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This book is a substantial re-write of the author's earlier book on management consultancy that has established itself as a leading book on this topic. This re-write focuses upon the analysis of the impact of e-business on the consulting industry as well as examining the changing structure of the industry and emerging segmentation. It also includes recent material on the efforts of consulting firms to manage knowledge more effectively and includes new and more examples and interviews.



Introduction: Where Are We Now?

1. Introduction: Where Are We Now?

‘E-business changed everything’, said one senior consultant I talked to. ‘We had to refocus everything we did. It challenged who we were and what value we could bring to clients: The late 1990s saw the emergence of a whole new generation of consulting firms — firms like IXL, Sapient, Scient and Razorfish — all of whom were growing phenomenally fast, even by the generous standards of the conventional consulting industry. They were walking through a door thrown open by clients dissatisfied with the level of ebusiness expertise on offer from the majority of their existing advisers. What these clients wanted was in-depth, specialist knowledge of e-business and hands-on, practical experience of implementing e-business ideas. What they didn’t want — and this is what they largely saw themselves getting — were ERP consultants, who’d received token e-business retraining and whose services were little more than a firm’s existing portfolio, with an ‘e’ stuck on the front. ‘Pigs with lipstick’ is how one person put it in retrospect. By contrast, these new firms appeared to offer fresh ideas, a new way of doing things and, above all, a dedicated focus on the new economy.
Fiona Czerniawska

The Changing Structure of Consultancy


2. The Consulting Market: Changes in the Client-Consultant Relationship

The client-consultant relationship is changing fast.
Fiona Czerniawska

3. The Consulting Industry: Segmentation and Performance

How — if at all — has e-business changed the segmentation of the consulting industry?
Fiona Czerniawska

The Strategic Challenges


4. Intellectual Capital: Its Acquisition, Management and Exploitation

Consultancy is the application of intellectual capital from one company to another: as the previous chapter argued, clients have gaps in their intellectual capital and hire consultants to fill them. Being able to supply a never ending stream of intellectual capital is, therefore, central to a firm’s ability to thrive.
Fiona Czerniawska

5. Knowledge Sharing: The Case for Collaborative Consulting

In Intelligent Enterprise, American academic James Brian Quinn argues that ‘the common element among [professional service organisations] and industries is the predominance of managing intellect — rather than managing things — in creating their value added:’ Unlike manufacturing companies that can rely on unique products or technologies, conventional wisdom has it that consulting firms gain competitive advantage largely through their ability to make use of proprietary knowledge. Indeed, access to and ownership of intellectual capital remain, as Chapter 4 reinforced, central to a consulting firm’s success.
Fiona Czerniawska

6. Consulting in the Networked Economy

The previous chapter made a case for consulting firms working together more closely than ever before. But collaboration will not — I’d argue — stop at the conventional boundaries of the consulting industry: once the principle’s established, there’s little to stop consultants collaborating with clients and vice versa — indeed, they are already doing so.
Fiona Czerniawska

7. The Right People: Specialisation and Beyond

E-business may have changed much of the consulting industry, but some things remain the same: the importance of people, and the difficulty of finding (and keeping) the right balance of skills. Or do they? Does the networking environment of the future, and the changing role that consultants will play within it, mean that the industry needs a different kind of person?
Fiona Czerniawska

8. New Organisational Models

In Chapters 5 and 6, I discussed the increasing interconnectivity of the industry, both in terms of links between consulting firms, and between consulting firms and their clients. In Chapter 7, I looked at the ramifications this has at the level of individual consultants, in terms of the kinds of skills and mindset required. But all of these points have implications for the structure of the consulting organisation.
Fiona Czerniawska

