For Damien Palacci, Partner and Finance & Regulatory leader at BearingPoint, the future of consulting is about augmented decision-making, co-creation, and powerful ecosystems. He explains how the consultant 4.0 creates value by connecting the dots.

BearingPoint’s motto is “connecting the dots”, what does it mean for you?

This slogan is very powerful: it has multiple meanings, representing the value we want to deliver to our clients and how we view the future of consulting. You can understand dots as facts, data, trends, and signals - as consultants, we make sense of information and help our clients shape the future of their business.

At BearingPoint, we are active in diverse industries and support companies along various topics and development phases, putting strategies into action. Connecting the dots offers a triple meaning: leading change, leveraging our rich knowledge and people network, and bringing ideas to life via people and organisations.

Finally our motto also obviously refers to the role of data for our clients and ourselves. The digital era tremendously transforms organisations and businesses - the consulting industry is no exception.

Has digitalization changed your ways of working?

Yes, of course. Digitalization augments the consulting industry in various ways. Two examples: we have become more agile in project management and we are increasingly relying on data and data experts. We can here mention how digitalization deeply disrupted the way organisations make decisions. Systems that used to be only descriptive are now increasingly predictive and prescriptive and benefit from real-time data availability. Decision-making looks more complex due to the multitude of data crunched but becomes simpler thanks to the use of analytics tools and technologies.

Our Go Digital initiative reflects the profound mutation still underway. We combine top consulting talents with IP assets and technology to deliver what we call “augmented consulting” or “Consulting 4.0”. The future is data- and people-driven and we want our teams to pioneer these new approaches.

Besides, the type of projects we are supporting has evolved a lot with digitalization as our clients are facing new challenges and opportunities related to digital changes. But beyond methods and topics, I think that the most significant change is the nature of the relationship we build with our clients.

How exactly have your client relations evolved?

We are engaged in co-creations rather than one-way project deliveries, as it was the case in the old consulting days. Clients still value our expert knowledge, but we also accompany them in broader projects where the path does not follow a clear pre-defined road, and where at the same time innovation is elevated to a top strategic priority.

This explains to a large extent why the consultant role has evolved to being a sparring partner. We design and execute projects hand in hand with our clients with a “one team mindset” and ensure proper continuous knowledge transfer. In terms of pure methodology, we are increasingly involved in prototyping for example. We offer new services via the BearingPoint Digital Factory, that allow us to quickly iterate with our clients, relying on unique capabilities, technologies and use cases.

What about your relationship with partners?

Consulting firms can no longer offer “one-man shows”. They are stronger when able to offer and orchestrate a partner ecosystem. Today, we are able to build tailored solutions for each project within weeks, with the help of partners or startups. We are for example partnering with Anaplan, an analytics company, to deliver company-specific decision models, enabling large organisations to steer their financial performance in real-time.

Being aware of these sweeping digital challenges naturally led us to the creation of an internal structure named Be'Up in 2017. Be'Up is sourcing the best and most promising startups, coaching some, and playing the role of trusted advisor with BearingPoint clients.

Do you have an example of startups that help you and your clients to pioneer new ways of working during projects?

A good example is Steerio, a data-analytics startup for which we are an early partner. They are developing an application that collects and analyzes team feedbacks in order to identify what can be improved on every project.

Their solution is very attractive to us for several reasons:

First, Steerio fosters continuous feedback-loops to improve project work and collaboration. In a regular basis, every individual is invited to share his views about the project situation through simple project pulse surveys. Then the platform analyses the data and pinpoints key focus areas and takeaways to the managers.

Second, Steerio structures and facilitates the dialog across the entire project team. Not only our consulting staff but also client counterparts and stakeholders, helping to build a better project experience for all. This is very important, especially in the early stages of complex projects where maintaining a high level of engagement is critical for the success of the initiative.

Finally, beyond project engagements, the collected data enables us to quantitatively monitor the quality of our client support and draw lessons for the future. Therefore, we see in Steerio a strong potential to further improve knowledge management and reinforce our IP. At the end of the day, it is all about connecting the dots.

Learn more about Steerio.

  • Damien Palacci

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