Consultant News reposts:
" Over the last year, Accenture has succeeded in putting far more space (at least in volume terms) between itself and its nearest rivals, to a point where it now matches McKinsey's share of the thought leadership market with 9% of the total and IBM is in fourth place with 5%. Indeed, if anything, Accenture seems to be modelling its position on that of a strategy firm rather than a broader IT and consulting firm, with over a third of its output focussed on economic/market studies and strategy formulation."
In India, Accenture's entry was as a strategy and operations consulting firm, and only after 2000 did it start reflecting the US firm's technology focus. Now it's slated to have more employees in India than in US.
So it's interesting that it is moving focus back to strategy consulting from the technology and outsourcing practices.
What is interesting is that Indian IT firms are also showcasing their thought leadership though their focus is mostly technological.
"As the Indian offshorers develop their consulting practices they are already having an impact on the thought leadership rankings. In terms of volume of material, Infosys is the leading offshore firm, marginally ahead of Wipro, with Tata Consultancy Services trailing some way behind. The thought leadership of all three remains very technology-centric.
Certainly as far as thought leadership goes, the boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred between the traditional "strategy" firms, the big IT consultancies and the offshorers. "
But what is thought leadership and why is it important for consulting firms?
Thought leadership, according to me (feel free to add to it) is the ability of a firm to bring out original ideas to the area of consulting it offers. It is dependent on what issues clients are facing, forecasting the future and thinking of new and sometimes, conceptual models that benefit both clients and the overall management community. The McKinsey 7 S model and BCG's growth matrix are two classic examples of thought leadership.
Why is thought leadership important?
Simple, great thought leadership means never having to 'pitch' or 'sell' for business. You are invited for talks with the CEO (in the case of strategy firms) and the CTO (in the case of IT Consulting firms)
That ensures that no Partner from the big consulting firms approaches a CEO like Bill Gates or Howard Stringer and says, "Let me tell you how our Managment Consulting Group can help you craft the strategy for your new gaming console."