As we come to the end of the year, I was just going through the key trends which we saw in the Consulting engagements which we were able to execute for our clients and also some of the requirements which the clients had approached us for or stated when we had approached them. Undoubtedly the key word in 2021 was “reinventing”. All the businesses needed to redefine their Sales and Marketing activities to ensure continued success inspite of the Covid induced brakes. Be it Digitization to enable teams work in a more transparent manner from anywhere to entering new product categories and geographies, the year saw all organization adapting and steaming ahead!
Below is a review of the trends and forces which (in my opinion) shaped the management consulting industry in India in the year 2021.
Continued Digitization drive
One of the results of the Covid-19 on businesses has been the digitization drive and the migration to a largely on-line operations. The need to operate remotely, fast tracked e-commerce, logistics, and all application companies. All companies were forced to enable remote working, enhance online security, implement real time working and collaborating platforms apart from digitization and dashboarding. Almost all industries saw itself change- more data collection, online order talking and deliveries ,sharing, collaboration, online learning, meeting, transparency in data visualization. This trend will only enhance in the year ahead with more growth across Industry verticals.
Focus On Tangible and Quantifiable Results
The many swings co-erced by the environment raising safety alarms while continuing business as usual or growing is expected to continue into 2022. Organizations will expect to see tangible value from their engagement and Consultants would need to enable a more partnering approach. Expectations from Consultants will be to analyse, design and then implement cost-effective solutions, with more expertise focus than a search and find approach. Consultants will need to align strategies with operational realities and work along with their clients so that results are quantifiable in the eyes of their clients.
The uncertainty of the times has reinforced the requirement for strategic thinking for all businesses and think of de-risking their business operations. The clients continue to look for consultants to work on different scenario planning, contingency planning, and a business strategy to include diversification. Clients in the Manufacturing sector do look to entering into strategic partnerships with consultants to deliver next-generation supply management technologies for them (not just going for the usual suspects). Such partnerships require consultancies to better understand Client’s operational processes, personas and prepare process maps not just from an operator’s point of view but also from an application developer’s perspective. Collaborating with innovative application firms, will allow consultancies to provide more flexible and customized offerings to clients.
Remote working is something consultants are used to, but constant market (depending on requirements) visits, was a way to keep abreast of happenings and new technologies and happenings. But this year most teams ended up spending most of their working hours at home, and we do think this remote working will continue into 2022. However, connecting with prospective and ongoing clients remotely requires a fresh approach and, as a result, virtual consulting platforms will likely become widespread in 2022. Due to the pandemic, everyone in the B2B space is trying their best to ensure 100% virtual and digital offering can deliver the same outcomes as physical consulting and training.
Market research to enter new markets (new states or geographies) or launch a new range of products is still as critical as ever but there has been a renewed focus on secondary research, helped with more entities establishing a digital presence due to the covid. This facet saw more emphasis on getting quality research online with primary research being reduced to need basis and on confirmations or expression of interests by the players.