Impact of Technology On Our Consulting Practices.

When I graduated from college in 1991 with an executive MBA, the Internet had not really arrived. Few people were using email and computers were pretty slow. PowerPoint was only launched in May 1990 and slide based presentations were in their infancy. Visio, the drawing tool I still use for business process design today, was only launched in November 1992, and was undiscovered when I graduated.

GSM mobile/cellular phones were not launched in Europe until 1991 and consumer take up was initially very slow. Now, everyone in the western world has at least one mobile device. Broadband Internet did not exist until after 2000. In fact, in 2002, there were only 200,000 broadband users in the United Kingdom, which is astonishing when you compare it to the 20 million households in the UK that have broadband Internet services now.

This may seem like a trip down memory lane, and in some ways it is. The business consulting profession has been turned on its head in the last 25 years and the pace of technological innovation is one of the main drivers of change in our industry. It is a mirror image of what has happened in business and industry as a whole, and many of our peer business and technology consultants have used their technological knowledge and skills to drive efficiency and profitability in client companies and to grow their consulting practices.

Data storage becomes cheaper with every passing year and it is now more cost effective for most businesses to locate their technology infrastructure and data storage in the cloud. The technology model has changed from ownership to usage. It removes excess capacity from business users who now have the option of expanding or reducing their usage on the fly, while they only pay for what they use. Even Microsoft is migrating to deploying its software as a service with a regular monthly rental per seat, rather than their old model of requiring payment upfront, before you can access their software applications. Adobe is doing the same with its Creative Suite of applications including Photoshop and Illustrator.

So what are the implications of technological change for those of us in the consulting industry? Firstly, it means that we need to continuously educate ourselves in emerging technologies. Secondly, it means that we need to adopt new tools and technologies and validate their application for use in client businesses. Thirdly, we need to educate our clients about the technology options open to them and to help them select the solutions that best meet their needs.

The natural extension of this theme is to adopt the best available tools for use in our own businesses. And if the right tools do not exist, it has never been easier to develop the tools ourselves with the help of a competent firm of developers. You can also engage a developer directly or through providers such as, (formerly Elance) or, if you have the technical savvy to project manage the development yourself.

I spotted a gap in the toolset available to business consultants a few years ago when I realized the huge amount of my time I was spending in free sessions for prospective clients, in analyzing what is going on in client businesses, and in creating reports and proposals for clients. This prompted me to design an in-the-cloud application for my business, which would take care of all of these business functions. The biggest reward for me was the amount of time I freed up to use in income generating activities.

As part of my ongoing learning as a business consultant, I gleaned how to be an effective project manager. I found out where the best developers can be located and just how easy it can be to work with a firm of professionals that costs about 20% of what I would pay for software development in my home country.

You too can specify and develop cost effective solutions that will improve your business efficiency and benefit your clients. But if you would prefer to simply use my application instead of building your own, the good news is that I have created a white label version of the software, which you can instantly customize with your own brand and enhance with your own IP and business knowledge.

If you would like a free 30-day trial of my software, without any obligation and without the need to provide credit card details, click here to register and we will set you up with your own personalized instance of the application. It will amaze you how it can deliver for your business consulting practices and your personal productivity.


Niall Strickland