Emerging virtual platform for consultancy business

Consultancy business: A brief introduction

Consultancy is a professional practice that offers expert advice within a selected field. A consulting company is a business comprised of industry-specific experts who offer professional advice, guidance, and actionable solutions to businesses experiencing issues they can’t deal with in-house. Consultancy services are provided by an individual or a bunch of people to any problem or situation for adequate outcomes.

The person who runs a consultancy firm or responsible to supply the service of consultancy is termed as a consultant. Consultants are self-employed contract- based professionals who provide services to a range of industries or organizations as required. They are often specialized in a specified field. A consultant working for any company analyzes and observes the operations of that company and provides guidance to overcome the dynamic challenges of the industry. Often companies hire consultants to solve the problems that can’t be managed internally.

Consultancies are present in every industry that exists either knowingly or unknowingly. They all require some sort of advice or guidance in any part of their operations. A good consultancy can help to manage the disruptions inside the business and helps to achieve the pre-set goals.

A consultant constantly learns as time passes. They have to explore the world to observe the activities going in real-time. The job of a consultant is quite challenging and more rewarding. The success of consultants contributes to personal branding. But the level of income is not stable in this sector and as we know today’s world is so dynamic that it keeps on changing and a consultant should keep eyes on the trends.

There are different kinds of consultancy services available and practiced whole over the planet. With a complete value of around $250 billion, the global consulting sector is one of the largest and most mature markets within the professional services industry. An analysis of the past five decades shows that the development of the consultancy industry is closely tied to the developments of the worldwide economy [1].

The different consultancy services available in the world are:

  1. Strategy Consulting
  2. Marketing Consulting
  3. Operations Consulting
  4. Financial Consulting
  5. HR Consulting
  6. Risk &Compliance Consulting
  7. Technology / IT Consulting
  8. Legal Consultant
  9. Social Media Consultant
  10. Sustainability Consultant
  11. Sales Consultant
  12. Wellness/Fitness Consultant
  13. Growth Marketing Consultant
  14. Career Coaching Consultant
  15. PR Consultancy

Among the above-mentioned consulting services, the five most demanding consultant jobs are:

  1. Operations consulting
  2. Financial consulting
  3. Human resources consulting
  4. Risk and compliance consulting
  5. Strategy consulting

Hurdles faced by Consultancy industry due to COVID-19 (on global level)

Novel Coronavirus has created a great dent in the consulting industry. As per the information provided by Consultancy.org, the revenue loss by the consulting industry at the global level could be up to $30 billion in 2020 [2].

The clients have been delaying their projects and canceling future plans being propelled by the coronavirus. Such a situation has become a massive blow for consulting firms since their income is decreasing.

To know the impact of COVID-19 on the consulting industry, Source Global Research (SGR) gathered information from consulting firms across different countries of the world. As per the research, the size of the consulting sector could fall by 19% in 2020 due to this pandemic situation [3].

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USA is the largest consulting market in the world which accounts for around half of the global consulting market. Even though USA has only faced limited domestic intervention, SGR still believes that USA catches Europe’s larger COVID-19 cost quickly.

As anticipated by SGR, the North American consulting market will reduce by more than most US. SGR also estimates that the consulting market of Canada will bear revenue loss possibly by as much as 15%.

German consulting firms concerning the manufacturing sector will be particularly affected by supply chain disruption. As per SGR, the British consulting market is estimated to experience its slowest growth in 7 years. SGR estimates that Italy could even fall more sharply. Feedback from European firms has made SGR anticipate revenue loss of the European consulting market by 28%.

Due to the greater willingness of American clients to leverage consulting services and also to embrace new technology, USA is likely to recover at an increasing rate than Europe.

In comparison to other regions of the world, Asia is likely to face a lower impact on the consulting market. Latin America is expected to bear revenue loss by 19% while the Middle-east’s consulting market is expected to fall by 18%.  The African consulting market is expected to shrink by 14% in 2020.

