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A portrait of the modern consulting firm

—22 September 2014
—MCA Associate Member Deltek asks how today’s consulting firms are planning for the future?

Staying current and up to date in the market-place is a prerequisite for any modern consultancy firm. As a result, many of you are finding that the current business landscape requires a fresh focus. It’s best to leave the caution and austerity of yesteryear in the past, replacing it instead with a new mind-set that makes the most of today’s buoyant economy.  

With consultancies reporting an increase in both revenues and new business, how are today’s consulting firms planning for the future? And what exactly does it take for you to be a successful, modern consultancy firm in today’s optimistic environment?

What are your core business lifecycles?

Recent research from IDC into the consulting sector tells us that business leaders in consultancy firms are striving to improve in the key business drivers across every department. They are looking to gain next level control across their entire organisation by improving the core operational processes that span the customer, project and employee lifecycles.

But what does improving your grip on these three core processes mean? Getting a handle on the customer lifecycle involves mastering the entire client pipeline, from establishing the most lucrative customers to creating a profitable yet realistic proposal – all the way through to after-service customer care. When it comes to improving the project lifecycles, your modern day consultancy firm should strive at full sight of a job from start to finish and provide your team with the data required in any sound project planning - including resources,  finance, profitability and risk management.

Finally, better managing employee lifecycles involves having full sight of each of your employees' contribution to the bottom line from the day they’re hired to the day they retire. And it also means that you have the tools you need to match skills to projects and retain the best talent.

Analyse your business opportunities – and increase your revenue

But as well as looking inward at your firm’s processes, as a modern day consultancy you need to take a broader look at the industries you are operating in and analyse your business opportunities. Attracting new business through new service offerings is an effective way of capitalising on firms that are experiencing the economic recovery in their own industries.

Tackling operational processes and seeking out new business opportunities may require a new business approach – and both depend on improving your business visibility which will ultimately lead to better decision-making. To improve business visibility, we therefore see modern consultancy firms turning to technology.

Why it is not a sad goodbye to home-grown IT systems

In the past many consulting firms developed their own management IT systems. Today, however, more and more consulting firms are beginning to realise that in-house developed systems are often ineffective, difficult to manage and upgrade, and are not built using current technology. They also know that disparate systems do little to boost efficiency. In response, IDC reports that 73% are turning to Cloud-based industry-specific systems as an accessible route into integrated enterprise resource planning solutions. These can give you a ‘big picture’ view of your organisation so you can measure all your key operational lifecycles and get better insight and control of your entire business.

If your company has left the recession-years firmly in the past and is looking to adopt technology to tackle the current core business issues, then your business is the portrait of a modern day consultancy firm. To be anything else in this exciting new age is to risk losing out on great opportunity. Is your firm keeping up with the times?

Written by Fergus Gilmore, Managing Director, Deltek UK and Central Europe Professional Services.  Fergus has over 20 years’ experience of working in the ERP software industry with extensive experience in both the Private and Public sector.

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