The last few years have been critical for the Canadian IT consulting market. Technologies like cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) have taken the industry by storm, forcing enterprises to change the way they do business. As customers come with new demands every day, IT consulting Vancouver organizations need to keep pace with the new realities of the market.
And, these disruptive forces show no signs of slowing down. Here are six emerging trends that will change the Canadian IT consulting market in the years to come.
1. Change of Core Business, Change of Name
Organizations are forced to expand their services up to the point where their core business changes. As a result, the definitions of a “consulting firm” and a “consultant” don’t suit anymore, and enterprises are forced to rebrand themselves.
Consulting companies become more and more similar to creative agencies. Up until recently, they were focused on improving their digital and design services, but from now on they intend to launch entire digital divisions or even acquire agencies.
In other words, there’s pressure to become an all-in-one agency. The downside of this trend, though, is that organizations will resemble supermarkets, and there will be little differentiation between their range of services.
2. Demand for Cross-Domain Skills
If IT consulting firms become multi-service firms, then consultants become multi-talented consultants. Although specific skill sets will always be appreciated, hiring managers from consulting companies are on the lookout for prospective employees with a broader set of competencies, including both technical knowledge and general business acumen. A cross-functional approach provides better insights and new ideas to work with for the enterprise.
In 2017, organizations will open more IT consultant positions. Apparently, they intend to hire more millennials and women, hoping to retain high-quality talent with attractive compensation packages.
3. Freelancers as Consultants
The gig economy continues to expand within the IT consulting marketplace. More and more businesses use the freelance-based consulting model. They act as online platforms where offer meets demand, and freelancers can connect and get consulting jobs from interested clients. These portals discourage the commoditization of consulting by focusing on hiring former experts from reputable organizations.
4. Market Consolidation
The differences between thriving businesses and their competitors are becoming more and more noticeable. Companies with revenues of less than $1 billion are facing growth challenges, such as the inability to innovate internally, as the decrease in profits exposes them to acquisition risks in the next 12-24 months. Some tier two IT services providers have already resort to market consolidation.
That will affect the consulting market by enabling integration of IT systems and infrastructure across platforms. On the other hand, some acquisitions have failed because of cultural differences and employees leaving, so businesses will have to be careful if they find themselves in similar situations.
5. Skill, Not Scale
Despite the harsh environment, new IT service firms keep entering the market. They manage to develop innovative business models that cover the gap between what customers need and what large and well-established companies offer.
Furthermore, enterprises that don’t keep up with the high-quality talent their customers expect are at a disadvantage, no matter their size or brand. New service providers are taking their place. Original solutions are hard to find, and clients are willing to work with newcomers if they can provide them. Usually, they do, as startups team up skilled individuals.
6. More Clouds
A few years back, companies were reluctant in adopting cloud computing as it was perceived as insecure, expensive and difficult to use. In 2017, cloud platforms are safer and cheaper than any traditional way of running operations. They are easy to use and access from different devices and locations, at any given time.
Clouds, however, won’t be the key to competitive advantage anymore. Cloud adoption will skyrocket and quickly become mainstream, pushing organizations into finding new sources of differentiation from their competitors, such as analytics, simplicity, cognition computing, and automation. That may lead to cloud diversity, where customers choose different, potentially competing, providers for various parts of their business.
Nevertheless, clients will need IT consultants to help with transitioning to cloud technologies, integrate them with existing systems, and organize and manage their business information.
The IT consulting marketplace in Canada is undergoing major changes, driven by technology, clients, and employees. The fact that the very roles of both consulting firms and consultants are redefined shouldn’t be problematic if you keep an eye on these trends and adjust your course to keep pace.