Disrupting the consultants: Could the advisers use some advice?



Management consulting is a relatively new profession. Such consulting firms have become revered as thought-leading think tanks and cutting-edge research organizations. Yet, as they teach their clients to grow, thrive, and innovate, is it possible that top management consulting firms are being disrupted themselves? Even the most seemingly unassailable businesses fall victim to disruption, while others benefit from it to enjoy tremendous growth. Top consultancies are keenly aware of rising competition from emerging-market information technology firms. Therefore, many have taken countermeasures such as expanding their operations in emerging markets and designing outsourcing strategies to mitigate cost gaps. Time will tell if these efforts prove successful. This article attempts to illustrate how the business of consulting is—after all—a business itself that is subject to the forces and perils therein. Top consultants would be well advised to confront disruption head on, rather than robotically focusing up-market or silently hoping themselves immune. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.