9. We’re All Consultants Now

Consultants and clients used to think they were different.
Fiona Czerniawska

10. Globalisation — Panacea or Delusion?

Caught up in the apparent backlash against e-business and — in many cases — with declining revenues from e-business related consultancy, many consulting firms have turned to geographic expansion as a more promising source of growth. Thus, US-based firms, who were the first to feel the effects of shrinking demand, looked to the European market, where the enthusiasm for e-business seemed initially undented. As the cold wind of change moved on, UK-based firms looked to southern Europe for the same reasons, and European firms looked to the Far East.
Fiona Czerniawska

11. Creating the Consulting Brand Experience

I’m constantly amazed when I walk into a bullish new consultancy, confident in its ability to succeed in a market in which so many new entrants have failed, when the founders talk about ‘adding value’ to clients and ‘working in partnership’ with them. Do they really think that there’s something unique in this? Haven’t they read the marketing literature of almost every other consulting firm on the planet?
Fiona Czerniawska



12. Introduction to the Interviews

No To one has a monopoly on the future.
Fiona Czerniawska

13. American Management Systems

American Management Systems (AMS) is an international business and information technology consulting firm that helps clients create value by increasing revenues and market share and by decreasing costs. The firm combines expertise in business analytics, business process design and information technology with a deep understanding of the industries it serves, including financial services, news media and communications, energy, healthcare and US federal, state and local government.
David Yates

14. Andersen

Since being established in 1913, Andersen has enjoyed uninterrupted year on year growth by developing innovative solutions which help people and organisations create and realise value. Andersen offers Business Consulting, Global Corporate Finance, Tax and Legal and Audit and Business Advisory services, with 390 offices in 84 countries and an annual revenue of more than $8.4 bn for the year to 31 August 2000.
John Kerr

15. Association of Management Consulting Firms

AMCF represents leading management consulting firms worldwide. Its membership is diverse: large and small firms, traditional management consultants as well as providers of professional services, generalists and specialists, single-office firms along with multinational organisations. Founded in 1929 as ACME (Association of Management Consulting Engineers), the AMCF remains in the forefront of promoting excellence and integrity in the profession.
Betsy Kovacs

16. Bain & Company

Bain & Company is one of the world’s leading global business consulting firms, serving clients across six continents. It was founded in 1973 on the principle that consultants must measure their success in terms of their clients’ financial results. Bain’s clients have outperformed the stockmarket 3 to 1. With 2,800 employees, headquarters in Boston and 27 offices in all major cities throughout the world, Bain has worked with over 2,000 major multinational and other corporations from every economic sector, in every region of the world.
John Donahoe

17. The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a general management consulting firm widely regarded as the global leader in business strategy. For 36 years, BCG has worked with companies in every major industry and global market to develop and implement strategies for competitive success. Founded in Boston in 1963, BCG now operates in 32 countries and 47 cities around the world.
Philip Evans

18. Cap Gemini Ernst & Young

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young is one of the largest management and IT consulting firms in the world. The company offers management and IT consulting services, systems integration, and technology development, design and outsourcing capabilities on a global scale to help traditional businesses and ‘dot companies’ continue to implement growth strategies and leverage technology in the new economy. The organisation employs about 60 000 people worldwide.
Chris Meyer

19. Deloitte Consulting

Deloitte Consulting is one of the world’s leading consulting firms, providing services in all aspects of enterprise transformation, from strategy and process to information technology and change management. The firm’s professionals help the world’s leading enterprises to create, reinvent and defend their business models by guiding them through the complexities of the evolving digital economy. Deloitte Consulting is part of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, one of the world’s leading professional services firms, providing world-class consulting, assurance and advisory, and tax services through nearly 90 000 people in over 130 countries to nearly one-fifth of the world’s largest companies, public institutions and successful fast-growing companies.
Stephen Sprinkle

20. DiamondCluster

DiamondCluster International, Inc. is a premier business strategy and technology solutions firm, delivering value to clients worldwide by developing and implementing innovative digital strategies that capitalize on the opportunities presented by new technologies. The firm has more than 1100 consultants serving Global 2000 clients in such industries as financial services, consumer and industrial products and services, hi-tech, telecommunications and energy, healthcare and insurance. Headquartered in Chicago, DiamondCluster also has offices in Barcelona, Boston, Dusseldorf, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Sao Paulo.
Adam Gutstein

