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State of Research and Consulting

This is a presentation that's part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers analyze the state and future of their industry. You can read the posts at

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State of Research and Consulting

  1. The State of Research & Consulting The Smartest Networks, Not People, Will Win Charlene Li, Founder and Analyst
  2. Background ∙ Industry Research = Analyst firms like Forrester, Gartner, and IDC. ∙ Management Consulting = Firms like Bain, BCG, and McKinsey. ∙ Both industries derive value on recommending solutions to the most difficult, vexing problems facing clients.
  3. Industries Ripe for Disruption • Explains what the future holds • High level tech/biz recommendations • Most revenues from syndicated research • Includes Gartner, Forrester, and IDC Research • Helps set strategic direction of company • Create customized implementation plans • Most revenues from project fees • Includes Bain, BCG, an McKinsey Strategy Consulting Both industries are based on recommending solutions to the most difficult, vexing problems facing clients. Consulting has survived for 100 years because of “opacity and agility”.1 1 Harvard Business Review, “Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption”, October 2013
  4. State of Research Syndicated Research Devalued • Journalists provide timely analysis • Bloggers and independent analysts publish for free • Vendors like IBM conduct world-class research Variable Role/Industry Coverage • Siloed coverage exacerbates fragmentation already affecting companies • Difficulty hanging on to “star analysts” who leave to be independents • Requires buying multiple contracts to get full “coverage” Disdain for Consulting • Firms wired for detailed consulting and client relationship development. • Analysts tap the same research well with minimal customization for clients.
  5. State of Management Consulting Secrecy • Expertise and experience not shared or sought, even within the firm let alone with other experts • Little ability to scale and leverage research beyond a single case High IQ but Low Knowledge • Smart people confident in their ability to find the “answer” from original research • Requires a lot of time (and money) to arrive at recommendations • Peer networks like Corp. Exec. Board fill the knowledge gap Disdain for Research • Consultants not wired to invest in research that extends beyond a client engagement • Research that is done is seen as academic, not applicable to clients so not used
  6. How to Disrupt Research and Consulting Disrupt Research and Consulting Develop and Grow Networks Invest in Brands and Careers of Individuals Synergies between Research and Consulting
  7. Altimeter’s Disruption Strategy Open Research (Network) Focus primarily on digital disruption impacting organizations across Give away great research on digital disruption for free under Creative Commons. Typical readership of a report is 100,000 versus a few thousand for technology research firms Greater readership means more feedback and input from the ecosystem, reducing research costs and improving quality Thought Leadership (Individual Brands) Speaking generates not only high-margin revenues but also markets ideas and the firm broadly Exposure to large audiences also generates more research touch points, further lower costs and improving quality Not a key focus for either Industry Research or Management Consulting firms Repeatable Deliverables (Synergies) Introduce consulting offerings based on research-driven assessment and best practices Focus on common pain points caused by disruptions that can be addressed by a central database of frameworks Bundle deliverables into larger strategy consulting projects and supplement with consultants dedicated to focusing on client deliverables
  8. Thank You Charlene Li @charleneli Disclaimer: Although the information and data used in this report have been produced and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or use of the information. The authors and contributors of the information and data shall have no liability for errors or omissions contained herein or for interpretations thereof. Reference herein to any specific product or vendor by trade name, trademark or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring by the authors or contributors and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Altimeter Group provides research and advisory for companies challenged by business disruptions, enabling them to pursue new opportunities and business models.