Threats and challenges faced by consulting firms


There has been constant pressure on consulting firms to embrace the digital side for the last half a decade. However, the past year has driven an entirely new competitive environment that has led consulting firms to adopt digital platforms irrespective of their agendas. What’s driving this trend to the top? There are five threats – or potential opportunities – that consulting firms need to address:

1.    Covid-19 has let firms work with their clients and team virtually. This has led to the dependency on digital platforms exponentially.

2.    Increase in competition as the bigger competition has already set up their digital platforms and offering digital services.

3.    A client’s expectation of a consulting firm to offer digital services as a part of their package.

4.    The increasing demand to leave reusable intellectual property and assets for client use.

5.    Pressures on cost and productivity with increased use of digital tools also require a change to a firm’s internal working culture.

How does going digital help?

The power of digital offers the potential for Consulting firms to become far more agile and responsive – more or less overnight. By digitalising both expertise and execution. What does that mean in reality?

Embracing the power of digital platforms offer consulting firms the strength to become agile and responsive in the quickest way possible. Digitalising expertise and execution have significant benefits. They are:

1.    The ability to use out-of-the-box and proven plans that can be shared across the firm digitally. This allows the best practices to be transferred and followed from one project to another. This, in turn, improves an employee’s productivity and responsiveness.

2.    Enables organisations to collaborate and engage with clients virtually, especially during times when social-distancing rules are in place. This will ensure that the clients feel like they are part of the process and can increase user buy-in.

3.    Digital dashboards enable teams and steering groups to work seamlessly. These dashboards are easy to create and manage. This enables a firm to produce real-time data quickly and effectively. This data lets the firm steer projects to success.

Disruptive technology, new business models and the pressure on the market from global players make it a challenge for consulting firms to stay afloat. And the added pressure from the pandemic causes monumental disarray. Though adopting digital platforms solve some of the issues, more challenges need to be addressed. Those are:

1. Unpredictable market:

The turbulent market has always topped the charts for businesses finding it a challenge. And this time around, the pandemic has only amplified the challenge. The market’s unpredictability has been a challenge for many years, and the firms depended on evolving quickly to find a solution to the facing challenges. With the use of primary interpersonal contacts, firms developed new business for the broad online field. Also, the mergers and acquisitions pop up entirely new business models with a different strategy. To overcome those, the firms need to be always on their front foot and adapt to uncertainties as quickly as possible.

2. Change in buying patterns:

Almost half the management consulting firms are worried about the change in buying patterns of their customers, considering how the pandemic has affected the world. Research shows an increase in online search, social media, and other non-traditional platforms being used to buy services from consulting firms. Even the referrals aspect has undergone changes. Today, people who have never even been to your firm will refer your service to their other people just because of your reputation online. Building a great reputation online through sophisticated content marketing programs and engaging with people on social media helps the consulting firm significantly. The firms who are lagging with adapting to the digital revolution need to be quick on their feet as time is running out.

3. More competition:

Once you go online, you are competing with a large variety of firms - big or small. This means firms that are medium in size and are established in the industry but without a disruptive business model are worried to lose their competitive edge. New technologies are commoditising lucrative services, which is causing firms to feel anxious about their future.

4. AI and automation:

Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are set to engulf management consulting firms and their services. The technology will enable firms to automate aspects of their core business activities or parts of the business, like marketing and sales. Firms that have already adopted these technologies have witnessed higher growth and also found a competitive advantage considering their slow-growing peers. 


Challenging times will always bring significant changes, which is the reality of management consulting firms today. They must adapt to the risks and pressure so they can stay ahead of their competition. They need to adopt new technologies and find new marketing techniques to survive the turbulent market. But such challenges help bring out the best firms from the rest and helps build strong and resilient brands.

Authors Bio:

Rohit Chandiramani is the CEO of London Business Training & management course. Having completed his MBA, not only is Rohit a student of Business and Management, but through his firm has also facilitated the delivery of the subject matter to hundreds of learners over the years. A regular trekker, he likes to scale greater heights in the Himalayas, and in the world of business.

Previous Post Next Post