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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Jenkins

The future is coming and it's got robots written all over it….

If anyone had any doubt that we were in a period of disruption right now, the recent run of organisations closing their doors for good should point to the final evidence needed to win round even the biggest cynics out there. Traditional working approaches and processes are changing and it’s rapidly becoming essential for organisations to transform or risk becoming irrelevant to their customers.

As we’ve seen with the demise of Toys R Us and many other brands this year already, organisations, and more importantly their leaders, need to be hell bent on knowing what is going on under the surface of their organisation so they can adapt and transform before it’s too late. Organisations don’t all need to be at the forefront of innovation but they do need to be self-aware. We see too many instances of late showcase leaders, appearing to perceive past success as a guaranteed means for ensuring future success, and that simply isn’t the case.

The consulting industry is itself in a period of similar turbulence. Traditional consulting still relies largely on people and their knowledge, skills and wisdom to do much of the analysis of an organisation’s health. It’s not uncommon for analysis of the inner workings of a business to be a standard multi-week process with reams of consultants being drafted in to interview people and pour over data in order to summarise findings only to present back a document so large it could frankly be used as a door stop and in many cases that’s about as practical as it ends up being.

The reality is, leaders need information about what’s important and they need it quickly and in a format that allows them to easily make sense of what’s going on in their organisation. You only have to Google robot advisors to see how the entire financial industry has been disrupted by AI and the automation of intelligence and information to enable smarter and quicker decision making and even forecasting and predicting. Consulting is no different. The robots are coming and consultancies, need to embrace this change and utilise technology that can help meet the evolving needs of their clients and keep them relevant because before too long, within 18 months, robot consulting will be a real thing and it’ll be thrive or find yourself struggling to survive.

Robot consulting will enable leaders to have the simplicity of requesting information about their business at the touch of a button. It will place value in speed and simplicity of messaging over thoroughness and presentation of raw data to evidence findings. It will introduce robotic process automation (RPA) to areas that previously used graduate recruitment to put bodies on the ground, and in doing so, reshape the financial model for consultancies around the globe. No one knows for certain what the finished package will look like but it’s evolving and quickly. Recent articles by Harvard Business Review and similar opinion pieces by Deloitte and McKinsey all point to the same thing: the future for consulting has robots written all over it and it’s exciting, if not a little scary too!

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