Integration in the global consulting market
One of the main modern trends in the consulting industry in the world is integration. Professional consulting associations exist in many countries of the world. They can combine both individual consultants and consulting firms. The main tasks of professional associations and institutes of consultants are to ensure and guarantee the high quality of consulting services and professional behavior of their members.
Since 1987, world conferences of management consultants have been held in Paris (1987), new York (1990), Rome (1993), Yokohama (1996), and Berlin (2000). The documents of the 4th world Congress of consultants state that consulting is already a global sector of the economy — an industry in the process of becoming.
An authoritative consulting Association is the international Council of management consulting institutes (ICMCI). It is a network of consultant associations around the world that share a common mission, values, and goals. National institutions that are members of the Council carry out the certification procedure for consultants in accordance with the Amsterdam standard. Currently, the Council consists of 37 permanent members and 8 temporary members .
ICMCI was founded in 1987 to ” encourage closer collaboration between all consulting organizations, primarily those that register or certify self-employed management consultants.” The goal of this close collaboration is to accelerate the achievement of the common goals of national organizations, and in particular to help strengthen the standards of professional management consulting and work on the recognition and quality of the Certified management consultant’s mark.
In 2001, in recognition of the important role of management consulting in the practice of world trade, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) awarded the International Council of management consulting institutes the status of a non-Governmental organization in the “Consulting”profile.
In September 2010, Jordan hosted the annual ICMCI world Congress. It brought together representatives of 45 countries. The Congress agenda includes evaluating national institutions for compliance with the certification procedure for consultants in accordance with the Amsterdam standard.
In addition, new international ICMCI projects were announced. Including:
Project for integrating the Amsterdam standard with the ISO standard;
International project for certification of large consulting companies;
Project of interaction with academic science.
According to the Russian participant of the Congress, international certified consultant M. A. Ivanov, national institutions are actively developing in Austria, China (8 thousand certified consultants), Canada, Korea, and the Middle East.
Among the leading international professional associations of consulting firms:
European Federation of management Consulting Associations (FEACO). It was founded in 1960 in Paris, and in 1991 its headquarters were moved to Brussels. Currently, 25 national associations of European countries are members of FEACO (one from each country, including 17 from Western Europe and 8 from Central and Eastern Europe). FEACO member associations include 1,200 consulting firms with more than 12,000 consultants .
Association of management consulting firms (AMCF). It was founded in 1929 and is the world’s oldest consulting Association. Originally the national Association of consulting firms in the United States (ACME), IT de facto designated itself as an international Association in the mid-1990s, introducing the subtitle “world Association of consulting firms”in its name. Unlike FEACO, AMCF is not yet an international Association, but a transnational one, since its international status is based on the fact that the members of THIS organization are the largest American consulting firms with branches in almost all regions of the world.
In addition to professional consulting associations, there are also organizations in which consultants are included along with other management professionals: teachers, professional managers, etc.these organizations include the European Foundation for management development (EFMD), the Association for management development in Central and Eastern Europe (CEEMAN), the American management Association (AMA), and the all-Japan Federation of management organizations (ZEN-NOH-REN).
In General, the consulting services sector is developing at a faster pace than other sectors of the world economy. Special development of the consulting services market is expected in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS, China, Korea,and the Middle East.
Specifics of the integration process in Russia
The market of consulting services is becoming more and more civilized in its development. At the same time, consulting cannot be much more civilized than business as a whole (although it moves “in the vanguard”). By definition, consulting services are primarily aimed at meeting business needs. Always these needs are of a civilized nature?
The Russian consulting market is competitive in relation, for example, to Ukraine and other CIS countries. However, the international community has recognized the Chinese market for consulting services as more promising in the coming years.
Integration processes stimulate systematization of approaches and methods in consulting, market transparency, awareness of the consultant community and their potential and existing customers, increase the level of competence and authority of a professional consultant, and therefore the customer’s opinion about his professionalism. The responsibility of consultants for the results of their activities, the level of their education and the requirements for them on the part of the employer — owner and/or Manager of the consulting company is increased.
“…The Russian soil turned out to be fertile for the rapid growth of civilized business consulting. The state has only to evaluate the seedlings and legalize the activities of the indefatigable workers of the intellectual fields. This, of course, requires a law. In the meantime, consultants are not protected by any legal acts. Not from clients. Neither from each other” .
