Five management consultancy trends for 2021

Scott Cairns, MD of Creation Business Consultants, believes that consultants need to appreciate clients' current pain points and become more flexible with their own model


Industries across the board have been battling to improve performance in 2020, with management consultants playing a crucial role. And just as their message for clients is about agility, the consultancy sector is going through a change period, adjusting to new priorities. Scott Cairns, MD of Creation Business Consultants, believes that consultants need to appreciate clients’ current pain points and become more flexible with their own model.

According to Scott, “we tell clients not to rely on the old ways of doing business to survive and management consultants also have a responsibility to stay ahead of the curve. We have seen many changes to client needs over the past ten months, and consultants large and small have to adapt in order to demonstrate their value and help companies thrive in 2021.”

Below are five areas where consultants can focus their expertise in the year ahead:

  • Customised engagementand wider collaboration: with fewer new deals and major transformation projects happening, the client/consultant relationship is moving away from high-value short-term projects towards longer-term strategy development and broader input. There is a greater demand for retainers, allowing consultants to take a holistic approach and add value in areas including operations, supply chain management, cash flow management, restructuring, and risk reduction. This means finding a consultancy partner who is willing to take time to understand specific requirements and create bespoke strategies.
  • Technology expertise: technology-related businesses are some of the highest spenders on consultancy support as they strive to maximise opportunities in the current market. Plus, there is a big increase in new AI companies looking to establish a presence in the GCC; naturally, they want partners with knowledge of their industry. Also, more mainstream clients across the board want to digitise their businesses and improve their processes through increased automation.
  • Supply chain and inventory support: supply challenges have been one of the top concerns for many industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the boom in online trading platforms, supply chain issues can quickly damage a retailer’s reputation. Consultants are being asked for advice on enhancing supply chain models across the GCC to minimise costs and ensure timely delivery.
  • Talent retentionand people management: there has never been a more important time to prioritise the ongoing development, upskilling, and wellbeing of staff. Alongside analysing the right talent from a cashflow perspective, consultants are creating frameworks that cover both practical training and soft skills, such as resilience, to help employees cope during uncertain times.
  • Leadership insights and network connections: it’s becoming increasingly common for consultants to offer input in recruiting non-executive directors or board members, as well as assessing the change management and emotional leadership capabilities of senior teams. Consultancy partners who can facilitate connections with government entities and potential stakeholders to help clients grow their network represent added value.

Creation Business Consultants work with clients of all sizes in a wide range of sectors. Services include: corporate structuring, company formation, management consulting, risk analysis, corporate nominee services, government liaison, mergers and acquisitions, and finance consulting.

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