Change management consulting has lost none of its luster, despite research that continues to show the majority of change efforts fail to meet their strategic objectives. In fact, demand for change consulting has increased considerably since ALM’s analysis two years ago that estimated a growth CAGR of 5.0% in the five-year period from 2014 to 2018. Providers today say global revenues are growing by healthy double digits, and they expect demand to remain strong if not grow at a faster rate.
Such levels of provider confidence make sense in the context of the market’s demand curve, wherein many of the individual competencies that comprise change management are robust consulting markets of their own, e.g., digital strategy, communications, employee engagement, and leadership development. Furthermore, the trend in change consulting is towards bundling additional competencies as providers continue their shift towards digital professional service delivery. Consulting around data and analytics, experience design, and solutions development using emerging technologies (think artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics process automation) has become essential to a new value proposition for change management advanced by the leading providers.
The essence of this new value proposition is the transformation of change management from a project-based discipline to one that is advising on business outcomes and how to deliver them. Confronted by their own research on change program failure rates and the reality of digital’s evolution from disruptive force to long-term secular trend, providers recognize that change management as it has historically been applied is outdated. The fast-paced environment in which businesses operate has increased the number and complexity of changes confronting their clients, as well as traditional ways of working. The question is no longer how to help clients manage change, but how to help them master the art of change.
Consultants are also dealing with a new type of client, one who is more experienced in change management and less dependent on having an external provider lead the change. They are building capability by investing in change management centers of excellence and adopting structured approaches at the enterprise level. This is driving a trend where organizations seek primarily implementation assistance from their providers which is, in turn, driving demand for managed services across a range of people, process, and technical competencies. This new level of client maturity is as forceful a driver of changes in consulting service delivery as are the secular trends of digital and socio-economic change.
As I researched The ALM Vanguard of Communications and Change Management Consulting 2018, several trends emerged showing how providers have risen to the challenge of delivering services to this new breed of client:
• Accelerating change implementation by shifting to a real-time, fit-for-purpose approach that meshes with agile ways of working, as change is increasingly managed in chunks with more focus on short-term impact;
• Focusing on individual change by introducing behavioral economics and neuroscience into change models to ‘nudge’ desired behaviors at the moment of decision and help leaders communicate from a burning platform to engage individuals with the organizational message. When deployed digitally, these messaging strategies enable companies to positively influence the behavior of thousands of employees;
• Digitizing change management operating systems with platform-as-a-service solutions that enable enterprise-wide visibility into real-time performance diagnostics through data analytics, virtual collaboration, personalized communications, and knowledge management.
While it’s early days for this new delivery model, the providers that are leading the market have a first-mover advantage secured by highly capitalized innovation capabilities enhanced by an ecosystem of alliances with digital start-ups and cloud providers, not to mention clients who are equally invested in a learn-by-doing relationship with their provider. They also are able to deliver change consulting using a linear model, such as waterfall development or project management, in tandem with agile approaches. Many clients I spoke with require this ambidextrous approach as they juggle the digital literacy and change capacity of a multi-generational workforce or a patchwork quilt of acquired companies. The cliché about ‘one size not fitting all’ is especially relevant for today’s change consulting market.
Sourced from Consultingma -Written by Joe Kornik