Integration processes both domestically and internationally are slowed down by the lack of transparency in the business of most Russian consultants. Least of all, this applies to companies that participate in ratings and professional communities; while most consulting companies — although not determinative — remain outside of these processes. Many market participants still prefer direct marketing methods, simple advertising moves to participation in the integration process, openness, work on their own professional status, image formation, and a stable business reputation.
By promoting civilized methods of working in the market (by legislating and informing them and publicly condemning their non-performance), the professional community is able to persuade fellow consultants to cooperate (when it is not prestigious and, therefore, unprofitable to remain outside of such a community). But, of course, this imposes a special responsibility on the organizers of the community, its management team and the members of the community themselves.
Such cooperation will be more extensive if the intensity of orders for consulting services from business organizations from the CIS countries increases, i.e. if their involvement in the field of marketing influence of consultants improves.
In April 2008, a Scientific and practical conference “Current problems and prospects for the development of consulting in Russia” was held, where, in particular, issues of integration in the market of consulting services were considered. In his report , V. V. Egorov spoke about the practice of establishing partnerships in the consulting community.
Competition continues to increase in the consulting market, with a number of small and medium-sized companies leaving the market. On the one hand, they will merge with larger companies, so-called business concentration occurs, on the other hand, many leaders of small companies are increasingly inclined to individual practice, thereby minimizing overall costs.
At the same time, the level of requirements for consultants on the part of clients is constantly increasing, and the market situation is changing. Very often, clients ‘ problems require complex solutions from consultants. As you know, the resources of small and medium-sized consulting companies are very limited.
The solution can be found in establishing partnerships between consultants. With the right combination of competencies and efforts of small companies, the client can get effective solutions to their most complex tasks.
There are many examples of establishing partnerships between companies that provide intellectual services on the market. There are several principles of cooperation between consultants:
– complement each other by specialization, to improve the quality of services;
– complement each other in quantitative terms to provide large-scale services;
– complement each other by covering different territories.
For example, companies specializing in branding seek to establish partnerships with advertising and PR agencies, design studios, and information agencies. When developing a business process model for a large enterprise, the capabilities of one small consulting company are often not enough, and therefore business analysts from other companies are additionally involved. Local marketing companies are involved in conducting market research in remote regions.
In this regard, many consultants seek to establish sustainable partnerships with each other. These relationships allow consultants to be confident in their offers and obligations to clients. Of course, establishing a constructive partnership between small and medium-sized consulting companies increases their competitiveness in the market. The more partner relationships, the more opportunities the consulting company has to provide services to the client.
Partnerships will be established faster and more effectively if they occur in a favorable environment. Such an environment can be formed on the sites of various associations and associations of consultants. The formats of associations are very different, ranging from highly regulated to the most open.
Currently, there are more than a dozen professional consulting associations operating in Russia, and there are many more nominally existing ones. Among them:
Association of consultancies in the field of public relations (AKOS);
– Association of recruitment consultants;
– Association of consultants for Economics and management (ACEM);
– Association of consulting companies (ASCONCO);
– Association of organizational psychology;
– Business Association Of employees of Marketing Information Consulting Services (DARMIX);
-Business coaches club;
– Inter-regional public organization of coaches and Consultants INTERTRAINING;
– Moscow methodological circle (MMK) and the Foundation. G. P. Shchedrovitsky;
– Moscow methodological and pedagogical circle;
– National Guild of Professional Consultants (NGPC);
– National Institute of certified management consultants (NISC);
– National information and marketing center for business services;
– Non-profit organization ” Association for the development of financial communications and investor relations “(ARFI»);
– Non-profit partnership ” Guild of marketers»;
– Chamber of tax consultants of Russia-professional community of tax and collection consultants;
– Metaconsulting Project;
– Professional Association of Russian-speaking coaches;
– Russian Association of Business Education (RABO);
– Russian marketing Association (RAM);
– Russian Association for market research (RARI);
– Russian Project Management Association (SOVNET);
– Union of independent business coaches, consultants and coaches;
– Union Of Professional Audit Organizations
Among the regional Russian consulting associations it should be noted:
– Association of consultants of the Kaliningrad region (Kaliningrad).
– Association of coaches and consultants (Saint Petersburg);
– Non-profit partnership of professional consultants ” Consulting of Siberia “(Novosibirsk);
– Nizhny Novgorod Guild of professional consultants (Nizhny Novogorod).
M. A. Pronin, an active and experienced participant in the formation of the professional consulting community in Russia, describes in detail the ways of creating, developing and “dying” professional associations of Russian consultants and coaches, and the specifics of a professional Association as a special type of organization, in his article “Professional associations that we can afford” .
