Key Trends in Consulting Industry Knowledge Management

Session Description:  This session examines the consulting industry, with a special focus on knowledge management practices in that industry. The speaker is Robert Armacost, Engagement Director at Iknow LLC.

[These are my notes from a private gathering of senior knowledge management professionals from large law firms. The participants come from law firms around the world.]

  • Business pressure on consulting firms has never been greater
    • data and analytics have transformed the way client services are delivered
    • disruptive competitor models — independent consultants provide services at a fraction of the price of the major consulting firms
      • the biggest competitors sit in-house inside client companies
    • ever-increasing client expectations
  • Consulting firms are doubling down on these strategies
    • professional services firms are focusing on the basic client life cycle. Put the client at the center and then design
      • innovation and product management
      • relationship management
      • account management
      • opportunities and selling
      • service delivery — a key here is using project-based insights to create reusable assets
    • project-based innovation in consulting
      • use and validate an approach or insight. Then create a success story regarding that insight.
      • socialize that success story.
      • memorialize that success story.
      • embed that approach or insight in standardized processes and learning/development efforts.
    • How to make this work?
      • ensure the right motivation: align incentives, cultural norms, ways of working
      • treat knowledge as an asset to be invested in
      • treat the firm as a marketplace of ideas
    • Bain & Co has used the Net Promoter Score to predict customer value and then align investment
    • The new use of data and analytics helps large consulting firms make better-targeted investments in client service delivery
  • Digital enablement is transforming Consulting
    • this goes far beyond old-style digital tools: email, discussion boards, etc.
    • digital enablement refers to technology that is helping firms really differentiate how they work and deliver services
    • business drivers of digital enablement in consulting
      • more efficient and effective working
      • improved client experience — this helps attract and retain clients
      • new business models — monetizing knowledge assets, finding new uses for knowledge assets — they are moving from “services” to “digital assets.” McKinsey has invested heavily in digital assets that they monetize through McKinsey Solutions.
  • Other lessons:
    • People are key to success with these new approaches. So spend a lot of time thinking about how to motivate and support the right behaviors.
    • Confidentiality is key to enabling robust knowledge sharing. The right incentives and culture will promote collaboration and diminish hoarding. The firm’s compensation system has to support knowledge sharing in practical ways.

[Photo Credit: GovLoop]

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