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We’re continuing our blog series, Consulting Predictions that Proved True. In this post, we’re digging into another one of our 2016 predictions – the increasing role of technology and how it will automate many human tasks. Where are we now, two years later? What is the role of technology and how can it improve how consultants work and deliver results for your clients? What potential missteps need to be avoided in the race toward efficiency and effectiveness?
If you read our last blog in the series , you’ll know that in 2016, LexisNexis developed a series of predictions based on insights and information gathered by Teague Communications and powered by LexisNexis. The comprehensive industry report focused on seven trends impacting consultants in multiple industries.
A popular prediction and the one we’re revisiting today is Technology Automation. It focuses on the emergence of sophisticated Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies likely to enable the automaton of important functions that humans provide, such as research and data analysis. Have we been able to make technology smart enough and intuitive enough to identify trends, patterns and insights that drive business decisions? Two years later, is this trend continuing or are humans still the most valuable asset for consulting firms?
Although it’s unlikely that you need to be truly concerned over your role being displaced by robo-consultants, experts predicted that consulting firms could create a more effective business model by combining technological analysis with human capital (1). New technologies that automate certain consulting functions would increasingly be viewed as an important complement to the skills of the professional consultants.
In 2018, has this proven to be true? According to a recent article from Infodesk, AI technology is used for new purposes almost every day. As an example, investment advisory services software powered by AI allows your client to set parameters to get specific financial advice, eliminating the need for interacting with the consulting team. Similar interactive technologies could become available for other advisory services as well. And the growth of cognitive computing and natural language processing make the potential role of AI even more viable.
So how do you embrace technology but mitigate its ability to make what you offer obsolete? There are a few tips to leveraging technology while improving your own value at the same time.
One of the ways to become indispensable to your clients is through the insights only you can provide. To be sure you’re giving them insights that are relevant, current, strategic and actionable, leverage technology to get you to the best content. While free content is plentiful, vetted, trusted content is harder to find. By working with a content solution that connects you to thousands of reliable sources, you can be sure you’re using data and information that will help you develop recommendations with real business relevance.
It’s no secret that technology can make us exponentially more efficient. As you focus on developing the reports your clients want, be sure you’re cutting the time it takes to create them without cutting the quality. Set up custom alerts on the topics of interest to your clients. You can increase your confidence in being current and relevant. Best-in-class research solutions can track the people, places, industries and topics of interest to you and notify you anywhere you are of changes and updates, oftentimes even hourly. It’s a tool you can use that will increase your value almost immediately.
As a consultant, you often need to be able to go left and go right, and in the same day. What does this mean from a research standpoint? It means being able to be flexible enough to be both global and local – how do global trends and patterns impact local markets – and to be both forward facing while taking historical data into consideration – will history repeat itself? The best insights often develop when all these perspectives come together to give a full, 360-degree view of a company, person, market or issue.
There’s no doubt that technology will continue to play an increasing role in the consulting market. But, by balancing what we allow technology to replace and leveraging technology to enhance our human efforts, you will strike the right balance for clients and add real value to the future of their businesses.
Need a resource to get you that 360-degree view? Let’s talk about the power of Nexis.
Want some research tricks for your consultancy? Check out our tip sheet.
Do you have your own data analysis team that needs the raw data into their workstreams? Learn more about our Data as a Service capabilities.