Will Freelancing Reinvent Management Consulting?
Management consulting is a long-standing and storied consultant field. High-priced consultants sometimes make millions of dollars transforming a company. These individuals and their firms are in high demand from companies looking to transition to a new and confusing economic reality. But management consulting has also been disrupted in recent years by the rise of freelancers. By using the internet and new financing models, freelance management consultants have significantly altered where consultants work and the way that they do business.
The democratization of the internet
The rise of the internet has profoundly affected the world of management consulting like nearly every other profession. In the case of management consulting, it has allowed teleconferencing and remote work. Companies can be careful and choose the consultants with the exact set of skills that they need. They may be able to contact former employees or superstar consultants who live in New York City or San Francisco. These formerly high-priced consultants no longer need to be flown out to the exact site of a company. Such flights are often expensive and restrict the amount of time that a consultant has to confront the problems that may be facing a company. A freelancer can simply work with a webcam and a cloud server. They can provide recommendations and talk to some or all of the employees at a company. These freelancers place a considerable amount of competition on local management consultants and consulting firms.
A merit-based system
Freelancers have greatly shifted the field of management consulting towards a more merit-based system. In a field where large firms often dominate, freelancers provide a better product often for less money. As a result, merit has become more important than pedigree for a large number of freelancers. Individuals are paid more for the results that they bring to a company. If a firm does not bring results and show that they are innovative, they can easily be replaced by one or two freelancers who can do the same job for significantly less money. This competition pushes firms to adopt new techniques for training staff, communicating with management, and structuring labor to provide the best possible results.
Freelance consultants partially change management consulting by allowing a company to hire a part-time in-house consultant. This freelance consultant often works for at least one company. He or she will travel to the company regularly and inspect the premises. When they are needed, they will provide a plan and consulting services for an agreed-upon fee.
This individual is technically a freelancer. They do not work full-time and are free to work with several different individuals. The vast majority of them are paid as a private contractor without the salary or health insurance benefits that full-time employees receive. But the possibility of having a freelancer act as an in-house consultant makes a long-term relationship possible at a low price point.
Management consulting is a field that will persist into the future. Companies will always have management problems that they outsource to consultants in order to solve. However, those consultants will have to navigate between freelance and firm status. They must have a clear understanding of their field and a desire to constantly innovate in order to prompt results. If not, competition and the power of the internet may render their particular position as a management consultant untenable.
Author Bio: Douglas Pitassi is a freelance writer and small business blogger.