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In a world of instant gratification, how do management consulting services fare?

At MECE Inc., we are constantly learning about the intricacies of management consulting services, firms, client feedback, and how we can improve the transaction to maximize the value left on the table today. One of the leading remarks is that clients are not sure if they are fully reaping the benefits of each project, especially given the fees incurred. Clients have provided this feedback in an array of uncomfortable styles from diplomatic – "there is room for improvement" – to completely candid – "I just can't get rid of them". We understand the sentiments, but were encouraged to dive deeper to solve a problem surfacing slowly but surely for consulting firms. Here we breakdown the societal expectations and the mismatched opportunities.

Instant gratification is has become inevitable

We have thrived on instant gratification for over a decade, and the pandemic accelerated that level of service by engaging contact-less convenience. While these advancements are born out of human needs with varying levels of necessity and luxury, we all know instant gratification has become a standard expectation. However, in management consulting, the services offered are far from that. It typically requires some level of commitment to run the course of the project to secure the benefits. Majority of consulting projects are delivered in phases, but do clients and consulting leaders discuss the journey, the phases, the project length, and the price tag as a whole? In our findings, majority of the clients are unsure they completely understand the entire project lifecycle, and potential benefits staggered through the lifecycle. Over time, the projects have only tacked on length and complexity, and there is an opportunity to unwind such intricacies to drive results faster, maybe from years to months or from months to weeks. That level of simplicity in management consulting projects will fare much better in the coming years. All consulting project buyers responded that knowing the full benefit and price tag will not deter them from purchasing, but they did lean towards projects under a year to be able to budget and track with confidence.

Management consulting projects of the future:

There is much speculation that the management consulting is a declining industry, nevertheless, we find the data points from our research and outside sources that the industry itself is growing steadily, outside of the current economic turbulence. However, the projects that will advance in the future offerings will be different from the past. The theme of instant gratification will lead the way to shorter projects, faster benefit realization, and efficient staffing. Consulting firms will have to be able to bring solutions that can be quickly attainable, and these solutions can be licensed from another company or built in-house with available data. The typical consulting project model with a hockey-stick fee model will be replaced by results based, but that won't necessarily thin the margin. Lastly, the large transformation projects will not completely disappear, but they will begin evolve with similar themes and will be disproportionately reserved for larger consulting firms.

In the interest of keeping this post manageable, we will tackle the feedback on "I just can't get rid of them" for next week. We will deep dive on pursuit process and the missing link that creates the problem.


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MECE Inc. is a platform connecting corporate clients with consulting firms. We work with consulting firms of all sizes to understand their expertise and niche to position for top-of-mind when it meets the client's need. We utilize data-driven approach to provide clients with consulting firms that best meet their need and pair with simplified proprietary RFP process to easily find the team and firm that is best positioned for each need. For more information, contact us at marketing@meceinc.com

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