"Consulting is not discretionary"

by Vault Consulting Editors | February 17, 2010

  • My Vault

It's music to consultants' ears. These are the words of Hans-Paul Burkner, CEO of The Boston Consulting Group, in an interview with the Financial Times. There's no denying that the consulting industry as a whole is down (although BCG has been up some 10 percent), but Burkner says that where it's lost money is in the area of the "nice to haves"—small projects here and there, many of which are intended to boost efficiency, which are done by the third and fourth levels in a company. But the industry has retained strength in the areas of restructuring and post-merger integration—projects that are key to the survival of the company or to bringing about major growth opportunities. Such initiatives are not discretionary, but rather are vital to the future success of the company. According to Burkner, such large-scale projects have continued, and even expanded, in 2009, while the smaller, "nice to have" pieces have fallen by the wayside. He adds that the consulting industry is faring about the same as it did after the dot-com boom at the turn of the century, and expects growth to return in 2010 and 2011.

Burkner also touches upon the war for talent (although he balks at using the word "war"), but doesn't tell us anything we don't already know: Talent is scarce and companies now have to compete, recruit, retain and give top talent greater opportunity to grow and develop.

Filed Under: Consulting

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