Our day-to-day work still offers no indication that we are on our way to this higher plane: We spend the week at our clients’ places of business, no matter where they happen to be. On Monday, we make our way out the door, returning home on Thursday or Friday. Week in and week out, we pack our most important tools in our suitcases. During the week, we spend our evenings with colleagues at the hotel, exchanging experiences and tips. And come Sunday evening, it is time for us to prepare once again for our next week of living as professional nomads.
Why do we spend so much time with our clients? Because we generate added value there, the direct way. Is digitalization about to challenge this fundamental principle? Some say: Yes, it most certainly is. Big data solutions are going to increasingly replace the information- and knowledge-based elements of consultancy and provide them to clients through well-structured, web-based reporting systems or bots. As a result, Google is evolving into a major competitor for strategic consulting on account of its wealth of information. Methods for analyzing and evaluating companies’ situations, regardless of whether they are strategic or operative, are increasingly being shifted to the internet in the form of algorithms.
Others say: No, there is no way digitalization will replace on-site consultancy. That is because digitalization has certain limits when it comes to staff and management coaching. The changes in everyday working life that cannot be solved through new information and communication systems call for direct support on site. Remote consulting does not seem like a terribly effective tool when you consider that fear is one of the main reasons why people resist change – and that this fear is significantly on the rise as a result of digitalization. Consultants play a special role whenever it comes to dealing with human emotions. As coaches, we advise our clients’ management and staff on site and support them on their journey into the future.
So both sides are right: Some of us will continue touring the world like nomads. However, algorithms and knowledge systems will help us work in an even more focused and efficient manner. But in the end, implementation consulting in particular will remain a people business on site.
Text: change2target, Martin Fischer, CEO
Also published in the Lünendonk Consulting Handbook 2018.