A recent post in CIO magazine is certainly an interesting shift in the consulting world. Whether this makes any difference to their work as strategy and business process consultant remains to be seen.
Capgemini Consulting, a specialist in strategy and transformation, is about to transform its own strategy for the second time in two years. To cope with the change, the company plans to recruit up to 1,000 staff this year, predominantly younger workers with social media and "digital transformation" skills, although it expects other staff to leave.
The large business consulting firms in the world have all one thing in common: the go help organizations to fix their internal processes which either seem to be broken, not effective or not profitable. As a result the teams of those consulting organizations are conditioned to make any conceivable effort to further optimize those processes. Non of the work was ever done in close collaboration with the customers, partners and other external constituencies of the business. Adding new blood from the digital world is certainly a great advantage.
On the other side, organizations like the Social Business Consulting Group work entirely different. All the work is not process optimization at any price but the improving the market facing engagement model that has often times suffered because of the business process optimization effort. The big four consulting forms were in many cases the reason why businesses got into trouble in the first place. I'm personally accusing those organizations to suggest to company leaders measures that had fatal results, alienating their clients an damaging their brand reputation. I think it is too easy to say "Sorry our recent $20 Million consulting contract got you in trouble but with another $10 Million order we get you out there." Obviously global head of Cap Gemini, Pierre-Yves Cros is putting this a bit more politely:
If consultants are to cure the growing malaise in their relationships with their clients, then they will have to offer "a new kind of consulting," according to Cros — one that focuses less on productivity improvements and cost cutting and more on innovation, understanding customers, and risk management.
But in essence: "screw the productivity improvements we suggested in the past and do some back paddling".
Interestingly enough, most of the Social Business Consulting Group's work is actually decomposing the old business process implementations from the traditional business process consulting firms and re-architecting a company's market engagement model not from a marketing point of view but from an organizational point of view.
Social business strategy consulting is not about a marketing gig or creating a fancy campaign on Facebook but re-engineering the market facing interaction models in sales, support, professional service, partner management, product management, procurement, HR and of course also marketing.
You may consider our more indepth online presentation next Tuesday 19th.