Management Consulting is an exciting world to be in and it is also a demanding one for consultants who must adapt to change quickly so that they build their networks and retain demanding clients in a digitised environment. Most consulting firms, particularly those that work internationally, struggle to retain and recruit the talent required to strengthen their competitive advantage in any given area or region. Delivering an innovative approach will depend heavily on consulting firms being able to move quickly and adapt their structure and operating models to be able to compete. Having a digital strategy is no longer an option but a must to provide greater value to clients. For more and more firms this digital strategy includes crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing has emerged in the management consulting industry. It fulfils a need to embrace multi-sourcing which means that firms work with other firms when expertise is required that they themselves cannot provide. Crowdsouring is about sourcing consulting expertise from small firms or freelancers and this is changing the consulting landscape. These other parties that are sourced from the crowd to provide research and analysis are chosen for their quick response time, experience, low overheads and their location in any part of the world. Speed and cost savings are often decisive factors.

Firms that have turned to crowdsourcing found that they could not keep up with the heavy investment in their ‘home sourced’ talent and could not depend entirely on ‘selling their own people’ for every new assignment. Keeping up with external demand – including an improved global presence – could only be achieved by turning to the crowd for resources willing and able to move quickly and provide services for quick turnaround projects. Crowdsourced consultants use portals to acquire contracts. The key suppliers or platforms in management consulting crowdsourcing do not form a static list. As traditional consulting firms now also provide crowdsouring platforms, we will see a mix of Big 4 crowdsouring platforms and those of independent players and the early pioneers. As is the case in any new development, there are both benefits and potential risks. One of these that firms must deal with is maintaining confidentiality for which certain measures will be required.

Janet Poot