Market conditions are volatile nowadays, crowded by new technologies and more competitors, and this pushes old-fashioned consulting business models away from their conservative tendencies and into evolution. In order to preserve their position and survive upcoming challenges, consulting businesses should explore new approaches to cover their clients’ needs, and software consultants are no exception to this imperative.
According to the 2017 studies by Statista, the global consulting market size reached 132.6 billion U.S dollars last year. The market’s evident profitability and the rise of new trends have opened new competitive possibilities, taking established consulting firms to the edge.
As new business models are proving to be more efficient at delivering value for customers, traditional consulting firms need to reinvent themselves to stay relevant to their audience. Based on its real-world practice, the software consulting company Itransition has come with the checklist that any IT consulting business needs to go through if it considers such reinvention.
The Reinvention Checklist
Big businesses keep their position in the market because they are constantly improving their practices and increasing the range of services they offer. As Saul Kaplan said, “A good organization manages knowledge oriented to the best possible practices, mimicking tactics that have shown positive results before with the sole purpose of improving business performance.”
That said, modifying core operations is not always required, yet it’s frequently beneficial for software consulting businesses take an introspective look to make a sort of a health-check and see if the services offered still resonate with customers. So the checklist goes:
What’s our key value proposition? You may be surprised how different it can sound for you and your customers. You can think that you’re particularly good at enterprise app development, but your audience keeps seeing you as a quality consultant on complex enterprise-level solutions. This vision should be aligned at all times.
How is this value delivered? IT consulting business is traditionally run according to a few cooperation models. Your team can either augment your customer’s one or serve as an independent consulting and development center. In their turn, these models can be delivered on the time-and-materials basis or at a fixed price. Reviewing your approach to each particular customer can keep you from losing deals and can strengthen your professional goodwill.
What our biggest competitive advantage? If you’re trading internationally, the one advantage that comes to mind first can be your pricing. Typical offshore consultants offer cheaper rates for the same level of professionalism and quality of local providers. Other competitive advantages that resonate with the IT market today is vertical expertise, that is, how well can you deliver for specific industry, be it banking or healthcare or manufacturing. This specialization can win you a decent amount of new customers if you market yourself appropriately to your strongest competencies.
The next question to be asked is, How do we benefit from our consulting services? How is income generated? If your practice doesn’t return even a fraction of your investments, a good idea will be to review your customer experience through dedicated customer voice programs and the like. The new reality requires businesses to be more customer-oriented and care about customer satisfaction first in order to create long-lasting relationships.
How are we adapted to the digital? This should be your primary concern in what relates to lead generation and the way your customers find you online. Relying on the old good face-to-face conversations at conference stands still works well sometimes, but in terms of your marketing and sales expenditures, digital marketing through the website, blog and social media is much more efficient. Today, digital conversions are one of the largest source of generating new business in the IT consulting industry.
And the last question is, Are we expanding overseas or stay local? The nature of IT consulting is by definition international. Modern technologies defy borders, and there could be more than one reason why you should turn to overseas markets to help your business grow successfully. Today, the largest Information Technology markets are the USA, the European Union and South East Asia, with China and India growing at an exponential speed. Offering tailored consulting services that are customized specifically for such local audiences, it’s possible to drive your business development initiatives to unprecedented levels.
Frankly, How Tough is the Reinvention Process?
Reinvention has always been regarded as a troublesome and long stage of business development. As painful as it can be, the outcome of such reinvention can’t be overestimated. New deals closed, more satisfied customers and a happier workforce as a result are all worth your efforts at the end of the day. To help you in this process, there should always be guidelines and directions for your reinvention strategy to unfold.
In this article, we’ve reviewed some common questions that any IT consulting business should ask itself on the brink of revamping its business development approach. Some of these questions are likely to pose new challenges, though, but as it is said, no pain no gain. In these difficult times when the market is oversaturated with competitors, standing out with a carefully thought-out proposition can be a guarantee of your sustainable business future.