2016 Readers' Choice Survey: Consulting

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2016 Readers' Choice Survey: Consulting

By Lora Cecere, Founder, Supply Chain Insights - 01/22/2016

The consulting market is moving through a major redefinition. With the slowdown in enterprise resource planning deployments and conventional license software applications, the market is rapidly changing. There are many consultants on the bench, and the market has many boutique consultants that are not on this list. Today’s projects are smaller, and more focused on analytics. The consulting market is much more competitive. Most companies use multiple consulting partners. There is a lower level of brand loyalty than there was a decade ago.

Strategy& and Deloitte continue to be the market leaders in trade promotion management. E&Y, Wipro and Accenture are recent challengers. While Wipro and Accenture purchased trade promotion software, both have struggled to deliver a compelling solution. The business models of building software and running a consulting business are just too different. There has never been a successful software product built and maintained by a consulting company, and these recent trade promotion acquisitions are good examples.

Wipro and Cognizant are competing heavily for business process outsourcing engagements. These deals are primarily labor arbitrage plays, but both companies have built strong master data and data management capabilities. Accenture continues to do the best job of cultivating and building market relationships in consumer products driving year-over-year business. In contrast, the turnover at IBM has reduced their presence in the consumer products market.

One of the most advanced consulting companies in analytic capabilities is Infosys. With a strong presence in both retail and consumer products, Infosys’s investments in innovation — new forms of analytics, the Internet of Things, use of non-relational databases, social listing — are paying dividends. While Infosys lacks the strong client management skills of Accenture, they bring new thinking and IT capabilities to help accelerate digital transformation.

Niche players like Clarkston in the United States, and Smartchain, Solventure and Eyeon in Europe are gaining market traction as the business model shifts to smaller projects based on technology innovation. Most of the project hiring is regional, not global and is a function of geographic location.

The consumer products consulting market is changing faster than the consulting models. This shift will favor the smaller more focused vendors. With the shifts in labor, there is less and less business outsourcing. As a result, the Indian firms are forced to redefine their business model. The most successful is Infosys.