He rightly argues that “in any professional Association /the ideal/ the three basic process — the satisfaction of the internal customer, i.e. member associations, the development of the Association itself as an organization and service Association General market of interest… If the first direction is the satisfaction of the internal customer — the members are ready to support your personal resource because of the obvious impact, the development of enterprises is an additional cost, the benefit of which is doubtful. For example, the development of an Association may lead to the fact that it will compete in the market with organizations owned by members of the Association. In order to invest resources in the development of a competitor, you need to be not only an altruist, but also a fool. There are no such professionals who earn their bread with their own hump. This is one of the main obstacles that most professional associations, not only coaches and consultants, cannot overcome. ” 
Market-wide tasks of the national professional community require appropriate resources: professional knowledge, the ability to build and manage an organization of this type, time, material resources and funds for development. “There is an investment pit that professional associations “on the member resource” will not be able to overcome. Here we must talk about coalition institutional projects supported by a democratic state and sane funds. However, there is another obstacle: foundations and the state must share power with professional associations. The state must recognize public professional opinion. It would be foolish to expect this in an era of “unpopular but understandable measures” . Although, perhaps, the state and foundations are already ready and would even be happy to share power, but there are no Mature associations that have firmly risen above the first phase of development in Russia yet. There was a well-known syndrome in the management of S. Korolev: to build a rocket, you need a million rubles, and to give a million rubles-you need a rocket.
Therefore, another obstacle is purely managerial. The task, to be tackled by a professional Association, it is highly non-trivial to combine three processes. The first is the process of satisfying the internal client, which ensures its advanced development in comparison with the development of needs in the training and consulting market. The second is the process of organizational development of the Association, which is not possible without the involvement of its members: otherwise, they will not perceive the Association as their own child. And the third is the process of bringing associations to solve General market problems” .
So far, the Russian community has not solved this non-trivial task ,and therefore ” we have to find an optimum point, a consensus between the interests of the members and the interests of the Association as an organization, between the interests of internal and external clients. And these associations face the problem of their qualitative transformation in conditions of acute shortage of resources: financial, mental, organizational and technological” .
With the onset of the global financial crisis at the end of 2008, professional associations of consultants, as well as the entire consulting market, found themselves in new difficult conditions that forced them to significantly revise their activities.
Most of the experts interviewed during the preparation of this material agreed that the objective need for integration increased during the crisis . When companies and individual consultants faced the question of survival, they realized the advantages of combining. The desire for communication and new contacts has increased. All this has led to the emergence of new consulting associations on the market.
According to the General Director of the National Guild of Professional Consultants (NGPC), L. V. Chukina, today there is a question of specialization and positioning of various communities. Competition between associations is increasing, but differentiation is also increasing. This gives additional opportunities to consultants and makes the market more civilized.
According to the survey participants, the main tasks of professional associations are to ensure the cooperation of different specialists within the project, to prepare new consulting staff, and to promote the self-development of consultants.
As the representative Of the Association of consulting companies “ASCONCO” S. E. Emelyanova noted, it is necessary to jointly develop the market, deal with promotion issues, be able to recommend related parties, and invite other consultants to the project.
Associations are looking for new ways to work with their members. Thus, NGPC organized a club for informal communication of consultants, and ASCONCO publishes the Association’s Bulletin.
In parallel, we are turning to international experience and integrating it into international consulting.
At the same time, Russian consultants do not and did not have faith in a miracle. Everyone understands that integration alone will not solve all the problems. Therefore, many market participants are cautious in assessing the role of consulting associations.
Thus, the management consultant, Vice-President of nisu M. A. Ivanov believes that the associations were not prepared for the crisis. They did not work in terms of helping consultants find clients, because they are not authoritative in the client environment. First of all, it is necessary to raise awareness among clients, not among colleagues — this is a lesson for consulting associations.
Modern ideas about integrated consulting
At the international level, the concept of “integrated (integrative) consulting” was officially introduced at the world Congress of consultants in Yokohama in 1996. In the late 1990s, this term was used in Russian special literature on consulting .
The methodological foundations of integrated consulting (IC) in Russia in 2000 — 2007 were actively developed by V. S. Dudchenko (d. SOC.Sciences, Professor) [2, 3, 4, 6]. A significant number of trainers and consultants took part in the self-development school seminars organized by him.
