Need for travel has been one reason why some of our jobs could not be outsourced to remote delivery & low cost off-shoring. If travel is fully or >50% eliminated, it can be a real threat to management consulting as we know it. So there needs to be an “optimal ratio” of travel to client locations, home office, and WFH, to protect our consulting models. Since we need some face time with clients, and some interaction with colleagues, the optimal balance should be possible. Share your thoughts.

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Do you really think that? We’ve worked with the offshore teams. They aren’t very good, and their English can be frustrating for the clients. It isn’t a dig at their aptitude, but I still think a lot of clients in the US want to know people are close by if they need them.

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BCG1 I work with a lot of different offshores teams for a majority of my client work. The gap between us on communication is rapidly dwindling, especially among the younger demo. I don’t think clients would be able to tell the difference appreciably other than an accent and a few missed cultural references. From what I’ve seen, it might take longer to get performing, but once there, there isn’t much difference in workflow.

Mind you I’m only talking about their grasp of english and ability to communicate. As SM1 above mentioned, there’s a lot more to delivery.

Companies don’t hire consultants because we’re willing to fly to go see them in person every week. They hire us for our brains.

If a part of the work we do can be offshored then it should be done. You shouldn’t see it as a threat but an opportunity to create more capacity and learn something new that’s valuable for the market.

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Totally agree with this. Our value goes beyond being on site 4 days a week.

Honestly we’ve been able to deliver the same, if not better results remotely on my current project, which is large and complex. Video calls make it essentially the same IMO

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I’ve worked on a remote project for about two years and we have both onshore and offshore presence. In my experience, the onshore team doesn’t need to physically go into the office unless there’s a specific meeting/working session with the client. We go 1-2x a month and only stay for 1-2 days. It works well and keeps expenses down. In my experience, clients always want a team they can rely on and working in the same/similar time zone helps along with language skills. I think the consulting industry will change but I hope it strikes a better balance even if it’s at the expense of losing out on points. I don’t miss M-Th travel and sleepless nights in a hotel tbh.

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One of the better projects that I had required similar travel schedule that MC1 mentioned. In person client meetings were productive when we had it. Most pleasant project ever for me and my team.

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Omg did they expand the character limit on posts?! Yay!

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What was the previous limit and what is it now?

Expect a pay cut if you expect to travel less. The inconvenience of travel is what commanded a premium.

Furthermore, expect top talent to shun the firms who shun travel. This is a key selling point to campus and B-school recruits the industry has to fight for every year.

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While doing in person workshops, monthly or quarterly reviews etc. helps, leading to occasional travel, being with the client at all times m-th is sooo overrated and outdated in these times. All it leads to is networking and politics and factions. we need sales folks and engagement leads at client site for these reasons, but the rest of the team onsite only leads to chatter, fiefdoms/silos, confusion and poor delivery most of the times.

The rest of the team as long as it delivers well, doesn’t matter where it is located. That is where implementation consultancies have better margins and chances of survival. Have worked on multiple projects with this approach and delivered great outcomes for the client and the firm and fantastic team morale.

The consultancies which depend on strategy, management consulting, marketing deliverables, ie a lot of documents and decks and yak-yak passing back and forth among the team and the clients needed to start looking at and finding better business models anyways in the age of cloud, covid19 and wfh have just accelerated that trend.

That is why MBB firms had already started developing digital and implementation offshoots in last couple of years.

Globalization and democratization of skills, knowledge, training, availability of talent and empathy across cultures is here to stay. Can’t put that genie back in the bottle even if it was done originally by the Western firms only to get better margins by offshoring.

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Already saw a large shift to Project Delivery Models and USI at Deloitte before COVID, can’t imagine how much more we’ll sell using those two vehicles to bid at more competitive rates post COVID meaning less of a need for traditional track employees that they’d normally keep on the bench.

I hear about Big4+ACN/Andersen before 2000s and they sound wild - summer parties on yachts, project trips to Monaco etc. My MD at ACN who was there from Andersen days used to talk about how early 2000s proved outsourcing works and unbeknownst to him at the time, it resulted in significantly less profit margins for the company. He calls this crisis the final nail in the coffin for geographical advantage.

Only hope is building small but powerful agile teams and deliver by project not by bodies/time. That's why I think MBB's new tech teams have a shot but it's a race to the bottom overall.

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Did this thought really keep you up?

Is that a real question? Where is the suggestion that this kept anyone up?

Consulting model IS moving towards offshoring anyway. Having worked as both a client facing and offshore consultant now during COVID, it has become very easy to spot that you only need sales points to be client facing. Everything else can and should be done offshore. Clients sees zero impact and consultancies make a huge margin. Why pay $100k for an analyst client side when the exact same quality can be delivered by $25k analyst in India, Poland or Argentina.

I work in tech consulting and a mix of offshore and onshore is key on implementations. Architecting, BA work, etc. tends to be onshore, with off shore being in charge of very specific development work. Even with fresh college hires, there’s an appreciable difference in output between onshore and offshore. It comes down to the tech stack and requirements when determining the ratio, but we will continue to have a need for both resource types.

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