Focus on management consulting

By Maureen Aylward

Turning our attention toward management consulting, we asked our Zintro experts about what is driving this sector right now. Here is what our experts had to say.

Tracy Sheldon, a marketing and business strategy coach, says the key issues at the moment appear to be cost cutting, business planning, tender preparation, lead generation and conversion, and executive coaching and development. “Many people are questioning functions and roles within their businesses and trying to gain as much information as possible to change and drive their businesses forward to either increased success or in worse case scenario – survival,” says Sheldon. “Business leaders are concerned with the future and are more risk averse. They really need to see results, clear plans, targeted objectives, and innovative ways of developing themselves and their businesses.”

Sheldon’s services have been influenced by the current economy. “The main influence seems to be budgetary restrictions and an influx of new consultants that offer similar skill sets. This is confusing for the client base. I have met new consultants who, upon investigation, have not actually done the work they claim to have done, and clients seem confused about who and why they would need a consultant. It means recommendations, relationships, and good referrals are key to lifting you above the crowded market place,” she advises.

Sheldon has found that businesses are requesting more strategies that can be implemented rather than delivering a report that suggests what needs to be done. “Clear plans based upon actual capabilities that are targeted and can show fast results are what clients want right now,” Sheldon says. “With so many changes happening, businesses are researching what to do while the market is changing around them; they are playing catch up and are already behind their competitors.”

Farouk Fakunle, a general manager, says that management consultants are focusing on increased market volatility and uncertainty, how to hedge against these factors, risk analysis and assessment, and increasing productivity and resource utilization to get more out of every dollar spent. “I have mainly come across organizations trying to make do with less. Departments are not being able to hire due to the sluggish economy and uncertain future, but are faced with workloads and project demands that require a larger headcount,” says Fakunle. “I advise my clients to focus on increasing productivity, increase personnel training to allow for cross functional and multi-skilled teams, and most importantly, leverage technology and productivity tools as much as possible.”

Amrit Bajaj, an expert on operational management, says that management consultants are focusing on the “strategy at of the moment.” “Business scenarios are on thin ice and sentiments are not positive. Europe is struggling with the debt crisis and US debt issues are also not positive,” says Bajaj. “Companies have started putting projects on hold or delaying the implementation plan. This is to maintain healthy cash flow as future predictions are into negative mode at present.”

Bajaj says that businesses are struggling with the question of expansion or sustenance. “My clients are asking ‘What do we need to do for cost effective operations management even at the level where it could impact employee’s sentiments? Sometimes it is time for consolidations through acquisitions,” he says. “I tell my clients that organization restructuring and better process implementation is what they need to focus on.”

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