AI, SaaS, and new business models

I believe that many consulting firms are already trying to adapt by training their consultants, hiring data scientists, developing AI and SaaS offers as well as creating new business models.

Company culture & Training
First of all, it starts with training and company culture. Indeed, I believe that modern management consultants can no longer rely on being a graduate from a top school and an expert in a specific domain. All consultants must be remotely conversant in technology/data.

New data capabilities
Obviously, market leaders such as BCG or McKinsey have invested early in analytics startups with machine-learning experience or hired a lot of data scientists and created new data-driven departments (for instance BCG Gamma) to bring new data capabilities to clients.

Becoming a tech provider
Consulting firms have started to develop their proprietary software (often using SaaS or AIaaS models) because many clients have similar needs (for instance: pricing strategy), these solutions are often customizable depending on clients’ needs. Indeed, it is easy to promote your SaaS-solution if you already work with the company and perfectly know the business issue… The development of unique solutions creates new revenue streams for consulting firms.This new business model is perfectly suited for clients without the money to invest in their own AI development.

Indeed, when a diagnosis and recommendation task occurs frequently on routine, clients will have a larger incentive to invest in a software provider because “on-demand brains” fall away. Moreover, the need to rely on tools leveraging real-time data has changed the situation when it comes to consultants’ needs.

Ecosystem creation
A growing number of consulting firms are trying to build an AI ecosystem by partnering with specific institutions, startups or other organizations related to AI. The goal is to improve the brand image, establish themselves as leaders, hire technical experts and promote their solutions. For the most advanced consulting firms, it will involve the creation of a “lab” with expertise in AI and maybe an incubator.

New services related to the AI economy
I have seen consulting firms investing a lot in the emerging gig economy and online training.