A clear sign of the effectiveness of consultancies in transforming the business landscape and the economy of countries is their upward trend in growth. In Spain, for example, according to the Spanish Association of Consultancy Firms (AEC), the sector generated revenues of 19,659 million euros in 2022, 15.2% more than the previous year. What’s more, this trend is expected to continue.
Companies, the financial sector and the public administration are all investing in different types of consulting businesses. Why is this the case? Before answering this question, it is important to understand what a consultant does, to distinguish between the different types of consulting businesses and to identify the benefits that these increasingly specialised figures can bring to an organisation or to professionals themselves.
A consultant is an external professional who provides specialised services to a company or institution to help improve its management, operations and/or financial results. As such, it is important to understand what a consultant does to bring about these changes.
The first step for a consultant is to analyse the organisation’s current situation to identify problems and opportunities for improvement. To gather data and information, they meet with the management team as well as staff from different departments and partners. Here, their listening skills and external perspective are key to providing an objective diagnosis of the overall situation and the issues that are hindering the organisation’s growth.
Once the consultant has made their diagnosis, they set out the solutions and improvements to be implemented. In other words, they present a detailed strategic plan that includes the actions to be carried out, the processes that will be affected, the teams that will be involved, the tools that will be needed, how everything will be managed, the timings, etc.
Nowadays, different services of all types of consulting businesses are often extended to include assistance with the implementation process.
A competent consultant must have an in-depth understanding of the latest socio-economic developments if they are to add value to a business. In other words, consulting is based on the specialisation of services and knowledge in different areas of activity. It is through this specialisation that they are able to provide a comprehensive view of an entire organisation and a detailed vision of each of the areas that comprise it: administration, human resources, R&D, sales, marketing, etc.
Nevertheless, some consultants specialise in particular areas. The following are some of the most sought-after types of consulting businesses:
Strategic consulting: strategic consultants work in the private and public sectors, helping to make high-level decisions that usually involve restructuring and implementing major changes in management, business model, marketing strategy, production systems and processes, organisation, operations, budgets, etc.
The aim is to optimise the organisation’s operations and manage the change process in an organised way, ensuring that everyone involved understands the proposed strategy. An example of strategic consulting would be that which is carried out for a company’s digital transformation or when a merger takes place.
Financial consulting: these consultants carry out a financial study of an organisation’s current situation to meet a range of needs, such as defining a strategy for creating a new business model, increasing profit margins, reducing costs, analysing risks, etc.
Organisational and human resources consulting: although most types of consulting businesses usually include an assessment of the workforce, these consultants are highly specialised in helping to reorganise an organisation’s human capital (managers and employees) in the most optimal way in terms of productivity and satisfaction.
Using consultancy services does not mean replacing a company’s Human Resources Department. Although this service can be outsourced, it can also be seen as a complementary and/or occasional service to improve an area, evaluate jobs and performance, design talent retention strategies, assess training needs, etc.
Legal or juridical consultancy: these consultants specialise in dealing with the legal and corporate needs of organisations, such as the drafting of contracts and agreements, advice on negotiations, transactions and issues relating to intellectual property, tax aspects and the management of procedures requiring knowledge of laws, standards and regulations, etc. It is one of the most important types of consulting businesses for companies, as they need to comply with the legal requirements of their sector of activity, be up to date with laws and regulations, and receive legal advice and guidance in the event of legal proceedings or litigation.
Development and integration consulting: one of the types of consulting businesses that has grown the most since 2019 is that related to development and integration projects. As the AEC’s latest study of the sector shows, companies and public administrations in particular are increasingly investing in cybersecurity and cloud platforms in response to the rise of teleworking and potential cyber risks.
So far, we have talked about the benefits that different types of consulting businesses can bring to a company or institution. But what can a consultant do for you? When you hire a consultancy, they provide you with their knowledge and experience. A good consultant will have a proven track record of solving problems similar to those faced by your organisation. They will also be able to share relevant skills and methodologies.
During the consultancy process, you will undoubtedly develop a relationship of trust with the consultant. As such, you can capitalise on this relationship to gain new knowledge, expand your thinking, learn new ways of solving problems, identify opportunities, gain a better understanding of the benefits of implementing these improved practices, and obtain valuable information about your sector.
In today’s business, economic, social and work environment, it is essential to engage in continuous learning, given the constant evolution of technology, the emergence of new methodologies, and changes in market trends and geopolitics. Lifelong learning will enable you to grow professionally by providing you with the knowledge to manage and adapt to these changes.
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