As the global digital transformation market for consultants grew by a staggering 70.8% to US$48.5bn in 2017, Deloitte, the leading global consulting firm in this market in 2016, saw itself get knocked off the top spot by Accenture.

The US digital transformation market—the largest and most mature—was also one of the fastest growing, expanding by 77% in 2017. However, in terms of growth rates, the US was outpaced by China, which saw growth of 82%, with local digital giants such as Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent being a key driving force behind this. The much smaller UK market also grew considerably, expanding by 75% in 2017.

These figures are published in a new report from the leading research and strategy firm for the global professional services industry, Source Global Research. This report reveals that the digital transformation market is growing so fast that it is colonising traditional consulting services. Another significant finding of the report is that as clients find changing people to be the most difficult part of digital transformation programmes, they are frustrated by the fact that consultants are not engaging effectively with the people side of transformation.

Fiona Czerniawska, Director at Source Global Research, said:
“Many clients are saying that their consultants do so much around technology and process change but don’t seem to be able to engage with the human dimension of transformation.

The strengths and weaknesses of consulting firms vary greatly in this area—both in terms of how they position their digital transformation stories and how effectively they engage with clients. However, our research in this market has led us to identify McKinsey, PwC, Cognizant, IBM, and EY as the firms that we think have the best chance of success.”

The Source report also finds that the top 10 firms’ share of the market has reduced, from almost 60% of the overall market in 2016 to just over half in 2017. Source says that this should

sound a warning bell to the bigger firms, nearly all of whom have lost share, and who are likely to see their pre-eminence threatened further as the market continues to evolve.

In addition, the report finds that although two-thirds of clients say that the quality of digital transformation work done by consulting firms is either “high” or “very high”, they don’t believe it’s as good as the work they do in more traditional areas, such as business strategy, or in areas where the impact of work is more measurable, such as sales & marketing and data & analytics.

Zoë Stumpf, Head Analyst at Source Global Research, added:
“Digital transformation isn’t alone in performing below par as technology services generally do badly, but this should still be a cause for concern, given the extent to which consulting firms are relying on digital transformation to fuel their growth plans.”

Although collectively the Big Four accounting firms hold the largest share of the digital transformation market, the profile of technology firms has certainly increased. Not only does Accenture now have the largest share of the overall market, but Cognizant has also entered the top 10 for the first time.

Trevor Gruzin, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Strategy, APAC, concluded:
“Digital disruption is impacting everything: It impacts where companies should place their bets, their transformation agenda, their business and operating models, customer and workforce engagement, the building of new digital capabilities, and even operational improvement. Digitisation is touching every part of the traditional consulting services landscape.”

For more information on Source reports contact, telephone +44 (0)20 3478 1204, or visit more