Consulting Industry – Matching Strides with India’s Growth

The Future of Consulting

By Salil Mathur (A consultant with IndusGuru)

A large, digitally-driven middle class of India is yearning for change and growth. If capabilities and skills to drive that goal are not built in time, India might face frustration and stagnation. National stated ambition to build a $10 Trillion economy has many un-built bridges, that can be built rapidly by good consulting, and it is, thus, consulting that might hold the key to filling the capability and skill breaches.

The importance of consulting sector is increasing continuously in volumes and diversity and its presence is showing not only in GDP, in higher CAGR and in GSDP, but also greater employment generation in India. The Government’s thrust in developing the core infrastructure sector has attracted many construction and engineering consulting companies to explore their expertise and contribute with their domain knowledge.

Indian consulting is maturing as fast as the Indian industry matures. The consulting industry is seeing an increase in the number of new comers and is actively exploring prospects in new industries and all growth routes. Over time, the demand for specialist consulting services has created a number of opportunities for consulting to draw on their specialist knowledge base and resources. The major strengths of Indian consulting organizations include professional competence, low cost structure, diverse capabilities, high adaptability and quick learning capability of Indian consultants. However, low quality assurances, low market intelligence, low equity base, low overseas exposure, and absence of R & D are major weaknesses hindering the growth of the consulting sector.

Value to clients:
Industry is now rewarding specialization and a one-size fits all MBA might no longer be in favor. While divisions like Marketing, Finance, HR, and IT are still useful but they won’t give you the edge as much. So, to make a difference and an impact on a wide range of companies, Management Consulting is steadily catching up across the verticals. Every business house needs a consulting specialist expressly when it faces a tough situation due to sliding market and economic conditions, or is unable to meet its target due to an internal crisis, or any other factor that constrains the business to grow further. By hiring consultants, clients can gain access to deeper and higher levels of expertise. It is also financially more feasible then to hire in house resources for a long-term engagement. Moreover, by purchasing as much service as required, clients can control costs on short-term projects. Independent advice and brand-name recommendations can also be valuable when making key decisions.

Today, consulting firms provide services across virtually all aspects of business in India and globally. From defining strategic direction to simply serving as an additional pair of hands for outsourced work, consultants are intimately linked to the success of most large organizations. This growth in consulting in India is largely due to improved investment activities because of low-cost structure, entry of many big players into the Indian market, relaxation of previous FDI restrictions, and strong capabilities in areas like IT, management, civil engineering, telecommunication, petrochemicals, power and metallurgy. The industries that are likely to increase their consulting engagements would be infrastructure, energy, industrial designs, digitalization in public utility and even railways. Apart from SMEs, foreign Investors not familiar with Indian conditions are also likely to engage more with consultants.

The Road Ahead
I meet more and more new faces at events and conference and, like me, each one wants to be counted as a consultant. Generally, we agree that the biggest challenge for the Indian consulting firms is to compete with the global players in the market. There is a need for Indian consulting companies to define their specializations and differentiate themselves from their competitors and adopt new organizational structures. I don’t know the figures for Indian consulting industry but I am reliably told it’s anywhere near or over $19 billion. Overall, at the pace it’s growing, there is a need to strengthen the framework of Indian consulting industry by embracing innovation, nurturing talent, improving the quality of consulting services, and enhancing consulting skills.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author and do not reflect the position or official policy of IndusGuru Network Partners

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