There are 21 categories in the 2019 MCA Awards: 12 project categories, 5 individual categories and 4 overall awards – Consulting Excellence Firm of the Year, Best New Consultancy, Consultant of the Year and Project of the Year. The descriptions below describe the areas covered by each category and are not intended to be exhaustive. Examples of successful projects can be found by looking at previous award winners.
To mark the MCA’s Year of Disruption, the judges would particularly welcome project entries that evidence of the use of disruptive technology in the delivery of client service and value, especially, though not exclusively, in the Innovation in Digital and Technology and also projects that enhance client productivity.
Project award categories
1. Best Use of Thought Leadership
Demonstration of the impact of an initiative or approach to thought leadership by a consulting firm. The impact could be in developing the capabilities and skills of the firm, launching a new service, supporting excellent client service and projects, stimulating wider debate in management and public policy or in building brand and marketing strength. Judges will be assessing the quality and originality of the thought leadership, alongside evidence of its impact within and beyond the consulting firm.
2. Change and Transformation in the Private Sector
Demonstration of a structured and sustainable transition from a current state to a desired state involving major, sometimes fundamental and far-reaching, changes in how an organisation does things, rather than merely the improved performance of existing processes. This could include organisational change and restructuring, cultural change, Target Operating Model initiatives, fundamental re-engineering of approaches and post-M&A activity.
3. Change and Transformation in the Public Sector
Demonstration of a structured and sustainable transition from a current state to a desired state involving major, sometimes fundamental and far-reaching, changes in how an organisation does things, rather than merely the improved performance of existing processes. This could include organisational change and restructuring, cultural change, Target Operating Model initiatives, fundamental reengineering of approaches and post-merger activity.
4. Commercial Excellence
Demonstration of work that helps clients to improve their value – for instance in their supply chain, through excellence and innovation in procurement and supplier management, outstanding use of financial analysis and risk management (including compliance and regulatory issues), or by implementing new commercial models and/or new business strategies. Entries may focus on the supply chains for goods, services or raw materials, whether globally or locally, including variations of managed services and outsourcing arrangements.
5. Customer Engagement and Marketing
Demonstration of successful engagement with customers through improved retention, increased brand awareness, or increased market penetration. This could be customer strategy, customer service, channel management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), sales force effectiveness, marketing communications, market research, brand management, product development or category/product management.
6. Innovation in Digital and Technology
Demonstration of the successful delivery of a project featuring an innovation in digital or disruptive technology. This could be any aspect of digital strategy including how a business handles the impact of digital disruptors on its business model. Other eligible projects could include IT strategy, IT programme management, the deployment of robotics and/or AI by organisations, hardware/software development and integration, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) initiative, IT testing, data security, wireless and mobile communications, web and internet consulting, management information or business intelligence. The judges are especially interested to see evidence of wholly new approaches to delivering client value using cutting-edge tech, such as AI, automation, VR and AR, big data, drones etc.
Demonstration of successful project work overcoming cultural, regulatory and geographical barriers in any sector or service line carried out in an overseas market. This could be a project carried out by a team of consultants pulled together from around the world to work with the client, or a consulting team working on a project with the client in one or several countries. This category is open to all UK-based consultancies, and, uniquely, to consultancies based in other countries as well. The latter are not able to enter projects that are carried out in the UK or their own domestic market.
8. Performance Improvement in the Private Sector
Demonstration of improvements in the performance of existing business activities in the areas of cost reduction, process design (in manufactures, service provision or support functions), capacity sharing and quality assurance, most frequently deriving benefits in efficiency and positive impacts on the bottom line.
9. Performance improvement in the Public Sector
Demonstration of improvements kin the performance of existing organisational activities in the areas of cost reduction, process design (in manufactures, service provision or support functions), capacity sharing and quality assurance, most frequently deriving benefits in efficiency, delivery of services and positive impacts on the bottom line.
Demonstration of the successful delivery of people-related initiatives. This could be HR strategy and management, leadership, organisational development, pensions/ benefits/ compensation, performance management initiatives, training and development, recruitment, retention and motivation, or talent management.
11. Social and Environmental Value
Demonstration of work that has enabled clients and consultancies to achieve outstanding and sustainable benefits for wider society, including for the natural environment. This category includes sustainability practice and innovation, social investments and community engagement, work with the third sector or pro bono work.
Demonstration of the development of a new strategy, or a major contribution to a critical aspect of a client’s strategic plans and approach. This could take place in the context of work on corporate strategy, corporate recovery and turnaround, business strategy, market analysis and strategy, mergers and acquisitions, policy formulation, shareholder value creation and management or corporate venturing. It could also include exercises such as scenario planning and future-proofing carried out to test organisational resilience. The consulting firm must demonstrate a positive impact on the strategic assumptions, goals or strategic preparedness of the client organisation.
Individual consultant categories
13. Young Consultant of the Year
This Award recognises exceptional performance in any service line by an individual who has been a consultant (with one or more firms) for less than 5 years and is under 35 years of age.
14. Team Leader Consultant of the Year
Individual consultants may enter who can demonstrate exceptional performance in building and leading project teams of consultants, and working effectively with clients in that role.
15. Thought Leader Consultant of the Year
This Award is open to consultants in any service line who have made a significant personal contribution to thought leadership in their specialist field. This might be in the form of research papers, blogs, engagement in management and public policy debates or contributions to a wider understanding of the role and value of consulting itself.
16. Innovation Consultant of the Year
This Award will recognise an individual consultant who has demonstrated exceptional performance and effectiveness in the advancement of the application of new technologies, methodologies and approaches in business.
17. Outstanding Achievement
Consultants may enter who can demonstrate significant and sustained achievement over a number of years in their chosen field of consulting. Successful candidates are likely to be able to provide evidence of strong client support, major impact within their own firm and their individual commitment to the principles of Consulting Excellence. Judges will be looking for consultants who have made a significant contribution to the success of the consulting industry and its development through the quality of their work and individual approach.
18. Consulting Excellence Firm of the Year
Demonstration of commitment to and understanding of the practical implications of the Principles of Consulting Excellence. Judges will be looking for evidence of exemplary and high standards of consulting practice, including in Ethical Behaviour, Client Service and Value and Professional Development. Finalists are likely to be able to demonstrate wide support within their firm for their approach, and judges will be particularly interested in innovative and recent firm-wide initiatives that further this support and develop good practice. Wherever possible, winning firms are likely to be able to provide measurable recent evidence and validation.
Consulting Excellence is the hallmark for quality in the consulting industry. This category is only open to Member firms and reflects the step change in consulting quality
19. Best New Consultancy
This Award is open to all consulting firms which have been operating for less than 10 years.
The consultancy must demonstrate their client focus, delivery excellence, commitment to their people and operational excellence via a presentation to the judging panel.
20. The Times Consultant of the Year
Judges will select a winner who has demonstrated the most exceptional performance from the individual category winners.
21. Project of the Year
Judges will select a winner from the project category winners which has demonstrated exceptional performance in any category.
The MCA reserves the right to alter these categories or to re-allocate entries between categories once the closing date for entries has past. Entered firms will be consulted if the MCA decides to do so.