Consultants are rhinos
June 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
A hunter-gatherer consulting industry works well when projects are small, but it can’t cope with large-scale programmes which typically cut across disciplinary areas as well as geographic borders. That’s why organisational structure is such a hot topic at the moment. Should a firm in which each country is run autonomously change to a regional or even global structure? Clients want increasing depth of specialist knowledge but can’t (can they?) expect to find it in every office, so should consulting firms create centres of excellence for country-based teams to tap into? Many of the fastest growing consulting markets in Africa are ones where few consultants are based (the market is too new, the environment too unpredictable), but how do you create a structure which enables you to move resources quickly and seamlessly from one market to another?
Whatever structure you adopt – and the jury is still firmly out about which is the best – you still have to deal with the lack of herd instinct. Consultants, certainly outside the more homogenous technology market, have never really been domesticated. Roaming the savannahs is more their kind of thing – but does that mean that the industry, rather like Africa, will struggle to reach its economic potential?