21. Digitas

Digitas helps companies use technology, data and marketing strategies to connect with their customers across multiple channels. Digitas combines capabilities in digital strategy, technology, creative and integrated marketing to enable Global 2000 and other blue-chip companies connect the right message to the right customer through the right channel at the right time.
Daniel Flamberg, Patrick Rona

22. iFormation Group

iFormation is a company created by the strategy consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group, the technology venture capitalist, General Atlantic Partners, and the investment bank, Goldman Sachs, to carve new ventures out of traditional companies in partnership with the Global 2000. iFormation teams with industry leaders to acquire, develop and build new Internet and technology ventures that leverage the corporate partners’ legacy assets. iFormation’s international network and management generates value for leading companies by emphasising speed to market, core business development and deep technology expertise.
David Pecaut

23. KPMG Consulting

KPMG Consulting is one of the world’s leading management consultancies, specialising in business solutions integration. It employs over 20 000 people in 71 offices worldwide.
Alan Buckle

24. McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company is a management consulting firm that helps leading corporations and organizations make distinctive, lasting and substantial improvements in their performance. Over the past seven decades, the firm’s primary objective has remained constant: to serve as an organization’s most trusted external adviser on critical issues facing senior management. With approximately 7100 consultants deployed from 84 offices in 43 countries, McKinsey advises companies on strategic, operational, organizational and technological issues. It has extensive experience in all major industry sectors and primary functional areas as well as in-depth expertise in high-priority areas for today’s business leaders, such as growth, globalization and the new economy.
Ron Farmer

25. Mercer Management Consulting

As one of the world’s leading corporate strategy firms, Mercer Management Consulting helps leading enterprises achieve sustained shareholder value growth through the development and implementation of innovative business designs. Mercer’s proprietary business design techniques, combined with its specialised industry knowledge and global reach, enable companies to anticipate changes in customer priorities and the competitive environment, and then design their businesses to seize opportunities created by those changes.
João Baptista, David Morrison

26. The Sharma Group

Panna Sharma was Chief Strategy Officer at Atlanta-based iXL, where he was responsible for articulating iXL’s global strategy, identifying growth opportunities in new geographic, vertical and horizontal markets and driving the evolution of iXL’s delivery methodology. As resident visionary on iXL’s leadership team, Panna led the company’s global effort to reinvent professional services for a network economy.
Panna Sharma

27. Razorfish

Razorfish is a global digital solutions provider that consults with companies on business and brand strategy, design and technology, partnering with its clients to increase revenues, reduce costs and enhance productivity to maximize competitive advantage. Its aim is to strengthen an organization’s relationships with its key constituents via the creation of superior user experiences, and its work spans a breadth of platforms, devices and networks — from integration with legacy systems, development of business applications and device-based functionality delivered via broadband, broadcast, web and wireless.
Michael Moore

28. Scient

Scient is an e-business consultancy which uses its extensive ebusiness experience and expertise to reduce cost and create revenue opportunities. Since its founding in 1998, Scient’s only business has been e-business, from strategy development through to implementation. The differentated approach which clients come to Scient for is a blend of strategy, customer experience (branding, fulfilment and usability) and technology.
Charlie Blackburn

29. The Parthenon Group

The Parthenon Group is a boutique strategy consulting firm with offices in Boston, San Francisco and London. The firm has a long history of serving senior executives and CEOs throughout the world on a wide range of issues including corporate and business unit strategy, merger and post-merger strategy, and innovation and strategic growth planning. The Parthenon Group has perhaps best been known for its deep and long-term relationships with a leading group of Fortune 1000 clients and was also pioneering in its fee-forequity business model in its work with select high growth firms.
Anthony Tjan


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