Five consulting technology trends in 2017 that are more than buzzwords.
Since management consultants have always been on the forefront of technology, many of today’s cutting edge innovations are being actively deployed by them across a broad array of clients. The UK’s Management Consultancies Association (MCA) actually notes that advanced technologies are at the top of consulting executives’ minds. Such technologies include robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. MCA indicates that consulting firms’ usage of these tools can streamline and enhance client services.
In 2013, Harvard Business Review indicated that they believed consulting was on the “cusp of disruption.” At the time, they highlighted what they saw as the leading technologies that top consultants were harnessing, which included some of the same digital services that MCA later spotlighted. The following list contains some of the top technologies that consultants are using in 2017 to help bring clients deep insights.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Consultancies’ usage of artificial intelligence can help clients to automate various processes. The nature of this technology makes it continuously learn so that systems and processes can be improved. An article in Harvard Business Review goes so far to state that AI might even replace consultants. Sophisticated chatbots may actually be able to book appointments in order to answer complicated questions from clients and make suggestions.
2. Machine Learning
This deep learning technology can help consulting firms to help clients to find insights that may have otherwise not been found. Consultancies use this technology in order to bring forth changes in business models or even entire ground-up business transformations. There are even apps that use machine learning to match a consultant with a skill that is needed by a client. This technology can provide a client with vast powers, such as tweaking marketing campaigns in order for enhanced results.
Some consulting firms are investing in robotics research hubs to develop best practices and create prototypes for clients. The concept of robotics process automation is also being implemented by some consulting firms. An example of using this technology is creating a virtual workforce in the financial services industry, in which certain tasks can be performed by robots rather than by humans. Some consulting firms are even building a robotics financial advisory prototype.
4. Predictive Analytics
By using predictive analytics based on big data, consulting firms can help themselves or clients understand patterns and enable more insightful business decisions. The right predictive analytics tools can even help a firm to retain clients or increase profits.
5. Natural Language Processing
Natural language processing, or NLP, analyzes written language in order to find patterns and insights. For example, this technology can show sentiment of social media postings. When consultants work with such software, they can help clients to realize how their brands may be perceived by their customers. Consultants use NLP for such services as examining brand reputation or stock analysis.
The future may bring even more exciting technologies in which clients are clamoring to partake. Of course, highly skilled consultants are needed to oversee these powerful technologies in order to extract the most meaningful insights for their clients. While the specific trends may change, one reality will not: consultants must stay current on technology to survive, and get ahead of it for their clients to thrive.