The Stack Archive

Has the status quo of IT consultancy come to an end?

Mon 14 Dec 2015


marek-whatmatrixMarek Bell, Chief Technology Officer of WhatMatrix discusses the crowdsourced future of consultancy…

Consulting and IT services have always been at the core of the IT industry.  Conservatively a $50B global market*, it is today dominated by a few large IT consultancy firms who act as gatekeepers to this market whilst smaller consultancy firms typically cater to specific regional or niche areas.

Unlike the radical shifts in other areas of the IT landscape, the arrangement of large service companies addressing the bulk of the market has remained remarkably consistent.  Whilst this model has persisted over decades, it is questionable whether it will continue to be feasible for marshalling expertise in the dense and fast-moving landscape of today.

As the Internet continues to progress to decentralisation and allows more users to participate and have their voices heard we see a shift towards empowering individuals with an increasing amount of direct control. Social and professional platforms — like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook — enable individuals to extend their professional profile into broader communities. Novel mobile services such as Uber enable the taxi driver to be his own boss, whilst platforms such as AirBnB enable people to have greater control over their own spaces and be their own hotel operator.  Whilst these platforms demonstrate a fantastic distribution of power to individuals, there is still a need to preserve fundamental consumer requirements around integrity and trust in the services.

In the same way as these industries have been disrupted through empowering individuals, I and others in the IT industry believe there can be a new approach to Enterprise IT consultancy.  Indeed, I see disruption in this space as an inevitability.

Whilst access to a plethora of information has become easier through forums, wikis and other websites, it remains challenging to identify product evaluations and comparisons that can truly be trusted.  The fast-paced news cycle can result in sites simply parroting the copy provided by the vendors themselves.  Alternatively, a well-written and well-considered article may be treated with suspicion because it appears to come from a ‘random’ community member.  These issues highlight a greater problem in that the reader has a lack of trust in the article; they have no insight into where the copy originated or who has ‘ownership’ over the article.

Another issue can be that information can quickly become dated.  White papers and blogs can prove difficult to update over time and there is often no easy method to provide the authors with corrections or feedback.

Finally, it is a real shame that many sites fail to create a sustainable ecosystem by not promoting and enabling the contributing individuals who create and care about the content that drives the sites.  Many organisations and sites view these individuals as expendable resources rather than what they should be – the respected core of the site.

I believe these challenges can be addressed by exploiting the same liberating Internet trends mentioned earlier. The ability to provide curated data coupled with transparent public scrutiny is made possible through the emergence of new web platforms and operating models.  Platforms which focus on an inclusive community approach will unlock the next evolution of how Enterprise IT insight and expertise is sourced – I term this novel approach crowdsourced consultancy.

“Imagine what the impact is when leading industry experts unite on a unique industry platform and share their unbiased and independent insights about Hyper Converged, Software Defined Storage, Virtualization, Backup and Cloud Management. You get access to a powerhouse that takes technical content management to a whole new level and disrupts the status quo of consultancy,” said Ruben Spruijt, CTO at Atlantis Computing.

There is clearly an appetite in the market for  analysis to be delivered in a transparent way. For the end user or consultant looking for information, this translates into having access to tools which analyse product capabilities, address weaknesses and create automated reports. However, most interestingly in a decentralised model of consultancy, the contributing experts are at the heart of all efforts. By empowering contributors I believe it is possible to redefine how consultancy is delivered, this is just the beginning!

*(Kennedy market data 2015)


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