Analyzing Trends in Q1 2019: Beckway Group’s Index of Consulting Firm White Papers

Executive Summary

Beckway Group has published its Consulting Firm White Paper Index for Q1 2019. We selected 26 of the leading management consulting firms, reviewed their knowledge papers, and categorized this information into themes. Our examination was further refined by placing each theme within three frameworks: industry, functional solutions and geography. This analysis provides critical insight into what the leading consulting firms believe are the most relevant management topics in the corporate world.

In Q1 2019, we incorporated an analysis of 813 knowledge papers

  • The healthcare/pharmaceutical industry took the spotlight, representing 9% of the total, which made it the largest industry topic surveyed by the consulting firms. It gained an edge over financial services/business & strategy, the forerunning topic of focus in Q4 2018. In the functional solutions framework, company/industry strategy & review emerged with the highest level of interest at 12%, a 3% increase from last quarter.
  • The geographical themes were mostly unchanged compared to Q4 2018, with only China and Asia/Pacific swapping places from quarter to quarter. Ranked highest to lowest are the U.S., Europe, UK/Russia, China, and Asia/Pacific, representing 39% of all articles. The focus on North America remained consistent at 1%. However, this does not account for the 57% of articles published without a specific geographical focus, which we designated as “global.”

Industry View

The healthcare/pharmaceutical industry took the prime spot at 9% for Q1 2019. The financial services/business & strategy industry plummeted from its number one spot at 13% in Q4 2018 to 6% in Q1 2019, barely cracking the top five list of topics. This could be a result of the financial market’s comeback in Q1 2019 after it took a hit in Q4 2018. Healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry continue to be hot topics for a vast majority of Americans and are increasingly becoming more prevalent with the upcoming Presidential election in 2020. (See Tables 1 & 2).

The second major industry, which rose from the number four spot in Q4 2018, was IT/BPO/communications, with 61 articles accounting for 7% overall. The level of attention to this category has increased while companies search for ways to cut costs by relying on business process outsourcing (BPO). Economy/tax remains an attention-worthy topic filling the number three spot with 57 articles representing 7% overall. This topic continues to grasp attention due to the current Administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law signed in 2017. The number four spot, representing 53 articles and 6% overall, is the automotive/robotics category focusing on the increase of production of automated/self-driving vehicles and the expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) in daily life.

Table 1


Table 2


Functional Solutions View

In the functional solutions category, our analysis revealed that technology and transformation took a back seat in Q1 2019 to company/industry strategy & review, with 97 articles accounting for 12% of the total. These articles focused on company health plans and oil and gas use. Technology and transformation was closely followed by government policy/rules & regulation, at 11%, which dropped a percentage point from last quarter. Consumer/market analysis filled spot number four, at 10%, and digitization/smart technology came in last with 9% of the overall articles. When combined, the top four categories represented just under half of the total, at 45%. The biggest percentage decrease from Q4 2018 to Q1 2019 was automation/innovation, dropping from 10% to 6%. The largest percentage increase was in company/industry strategy & review, rising from 9% to 12%. (See Tables 3 and 4).

Table 3


Table 4


Geographical View

More than half (57%) of the articles published did not have a specific geographical focus, so we classified them as “global” (See Tables 5 & 6). The remainder of knowledge papers, as predicted, featured the U.S. as its main geographical focus, and represented 25% of the total. Rounding out the top five were Europe, UK/Russia, China and, Asia/Pacific.

Table 5


Table 6


About the Index

Beckway Group calculates the index because we believe that understanding the trends of leading management consulting firms is both informative and important.

Our website serves as a research center for these topics since we provide full-length links to the individual papers.

The index is calculated by reviewing white papers on the websites of the management consulting sample set, which is listed below. Each knowledge paper is reviewed and assigned a theme. In a minority of cases, multiple themes are assigned, each receiving a proportional score such that each knowledge paper is only recorded as a single entry.

We appreciate Empulse Global’s assistance in this analysis.

The list of firms included in Q1 2019 are listed below:

Accenture Consulting
Alix Partners
Alvarez and Marsal
Arthur D Little
AT Kearney
Bain & Company
Deloitte Consulting
FTI Consulting
Grant Thorton Consulting
Huron Consulting Group
IBM Consulting
KPMG Management Consulting
LEK Consulting
Oliver Wyman
Parthenon – EY
PWC Advisory
Roland Berger
Simon-Kucher and Partners
ZS Associates

About Beckway Group
Beckway Group provides operational capabilities through operating partners, proprietary execution software and talent finders to private equity funds to support due diligence and enhance their portfolio investment performance.

Contact Details

Danyell Lance, Chief People Officer, BeckWay Group.


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