BOOZ & COMPANY
This was a wait-and-see year as clients across the globe took stock of an uncertain environment. You had a presidential election in the United States, which affected the health care and
financial markets in particular. There was the seemingly chronic Eurozone debt crisis, lingering geopolitical unrest in the Middle East, and open speculation about the future growth rate
of China. Spending on certain types of consulting projects froze up, while we saw rapid take-up in other practice areas. It was a year of contradictions.
‘Unsettled’ is the New Normal
We’re seeing some pick-up in the wake of the U.S.
Presidential election and in other markets as the
future outlook becomes clearer, but the global
economy is far from out of the woods. No sooner
do we have resolution on the administration in Washington and
deficit deiscussions loom. So this
unsettled, anxious atmosphere
may well be our new normal.
And companies will need to take
a fresh look at their markets and
make some bold decisions on
who they want to be.
Who You Are Defines
I believe we’re at a threshold
juncture. For years, strategy was
all about where to go and where
to grow. You looked outward to
the market to ferret out pockets of
unsatiated demand, and then you
scaled up to capture that unmet
need. And your accumulated assets and investment acted as a
barrier to entry. I would argue that in most mature
markets, the benefits of scale have largely dried up
thanks to technology and globalization… and the
myriad avenues of progress they have opened up.
Now it’s no longer where to go and where to
grow… but who you are that defines your future
path to growth. You have to look within rather than
externally to discover what you do better than anyone else and how to leverage that to capture value
on a sustained basis. That’s a counter-intuitive perspective to many, but once you break through the
resistance, you unleash a tremendous amount of
creative and highly motivating energy.
We’ve been seeing a lot of activity in the past
few months in areas where we have focused intensively on bringing something differentiated to
market: We call them our differentiation platforms. One is our ‘Fit for Growth’ platform,
which is a set of services, tools, analytic capabilities, and foresight we’ve developed around
cost and operating model transformation. This is
not traditional cost-cutting; rather it’s re-allocat-ing resources and investment to those few capabilities that define your company and set it apart.
That’s how you reposition your organization for
growth in the midst of uncertain or even unpleasant economic times. Another is Digitization. We just enhanced our own capabilities
significantly in this area with the addition of a
boutique that specializes in end-to-end digital
solutions, Axon Advisory partners. This offering
will be part of our broader Digitization platform
of strategy, design and execution services and
makes us the premier global consulting firm in
this space. Everybody is scrambling to define
an offering in this arena, and we’ve established
a great head start.
‘The Developed World is Fatigued’
Markets around the world will continue to be
highly challenging. The developed world is fatigued—five years of battling waves of economic
and financial crises will do that to you. And emerging, fast-growing markets present a different set of
challenges—they have young, middle class consumers who bring dramatically higher expectations to the table. It’s not enough to be the first or
the biggest anymore. You have to be the best at
what you do. And that’s why we continue to believe that capabilities are the key to success, no
matter the sector or geography.
January 2013 Consulting