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.

Transformative change inevitably brings serious human impacts with it for a firm’s staff. In order to cushion the blow, change management should be a cornerstone of any transformation, according to Ed Caldwell, Monica LaRue and Michael Blahnik from consulting firm RGP.

Change management is an integral ingredient for successful transformations. People affected by change must believe and the buy into the plan, benefits and organisational vision. Unless vision, strategy and IT transformations use change management to ensure they are incorporated and understood by stakeholders, they won’t work. As a result, the transformation project will suffer from delays and rising costs due to competing priorities and a lack of employee and leadership belief from the very start.

It has long been forecast that Artificial Intelligence and automation will bring about a workforce re-alignment, the scale of which having not been seen since the industrial revolution. While dialogue usually centres on ‘unskilled’ work, however, the dramatic shift of labour may not be confined to blue-collar work, with management consultants also facing significant change to their roles in the coming years.

The continued march of innovative new Artificial Intelligence (AI) has brought with it the potential for improved efficiency of resources, heightened productivity in manufacturing, and even the potential for low-cost medical care in the developing world. However, not all the effects of the new AI revolution are thought of in positive lights. According to consulting firm McKinsey & Company, while less than 5% of jobs could be entirely replaced by technology, over 60% of all work activities could be in some manner automated by 2055 – leading to a colossal re-alignment in the labour market.

The first effects of this have already been felt in certain fields of repetitive work, as illustrated by The Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Population Survey in 2017, which estimated the UK had seen the number of manufacturing jobs nosedive by 17% over the past decade. The possible loss of 620,000 jobs was attributed by some to the advancement of cheap machinery, which enabled employers to cut costs by laying off large numbers of staff.

According to data sourced from Tussell, a partner on government consulting contract data, the quarter’s £350 million contract value saw the total value of public sector consulting contracts awarded up to the end of September surpass the £1.4 billion barrier.

KPMG managed to scoop the largest contract in the period – a £29 million call-off contract (a blanket order) to help the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with the implementation of its Defence Support Operating Model (DSOM) programme, a large-scale business and SAP-driven digital transformation.

PwC won a contract of similar size, also at the MoD. The rival Big Four firm was selected for a £26 million three-year contract to create a common way of working for the 2,700 people in its finance department. As part of the MoD’s aim to enhance its finance operating model, the Functional Leadership Programme launched, and PwC has been tasked with supporting the design and build of the new operating model, as well as the delivery and change management.

The Global Sourcing Association (GSA) has unveiled the finalists of its 2019 Strategic Sourcing Awards. London-based consulting firm Coeus Consulting has made the final cut in two categories.

Based in the UK, The Global Sourcing Association is an association for the global outsourcing industry – which is estimated to be worth over £65 billion. The association represents the interests of outsourcing providers and sourcing individuals, and helps them with driving awareness in the marketplace, education, standards and thought leadership.

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