In today's ever evolving tech-centric business environment, specialties are merging and the lines are blurring across strategy and technology disciplines. Consulting firms are evolving into hybrids with core competencies of connecting, building a bridge or harmonizing skill-sets like a symphony unites various instruments. Understanding how things work, how they should be played and how to play them together is the future.

Technology execution and implementation is a commodity of sorts these days, but the ability to harmonize the available technologies is now, more than ever, the key to success for implementation, growth and security.

Successful management consulting firms today are skilled in the true 20% of the strategies driving 80% of impact in technology and strategy. Their strengths lie in strategizing and connecting various technology disciplines, like how a symphony conductor harmonizes drums, horns and strings. Hybrid consulting firms are composing harmonious technology solutions to produce true works of technological art, even more so as cloud computing, APIs and big data drive the future of IoT.

A prime example is Maven Wave Partners. A Google for Work Premier Partner, Maven Wave's services are rooted in the evolving digital transformation of business and the need for cloud-based solutions that are more mobile, social, and rooted in analytics. They drive decision making with logic and strategies combining technology with business objectives. It takes a collaborative culture of hybrid skill-sets to make it work. "More than ever, winners and losers will be chosen based on the enterprise's ability to deliver design-centered technology experiences to customers and employees. Creating these experiences requires a high performance, multidisciplinary team with the right blend of skills," says Brian Farrar, a partner and founder of Maven Wave. " Don't think of it like making a margarita-if it's weak, you add more tequila. It's more like baking a cake-you can't add more flour and eggs after it's baked."

Hybrid firms like Maven Wave are rapidly growing in the management consulting sector, especially as more traditional consulting firms like Bain and McKinsey work to evolve their enterprises.

Consider the evolution of technology and its impact on hardware companies. Technology and services advance at incredible rates, making it difficult for enterprises to transition to an "as-a-service" business model, or a business that can offer value through on-demand, highly scalable, plug-and-play services. To keep up with the needs and demands of business customers, high-tech companies must be able to offer services faster and deliver more personalized solutions.

Similarly, the lines between old-school management consulting and various advisory groups are blurring. Enterprises seeking consulting services are looking for guidance and solutions that solve not only business problems but also technology and service issues as well. Strategy now includes finding solutions that focus on the growth of a corporation rather than a single problem area. This opportunity led to the creation of hybrid consultants who offer traditional business consulting as well as provide expertise on big data.

Consulting firms are blending various practices together in order to offer a wider range of niche services that satisfy more than one innovation requirement. The digital age and rise of IoT has led many traditional firms like Accenture to combine their technology and business strategies under one umbrella.

But hybridization is a huge strategic and financial cost to a firm. The digital disruption of many industries puts traditional consultancies under enormous pressure to offer more complex combinations of strategic advice. It's like asking a classically-trained orchestra to add jazz pieces to their repertoire; it takes time and energy to train musicians to play a different style of music in an effort to appeal to additional audiences. Equivalently, training big firms to include technology consulting takes time and capital; a business with thousands of consultants cannot pivot as quickly as a smaller sized firm.

Technology is seeing the creation of services like cloud-technology that are serving customers and businesses faster and more efficiently. People who were previously focused on one specialty at a time are now looking for ways to connect all these moving parts of technology together. The future of consulting services is the combination of various services together, or the creation of hybrid specialities around innovation. Harmonizing big data, analytics, cloud services and beyond in the face of digital enterprises is how consulting firms will survive the digital age and deliver relevant, sustainable solutions.

Published on: Mar 9, 2016