‘BASEL2′, ‘SIFY’, etc.) combined with service offerings in this space by consulting organizations globally; evidences the high priority placed by organizations on risk assessment, identification and mitigation solutions.

When the management / business consulting industry regains full momentum, demand for delivering consulting assignments that include and address risk management solutions / strategies could be much higher. The appetite for such solutions / strategies would also surface in system implementation services offered by management / business consulting industry. This could imply consulting business being skewed in favour of those who provide these services as an integrated offering. Possibly, churning out system implementations as a commodity would become a thing of the past.

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