Dr. Ivo Furrer is one of the founding members of digitalswitzerland where he has been president since 2018. Together with companies, government, academia and the public, he drives the mission to build a platform that will make Switzerland a leading digital innovation hub. He is also a member of numerous boards of directors, including Julius Bär, Helvetia Versicherungen, responsAbility and inventx. Furthermore, he is a member of the board of the Financial Market Authority of Liechtenstein. Previously he was CEO of Swiss Life Schweiz. Before that, he held executive roles at Zurich Insurance, Credit Suisse and Winterthur Insurance, among others.
Matthias is a partner in the financial services sector, specializing in the development and implementation of technology-driven corporate transformations. His special focus is on innovation management, organizational development in the age of digitalization and the activation of sourcing potentials. In recent years, he has also been responsible for establishing a company-wide Center of Excellence for IT M&A consulting at BearingPoint. Matthias studied at the University of Freiburg and holds a diploma in physics.
As Partner in the area of Financial Services at BearingPoint, Claudio’s focus is on the insurance and reinsurance industry. BearingPoint’s customers include global insurance and reinsurance corporations as well as locally-based companies. He supports his clients’ initiatives to improve their business models, organizations, processes and systems in the context of digitalization and regulation.
Changes in a consultant’s work
Digitalization has already influenced and changed the business models of many companies. Especially for management consultancies, which carry out digitization projects for their clients, the question arises on how their business model might be transformed and what implications this might have. The last five years have brought massive changes for management consultants. In the past, the type of consulting mandate was often clearly defined and limited (strategy project, implementation project, operational review, etc.). Today the consultant's work is extensive and agile. While the tools have become more straightforward and the technology more available, the issues have become more complex. Management consultants must capture and present cross-industry topics and derive definite conclusions for the client. Of course, a clear understanding of the client’s business model is a prerequisite for understanding customer needs.
Project complexity has increased
The transformation business has become even more critical for management consulting. It is not only a matter of carrying out a transformation in an intellectually correct way (we see many scientists in top positions today). Even more, it is about accompanying and motivating people in the transformation process. For this challenging work, the management consultant is in high demand. The complexity of specific projects also requires cooperation with large, competing companies. Trust is no longer built only between people, but also via the footprint in social media.
A consultancy should focus on its people
Diversified teams are relevant for agile project work. In the past, replication of project work was possible, but not anymore. Each project requires different skills. Therefore, a management consultancy should focus on its employees. Life-long learning, inclusion, and experience are required. One challenge is the generational bridge. Often profound functional knowledge of a specific subject matter is necessary for a project. Such knowledge is hard to pass on, which can lead to a dependency on the older generation with longstanding experience. Since many young consultants change jobs quickly, it is challenging to pass on and build up knowledge.
Involvement of clients and start-ups
Today co-creation with customers is necessary more than ever. The customer is very much involved in every step and expects immediate results. The consultants' work has become more virtual, more independent of time and place. Bionic advisory and equipping the consultant with digital tools has therefore gained in importance. Working methodology is generally accessible today, also knowledge and innovation. While innovations used to take place in secret, they now also take place on social media. New partners and competitors are constantly emerging from start-ups, bringing unique niche know-how with them.
New fields for management consultancies
A new business segment is opening for management consultancies in the area of "Intellectual Property." Intellectual property can be activated in the market through new offers such as Managed Services. However, this requires continuous adjustments to a company's operating model. Further cooperation with and integration of start-ups is relevant for the success of management consultancies.
BearingPoint Podcast - Get the full story
The BearingPoint Talk on “Management Consulting in the Digital Context” includes additional topics that better help to understand the current challenges for consultancies. To what extent are customers, partners, and consultants affected in the flexible ecosystem, and how will they react? Our guest was Dr. Ivo Furrer. He elaborated about the mission of digitalswitzerland, "Making Switzerland a Leading Digital Innovation Hub. Worldwide!" and discussed with BearingPoint Partners Matthias Roeser and Claudio Stadelmann how management consultancies can contribute. Have a listen for yourself!