Many industries have been disrupted in the last couple of decades, as demands from customers change and also new services arise. It's no secret that this era is one of the most disruptive and transformative we have ever seen and lived.
Technology has accelerated many things in our daily lives from the speed at which we consume information to opening up the gates to iInteractions across the world with other people. It’s not surprising that the industries that have suffered the biggest disruption have now shown some common patterns that help us identify what the industries are most vulnerable to disruption.
Relatively outdated business practices
Slow technology adoption
One or a few major players
However, management consulting is rarely mentioned or looked at when talking about disruption.
Management consulting is primarily human-driven. Hourly or per diem billing, rather than outcome or value-based pricing, is still the general rule (even as industries like law move away from billable hours). The increasing pace of technological change means that, more and more, consultants’ recommendations are out of date nearly as soon as they’re made.
Consulting, in other words, is inefficient, inflexible, and slow to adapt. Any of these weaknesses alone would suggest coming disruption — possessing all of them points to a major fight ahead.
McKinsey, Bain, and BCG have weathered existential crises before. These consultancies offer a highly brand-driven, prestigious, and hard-to-quantify product to Fortune 100 companies with plenty of cash to spend.
If you dig deeper into the specific types of services that these firms offer their clients today, however, it’s clear that a tectonic disruption is hitting management consulting just as it has hit many other industries before. It may be a slow and gradual change, and the big names may well endure — no matter how thinned their ranks — but a change is coming.