Consulting® FEBRUARY 2016 33
and “fail-fast” prototyping are replacing traditional three- to five-year technology roadmaps. These
fast-moving enterprises require help implementing
agile IT infrastructure to serve as the platform for,
and enabler of, continuous innovation cycles.
➌ Leveraging a new framework for innovation. Since
it is very difficult in most industries to predict exactly
what technologies will dominate in the coming years,
the new agenda for leaders in this setting is rapid
retirement of ideas that don’t work and the scaling
up of those that do. This approach requires strategy,
ideation, design expertise and industry knowledge, as
well as advanced technology and tools.
➍ Access and ability to implement advanced technology. Advanced technologies including robotic
process automation, the Internet of Things (Io T) and
data analytics are accelerating innovation cycles and
providing new business opportunities across many
Expertise in implementing a wide range of technology types, along with the ability to apply technology
to strategy, is paramount for today’s consulting engagements, as shown in the following examples.
A leading U.S.-based medical devices and consumer goods manufacturer needed a better way
to monitor, provision and maintain thousands of
its endosurgery devices in the field. The company
engaged a consulting firm with expertise in the
Internet of Things (Io T) to assist in the design of a
connected device infrastructure.
The engagement yielded creation of an Io T-en-abled monitoring instrument that can plug into the
company’s thousands of devices in the field. The
benefits were dramatic, including a savings of $6
million annually and return on investment in under
one year, as well as improved customer satisfaction.
In another engagement, a consulting firm part-
nered with a home improvement retailer to mea-
sure the impact of online (web, mobile, digital mar-
keting) customer behaviors. The retailer knew that
customers discovering and researching products,
comparing prices and learning of promotions online
was having a significant impact on its in-store sales
—it just didn’t know how much.
The consulting firm collected data from multiple sources including point-of-sale, loyalty enrollments, web and mobile site traffic and sales,
mobile app usages and marketing clicks to
measure the overall impact of digital on the enterprise. Through advanced analytics, the project
team discovered that digital channels influenced
17 times more revenue in stores than was booked
online—hard-data validation of its digital strategy.
When the right mix of technology and strategy is
applied, the gains to clients can indeed be impressive. In a third engagement, a general merchandise
retail chain partnered with a consulting firm to
optimize its e-commerce performance. The consultant built an e-commerce performance dashboard
and then executed a variety of projects to improve
conversion, average order value and increased
traffic. The client realized a 40% improvement in
website conversion, a 45 percent improvement in
online revenue and a whopping 1,257 percent increase in the product gross margin rate.
STRATEGY WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY
IS NO STRATEGY AT ALL
Strategy consulting – by itself -- is becoming a
smaller percentage of the overall business, even for
established brands. A few years ago, strategy consulting and operations consulting were seen as entirely
separate areas of focus. Today, it’s no surprise that
the bulk of business strategy is technology-enabled.
No longer an afterthought, technology now is core to
most strategic enterprise initiatives. Consulting firms
that provide the full spectrum of strategy and technology assets, including technical tools and implementation expertise, stand to gain in this new environment.
Mark Livingston is Executive Vice President and Global
Head of Cognizant Business Consulting. In this role,
Mark is responsible for the overall strategy and running
of Cognizant’s Consulting practice which consists of
~ 5,500 consultants worldwide. He focuses on articulating
solutions for their critical business problems. Mark joined
Cognizant in 2008, and has since been instrumental in
leading Cognizant’s ‘3-in-a-box’ model to success, and
taking CBC to the next level.