The impact of corona virus on the global consulting industry can be illustrated by the diagram given below:

Figure: Impact of COVID-19 on global consulting industry expressed in percentage. Source: [4]

Hurdles faced by Consultancy industry due to COVID-19 (on national level)

Since the mid-sixties the consulting services had been commenced in Nepal on individual basis. Consulting service had been acknowledged as company entity by Nepalese government from the 70’s only. The commencement of novel consulting firms has been encouraged when the trend of hiring consulting service rose. With the increasing trend of novel consulting firms, the requirement of association of consulting firms had been experienced. This resulted the establishment of Society of Consulting Architectural and Engineering Firms (SCAEF) Nepal in 1990.

Since student’s departure has stopped, Nepalese educational consultancy business is slowing down. As per the information provided by Santosh Pyakurel, chairman of the National Education Consultancies’ Association, educational consultancy services have registered immense losses and most of them are in the phase of shutting down [5].

Pyakurel said that there are around 4000 educational consultancies guiding Nepalese students to admit in abroad universities before the lockdown. Such consultancies have contributed billions of rupees to the economy of Nepal before the lockdown. Due to the nation-wide lockdown imposed by Nepalese government, around 20% of the consultancies have shutdown their business completely. The chances of such consultancies to get back to their normal business soon is bleak. 

Virtual Consultancy: A New Start of Era

Till now, most of the consultancy services are offered physically where the consultant and the client meet face to face to consult on a particular topic. The client has to explain the problems to the consultant offline. After the coronavirus started approaching the world and endangering the human mankind, the phrase “social-distancing” started flourishing.

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Nowadays people don’t interact with people as they were interacting previously. This is because of maintaining social distancing to overcome COVID-19.

Since consultants have to work across the globe for their project so remote working for them is not new. Technological adaptation or digitalization has played a vital role to help consulting businesses survive during this pandemic situation.

Technological adaptation has made consulting firms’ jobs easier since digitalization brings clients and consultants together on the web. Virtual consultants are on-demand these days to help companies face the difficult situation created by COVID-19.

The demand for HR consultants is at a peak since companies are facing strains in human capital due to COVID-19. Consultants need to restructure and cut their cost so that it would be feasible for companies to approach them.

Business companies are worried regarding how to support their workers and customers. The digitalization of the consultancy business can be a great opportunity to add value during this pandemic situation.

Supply chain consultants are also in demand as e-commerce businesses are booming and worried regarding the reorganization of the supply chain. Working from home can be adopted by the majority of consultants to tackle the pandemic situation.

The latest example of a virtual consulting platform is an Australian consultancy Bendelta with the help of which “Reach” has been launched. Reach virtually delivers its services in response to the pandemic. Such a novel virtual platform of Bendelta helps to facilitate a range of offerings concerned with problem solving, knowledge transfer as well as personality development of individuals.

Since financial services such as banks are supporting the recovery of the economy so, financial consultants can be in high demand if they create virtual platforms. Stock market consultants also have opportunities if they create virtual platforms to provide advice and transactional support.

Tech consultants also can capitalize on opportunities provided by COVID-19 as companies are demanding virtual platforms and software to manage remote project teams.

The virtual platform of consultant firms enables consulting firms to offer their services at a lower cost through the reduction of travel expenses. At low cost, clients can enjoy innovative solutions to solve complex business problems. At last digitalization of consulting firms also aid consultants to be safe from the pandemic. Even in such a pandemic situation, virtual consulting firms can deliver high-impact outcomes alike physical consulting.

Works Cited

[1] “Consultancy.uk,” [Online]. Available: https://www.consultancy.uk/consulting-industry/global.

[2] Sai, 1 April 2020. [Online]. Available: http://www.stafiz.com.

[3] “sheffield haworth,” 2020. [Online]. Available: http://www.sheffieldhaworth.com.

[4] Consultancy.org, “Consultancy.org,” 23 March 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.consultancy.org/news/162/the-impact-of-the-coronavirus-on-the-global-consulting-industry.

[5] E. Shrestha, “The Kathmandu Post,” 29 July 2020. [Online]. Available: https://kathmandupost.com/national/2020/07/29/as-pandemic-stops-nepali-students-from-going-abroad-consultancies-and-other-businesses-take-a-hit.

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Aashish ShahAashish Shah

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Aashish Shah

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