What are the different types of consulting firms?

Many dimensions can impact the value consultants can bring to your company. So how do you get started to understand what a consulting firm does?

On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte helps us understand the structure of the consulting market and the different types of consulting firms.

Key Takeaways

The market is mainly structured along two dimensions: capabilities (what the consultants do) and industries (what experience they have). The level of specialization, the footprint, and the profile of partners, are other dimensions used to characterize a consulting firm.

They are the services offered by consultants to mirror the business functions of their client organizations.

You can organize the capabilities into seven categories with different levels of importance in the market, typically linked to the difference in size and budgets of the associated client functions.

Your next stop should be with the industries served. They are the sectors in which clients of consultants drive demand for management consultancy. Unsurprisingly, demand increases with the amount of change in a sector and its financial resources.

Each of the dimensions will influence the type of projects a consulting firm can take on and how they will deliver the results

Transcript

Hello and welcome to the third episode of our podcast: Smart Consulting Sourcing, THE podcast about Consulting Procurement.

My name is Hélène, and I’ll be your host today.

Each week I’ll give you the keys to better use, manage and source consulting services. In this third episode, I’ll talk about the different typologies of consulting firms.

Last week, we chatted about the value Consulting Firms bring to their clients. We saw that this value could be either technical or political. But what should you look at when you need a consulting firm for a project?

Many dimensions can impact the value consultants can bring to your company. But you should probably start with the capabilities.

What are the capabilities in consulting?

They are the services offered by consultants to mirror the business functions of their client organizations. This dimension is crucial to describe the work in consulting. We have screened thousands of consulting websites when we were working to build the consulting firms’ data for Conavigo.

We have seen all types of services and value proposition presentations. Nevertheless, we can confirm that most consulting firms will showcase their capabilities on their websites and in their company presentations.

You can organize the capabilities into seven categories with different levels of importance in the market, typically linked to the difference in size and budgets of the associated client functions.

  • Finance & Risk
  • Human Capital
  • Operations
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Strategy & Management
  • Technology, Research, and Development

Companies tend to showcase what they do rather than highlight the problems they solve. It will probably evolve over the next few years as consulting firms are improving their differentiation and customer focus.

What about the industries?

Your next stop should be with the industries served. They are the sectors in which clients of consultants drive demand for management consultancy. Unsurprisingly, demand increases with the amount of change in a sector and its financial resources.

Consulting firms have developed along these two dimensions: capabilities and industries served. Capabilities encompass what the consultants do, and industries encompass the experience the consultants have. As founders gradually conquer new areas of expertise, the company very often grows in one dimension or another.

Generally, smaller companies tend to be more specialists and larger companies more generalists. There are some exceptions to the rule, of course. Some consulting firms have decided to develop a specialized or even a niche practice in a limited number of capabilities and/or industries.

Depending on the depth and breadth of expertise you need for your project, you can resort to either generalist, specialist, or even niche consultants to support your efforts.

Are there other ways to sort the different types of consulting firms?

Other dimensions can impact how consultants do their work and what value they can bring.

  • Size and geographic footprint
  • Ownership structure
  • Profile of partners
  • Delivery model

Each of the dimensions will influence the type of projects a consulting firm can take on and how they will deliver the results. Right now, you know what the different types of consulting firms are. But how do you source them?

That’s the question I will answer next week: How to get started with the consulting sourcing process. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, or want to learn more about what we do at consulting quest, just send me an email at helene.laffitte@consultingquest.com

Bye and see you next week! Au revoir!

Types of consulting. Types of consulting. Types of consulting. Types of consulting. Types of consulting. Types of consulting. Types of consulting. Types of consulting. Types of consulting.

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Helene Laffitte

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting. To find out more, visit the blog or contact her directly.

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