Gaining a Competitive Advantage Through Predictive Analytics

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to predict the future? According to a recent Harvard Business Review webinar, companies, governments, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and universities are using the power of big data, new technologies, and analytics to predict whether we’re going to “click, buy, lie, or die.”
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So, what is the difference between forecasting and predictive analytics? Forecasting provides an estimate to anticipate trends for a large group over time, while predictive analytics goes much further and is focused on predicting the behavior of a single individual. For example, forecasting might provide an estimate of the total sales for a particular product line next quarter, while predictive analytics tells which customer will likely buy the product. Major industries such as Banking and Finance, Retail, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas Utilities, Government, E-commerce and Travel and Hospitality embrace predictive analytics to boost sales, improve operations, reduce risks, and gain a competitive advantage.
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  • What is Predictive Analytics? Learn the about the process, applications, software and more here.
  • Read how to convert analytics into action here.

Trends Shaping the Consulting Industry

In the 2017 Management Consulting Outlook report prepared by Greentarget, a strategic public relations firm focused exclusively on business-to-business organizations, the global management consulting market has been growing revenue approximately 4 percent annually over the past few years. As the most mature market, the U.S. market grew 7.7 percent in 2015 to reach $54.7 billion, up from $50.8 billion in 2014. The global management consulting industry is now delivering an estimated $150 billion in revenue, and the growth trend is expected to continue, with the U.S. accounting for nearly half (44 percent) of the global market.
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We at Croixstone know it is important to keep abreast of the many forces and trends shaping the consulting industry. Demand for change as result of disruptive technologies and competition from new market competitors continues to drive investment in consulting.  What else is new in the consulting industry?
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  • Learn more about the who’s who of the consulting world in 2017 here.
  • What makes a great consultant?  Here are 10 attributes required for long term success as a consultant.
  • Read here about five consulting technology trends in 2017 that are more than buzzwords.

How Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn Affects You!

Last year, Microsoft purchased LinkedIn, the world’s largest networking and job search platform, for $26 billion.  LinkedIn now has more than 500 million members, and its job platform hit a record 10 million jobs posted.  Why did Microsoft buy LinkedIn?  LinkedIn provides Microsoft with vast data to fuel its machine learning and business intelligence strategies.

Learn about the benefits of the Microsoft/LinkedIn acquisition here.

Coming soon, a new version of LinkIn’s app that will match you up with a mentor…read about it here.

Dive deeper into LinkedIn’s newer features here.


Disruption in the Consulting Industry

A couple of years ago, a team of thought leaders put their minds together to study professional services, especially consulting and law, to understand how these industries are changing and why.  Then they spoke extensively with more than 50 leaders of incumbent and emerging firms, their clients, and academics and researchers who study them.

So what did these thought leaders learn from this study and the interviews? 

The same forces that disrupted so many businesses, from steel to publishing, are starting to reshape the world of consulting.

Learn more here.


Consulting Industry Leaders Forecast Robust Growth in 2017

So just what do 100 Managing Directors, Partners and Vice Presidents think about the state of the consulting industry? 

According to the team at CONSULTING magazine, they are exceptionally positive about the prospects for growth in 2017 and maintain a “pedal to the metal” philosophy.  The magazine has just published its annual “executive outlook” for the new year and the CROIXSTONE consulting team noted the following highlights with great interest.

  • Consulting industry leaders are “especially giddy about the forecasts for the year ahead” with some having reported sales growth above 20% in 2016.
  • The consulting industry is among the first to see signs of an economic slowdown and no such signs are being seen.
  • 65% of consulting industry leaders experienced real revenue growth above 10% in 2016.
  • 96% of leaders project that net profits will increase in 2017, with 57% forecasting that net profits will be up more than 10% in 2017.

Read the full article here.


The Freelance Economy in 2017

According to a new study conducted by LinkedIn, freelancers now account for nearly 35% of the USA workforce…and the trend is only gaining traction with more professionals opting out of traditional “full-time” employment. 