Integrated consulting at the content level organically combines the types of consulting that solve interrelated problems: diagnostics (analysis, study) of the problem field, organization of solving customers ‘ problems (by expert or process means) and training them in effective ways to solve problems. Thus, we can say that integrated consulting combines such different types of consulting activities as analytical consulting, permitting consulting and training consulting .
Integrated consulting, as a rule, is carried out to solve complex problems in the organization of business processes (business processes) in the interests of large customers (heads of significant business structures, industry associations, authorities, etc.) in conditions of uncertainty in the formulation of tasks and, as a result, in the choice of methods for solving them.
It is characterized by the team principle of work on setting a task in the interests of a particular customer and developing systemically organized forms and methods for their solution.
It is used primarily for consulting work and services that are search-based in nature, and is thus clearly innovative.
The main principles of integrated consulting are:
Teamwork – makes it possible to combine (based on the positive professional experience of each participant and common team principles) diverse consulting approaches and methods.
Consistency – allows you to create an adequate Toolkit (methodological apparatus), system-oriented to solve the task in order to achieve the main goal of the work.
Innovativeness-provides a conscious permissibility of searching for and applying new combinations of forms and methods of consulting in the process of working with the customer.
Phasing-provides for the implementation of consulting projects in stages with mandatory examination of the results perceived by the customer, when moving from one stage of the project to another.
Consulting services for consultants
Practical consulting develops unevenly and in different ways. Theoretical calculations do not always keep up with practice-oriented business consultants.
Consulting brokerage has recently appeared and has already become a separate line of business. The existing Western “consulting on the selection of consultants” is already beginning to be applied in Russia. Consulting service brokers make presentations of consulting companies with a brief summary of the programs, conditions, terms and price expectations of the contractor, select the necessary consulting company or individual consultants, accompany contracts throughout their validity period, represent the client’s interests in the consulting services market, conduct training and one-time trainings. These approaches are currently being developed by the national Guild of Professional Consultants (NGPC).
In the context of economic growth and the aggravation of internal contradictions in the Russian consulting market, there is a need to manage the profession, in particular, the quality of services provided by consultants and the quality of the set prices. For this purpose, the national Institute of certified management consultants (NISC) was established in 2003. This Institute (President — doctor of philosophy.A. I. Prigozhin) has been carrying out the certification procedure for Russian consultants in accordance with the Amsterdam standard since 2004. This work is carried out under the patronage of the International Council of management consulting institutes (ICMCI). From 2004 to 2010, more than 30 Russian management consultants were certified.
The School of management consultants of the Academy of national economy (ANH) under the government of the Russian Federation works in close cooperation with NISC. The main feature of school education is the transfer of methods, technologies, procedures and consulting skills. A graduate of SHKU receives a state diploma certifying his right to engage in professional activities in the field of management consulting.
Since 2008, there is an Association of consulting companies in Russia (ASCONCO), whose main goals are to help improve the quality of consulting services and protect the interests of the developing consulting market. ASCONCO is also working on joining the European Federation of management consulting associations (FEACO).
The Association of economic and management consultants (ACEU) offers certification Of consulting companies and individual consultants according to FEACO standards.
Research on the consulting services market is still experimental. But the interest in these studies in the professional consulting environment is steadily growing.
The Director of the Siberian school of Consultants, N. I. Plotnikov, based on a study of the standards of the world’s leading associations and federations of consulting, developed a Code of professional conduct for management consultants and the main standards of the non-profit partnership of professional consultants “Consulting Siberia”, and in 2002 published a reference book “Find a consultant” as part of a special project of the partnership.
Marketing research on the market of consulting services is also carried out in the regions of the Russian Federation . Surveys of consultants and their clients are conducted, and the demand for consulting services from corporate consumers is analyzed.
In recent years, Russian consulting has found itself in difficult conditions and is once again undergoing a “test of strength”. In many ways, the crisis has brought recovery to the consulting market. We gradually get rid of all unnecessary things: unprofessional solutions, far-fetched approaches, banal and useless recommendations for the client. We refer more meaningfully to the world experience of effective consulting work. We are moving towards integration not only in the domestic market, but also in the international market.
Most experts are cautiously optimistic about the future . As we overcome the crisis in the economy, there will be a growing need for truly professional consultants who can offer real mechanisms for improving business efficiency. The consulting community will no doubt understand the lessons of the crisis and start working at a new qualitative level.
I would like to believe that Russian consulting will successfully overcome the “turbulence zone” and will confidently move to new horizons.
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Shevchenko S. G.
Chapter from the book ” in the zone of turbulence. Russian consulting companies in the context of the global crisis»