Pre-millennium, the consulting industry seemed poised for unlimited growth. Now, the souring economy and e-hangover have caused industry analysts to rethink the coming year.

So what’s in store for 2001? Here are some predictions:

  • The hot e-consultancies of 1999 will look even more like disco singers in 1979—hopelessly out of fashion.
  • Smug, old-fashioned consulting firms will enjoy a brief rebirth—and then realize that technology is driving business and that their future survival depends on building credible capabilities.
  • There will be one major hardware/consulting alliance, because HP and other PC-makers have to play the services game.
  • Half a dozen companies will claw for the top of the consulting pyramid as the industry goes through an auto-industry-type shakeout and eliminates the midsize Tuckers of the world.
  • Just like reengineering’s fantastic flameout in the early ’90s, one-trick ponies will be shot behind the barn as e-business service providers compete on price.

In short, chaos will abound to usher in the real New Millennium. The year 2000 will seem like a dream by comparison.

Heard on the street
Internet consultancy eLine sent this mock news release to PR Newswire in the midst of last month’s layoffs: “eLine Inc. said today it would fire one employee, or two percent of its workforce, in order to reduce costs and improve sagging morale among co-workers…. The layoff is part of a not-so-major restructuring, which will also include a cleaning out of the refrigerator and the sale of all or part of several Sega Dreamcast games left behind (by the employee).”

Not surprisingly, PR Newswire didn’t run the piece. Party poopers.
Inside Consulting is written by Tom Rodenhauser as a free weekly supplement to The Rodenhauser Report. The report informs senior advisors and business executives of consulting trends and best practices. Subscription cost is $295 per year for 10 issues. Copyright 2000, Consulting Information Services, LLC. Reproduction is prohibited. Quotation with attribution is encouraged.