The Croixstone Consulting team found the following survey findings of particular interest:

  • 40% of LinkedIn’s freelancers (the social networking site’s “ProFinder” members) are based in just four states (California, Florida, New York and Texas).
  • Marketing, Business Consulting and Design were the top 3 industries for freelance work in 2016.
  • Younger freelancers identified industry preferences centered on Writing, Photography and Home Improvement.
  • Older freelancers identified industry preferences focused on Career Coaching, Business Consulting and Real Estate.
  • 33% of all professional freelancers surveyed were male.
  • The average freelancer is an older male (nearly 50% of LinkedIn’s ProFinder members are older than 50).
  • The average hourly rate for freelance work averages $50-$150.

Gain more insights into the Freelance Economy here.


USA’s Most Fulfilled Cities

So which city in the USA has the most fulfilled workers? 

According to LinkedIn and Censuswide (a global survey consulting firm), it is our very own Charlotte.

During the summer of 2016, Censuswide surveyed 1,000 professionals across the USA about their overall level of job satisfaction and the factors that contribute to it. Charlotte tops the list with 65% of its professionals feeling very or completely fulfilled at work, and chefs rank the highest in job satisfaction with 84% reporting they feel very or completely fulfilled at work.

The next time you are feeling down about your career, you may wish to visit one of the Queen City’s great local restaurants at lunch and sit next to the apparently happy chef to change your mood.  After your meal, call the Croixstone Consulting team and we’ll be glad to talk about our management consulting opportunities!

Read more about the survey on LinkedIn’s blog here.


When McKinsey Met Uber: The Gig Economy Comes to Consulting

So is the gig economy disrupting the traditional consulting industry?

Yes, according to many experts. Back in 2013, Harvard Business Review published a fascinating article entitled “Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption” which predicted the disruption of established consultants as first smaller, then larger, clients start using alternatives to the big brands for all but “a core of critical work”.

In follow-up to this prediction, the Croixstone Consulting leadership team reviewed this week a newly-published article by Andrew Hill, Management Editor of the Financial Times, entitled “When McKinsey Met Uber: The Gig Economy Comes to Consulting” which spotlights the trend of business consultants setting out on their own as a higher-paid, and growing stratum of “gig consultants”.

We found the following factoids from the Financial Times article to be of particular interest:

  1. 31 percent of management consultants in the UK are self-employed.
  2. 20 percent of staff at the big consultancies leave every year.
  3. 59 percent of consultants made a deliberate choice to become independent (with top triggers including the desire for a career change, wanting more control over time and schedule, and wanting to work with clients in a different way).

Read the full article here (subscription may be required).


Snapshot – U.S. Consulting Industry

So how big is the U.S. consulting industry? 

According to data published in June 2016 by Consultancy.uk (an online platform for the advisory and consulting industry), the U.S. consulting industry (the world’s largest and most mature consulting segment), grew strongly last year at a healthy 8% to reach nearly $55 billion.

Given Croixstone Consulting’s home here in Charlotte, the nation’s 2nd largest financial market, it was no surprise to see that, once again, the Financial Services industry remains far and away the U.S. consulting market’s biggest spender. Banks and insurers, among others, spent nearly $14 billion on consultants in 2015, up 9% on last year, although the growth rate was slower than the year previous.

Other industries showed robust growth as well.  Retail was the fastest growing sector, expanding 11% to approach $4 billion as retailers bolstered their digital investments in order to tap into the rise of e-commerce and omnichannel demands. Consulting to the public sector remains the poor relation of the industry, according to the researchers, with a 2.6% growth to $6 billion, as public sector investment sunk to the lowest level in over 60 years. The U.S. energy & resources consulting market grew by 5% to $7.3 billion, while pharma grew by a strong 10% to $1.7 billion, despite mounting pressures in the space, including an increasingly intense debate about drug pricing practices.

Learn more here.