The UK’s economic performance had been flagging long before the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Pressures resulting from Brexit and stagnant wages had already seen GDP growth stifled to between just 0.2% and 0.3% on average during 2019 – something which saw a number of high profile sectors such as retail, dining and travel record a sharp spike in liquidity issues. In turn, this saw many clients of Britain’s consulting industry scale back their advisory spending, something which led to the UK’s management consulting market seeing its slowest growth in seven years.

Now, thanks to the additional pressures inflicted by the global coronavirus lock-down, research firm Statista’s latest estimates the UK’s economy is set to hit negative growth for the duration of this year. Due to this forecast recession, a recent study from Source Global Research suggested that the consulting sector is set to see a stagnant 2019 turn into a potentially disastrous 2020, with revenues possibly falling from £8.6 billion to as little as £6.1 billion in the current 12-month period.

With clients of the consulting industry currently looking to obtain better value for money regarding their advisory contracts, independent consulting could offer a vital alternative to tapping expertise from major firms. Consulthon co-founder Marieta Bencheva spoke to about the role freelancers can play helping companies amid the coronavirus lock-down.

Consulting is renowned as one of the most travelled facets of modern business – with some professionals in the trade spending as much as 80% of their working lives away from home. Experts from top firms often jet across the globe to assist clients with a variety of advisory matters, leading to consultants losing a significant amount of work amid the current Covid-19 lock-down. One way consultants are continuing to pick up contracts is via digital marketplaces.

Consulthon, an online marketplace for management consultants, is well-placed to help clients and consultants in these challenging times. The firm was founded in 2018 by Marieta Bencheva and Mirel Baila – who have over 20 years combined experience in operational, agile and lean consulting.

In today’s rapidly evolving landscape and always-connected world, companies that really want to stay ahead of the game need a winning digital customer experience strategy. Philip Grant, formerly a Director at Arthur D. Little and author of the business book ‘In Demand, In Command’, explains how this can be done.

Organisations could be much smarter at understanding their individual customers and deliver greater excellence at delighting them, whilst operating at lower costs to the business. Despite the proliferation of online digital media and transactional self-services now available to the general public, customer-facing businesses simply do not achieve optimal business potential.

Robotic Process Automation, an increasingly popular technology, can reduce costs and boost productivity, accuracy, data analysis and decision-making. The Centre for Management Consulting Excellence recently ran an evening symposium focused on how robotics can help consultants improve their impact at clients.

The Centre for Management Consulting Excellence was founded in 2017 by the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants, a modern livery company based in the City of London in the UK. The Centre aims to identify and share the most important new ideas for management consultants, developing their performance to the benefit of their clients and the economy in general.

Digital transformation remains one of the top priorities for businesses in 2020. But for many organisations, getting the right people in place to oversee and manage this change is easier said than done. Richard Grove, director at Caution Your Blast, shares five steps that can help kickstart a very strong team to achieve digital targets.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an innovative technology increasingly used to fully automate human steps in business processes. It is the automation of manual repetitive tasks using low code software such as UiPath, that can work across a variety of different applications and replicate complex or simple business processes.

RPA can be used to automate a complete end-to-end process, or can be used to aid and improve processes that still require some human interaction. At First Consulting, we are seeing that the view of robotic process automation (RPA) in the workplace is gradually moving away from the replacement of jobs and towards supporting employees to complete their daily manual tasks.

As businesses are becoming much more transparent with the ways in which automation is being used as part of the digital transformation journey, we believe that the next step is to ensure your current workforce are on board with this potentially daunting concept of working with robots.

2019 saw continued pressure on the traditional UK banks. Margins remained squeezed through rates staying lower for longer; regulatory pressure continued; the ‘tail’ of PPI proved extremely painful; political and economic uncertainty around Brexit prevailed; the investment required for digital-led transformation remained high and the continued competitive pressure from new challengers, all made for a difficult operating environment. Whilst some of these factors will ease in 2020, don’t expect the situation to get too much rosier for the larger incumbents any time soon.

Cybersecurity has fast risen to the top of the business agenda since the WannaCry attack of 2017. In the wake of many more high profile attacks, consulting firms have increasingly been asked for assistance in shoring up their clients’ defences. However, the very advisory firms expected to deliver these solutions have themselves been the subject of high profile breaches.

Consultants from IBM, PwC, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, EY, KPMG, PPL, Arcadis, Mott MacDonald, Atkins and Gobeyond Partners have become the first in the UK to receive a Chartered Management Consultant Award. The new accreditation sees the Management Consultancies Association collaborate with the Chartered Management Institute to standardise the quality offered by the UK consulting sector.

Around 200,000 people in the professional services sector are active as consultants, and are either employed at a consultancy or working as a freelancer, serving clients across a wide variety of industries and/or functional areas. Nearly a third of the 200,000 of the UK’s management consulting and digital advisory specialists were found to be freelancers. Unlike the law or accounting professions, however, consulting does not have a protected status.

Coeus Consulting has won an award for its work in the utilities sector. The firm helped Electricity North West reshape its IT sourcing model, enabling the utilities company to deliver next-generation services.

The London-based consultancy was handed the ‘Best Practice In Strategic Sourcing Awards’ by the Global Sourcing Association (GSA) – a representative body for the outsourcing industry – for its work helping Electricity North West reshape how it works with external IT providers.

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