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Three Ways IBM is Changing the Game in Consulting
October 28, 2021

Forget your stereotypical vision of the road warrior and PowerPoint master, flying out to see the client on Monday morning and coming home Thursday night. We’ve entered the golden age of consulting.

Forget your stereotypical vision of the road warrior and PowerPoint master, flying out to see the client on Monday morning and coming home Thursday night. We’ve entered the golden age of consulting.

Consulting is a unique profession because it has always been shaped by clients and their evolving needs. Over the last year, business changed faster and across more dimensions than ever before, and consulting evolved right along with it.

Business leaders need to transform processes and systems across the enterprise – picture building the plane as you’re flying it – with outcomes delivered along the way instead of at the end of years-long projects.

The new tension of modern business is to relentlessly evolve while leading with empathy. Organizations are looking for a new breed of consultant that is a trusted advisor who understands their challenges and brings a fresh perspective, but who is grounded in expertise in business and technology.

IBM has always held a unique position at the intersection of business, technology and society, and has been at the consulting game for decades. But today is a new day. Here’s how IBM Consulting – the company’s professional services arm – is redefining consulting:  

Taking a human-centered approach to business transformation – “with you, not to you”

Business today depends on being open to collaborative approaches with a range of partners. It’s a make-or-break decision for many, as the global IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) 2021 CEO Study showed 63 percent of outperforming CEOs surveyed said partnerships have become more important for driving business performance.

Consultants at IBM co-create, co-operate and co-execute with their clients, and are dedicated to a growth mindset in which every setback is a moment for growing. They are builders of solutions aligned to what clients need, not just what is on the truck. IBM’s strategy is built on an open hybrid multicloud approach, and consultants bring both a point of view and expertise in hybrid cloud transformation and management with Red Hat OpenShift to help clients build an application once and run it anywhere. 

Accelerating outcomes with modern methods and tools

Acceleration isn’t just moving faster. It means being the trusted partner that helps clients get to value more quickly and being the first to apply transformative technologies that can change the face of industries and drive real societal impact.

IBM Consulting pioneered IBM Garage – a unique method that acts as an end-to-end model for digital transformation that has helped companies from Frito-Lay to Siemens drive lasting change. IBM Garages convene experts in industries, processes and exponential technologies alongside IBM Research teams pushing forward the boundaries of technology like Quantum computing.

The necessity of virtual work catalyzed the next era of delivery—which IBM calls Dynamic Delivery—which looks across processes, people and a cloud-based delivery foundation. It means assembling the right experts for a particular client’s solution, no matter where that consultant might sit in the world. This provides clients with the best and most diverse team of consultants and can also drive down costs and reduce carbon footprints. It’s also an important option for consultants who are looking for more flexible work options and improved work-life balance post-pandemic.

Engaging with empathy and commitment

Leaders today are under enormous pressure to serve not only their clients and shareholders but drive positive change at scale for the planet and their people. They want consulting partners who share their values and ambition.

IBM has long been defined by its values, which means leading by example in ethical AI or diversity and inclusion, as well as how it works with clients. IBM Consulting shares risk and reward with clients, accountable for the outcomes they say they will drive – even designing contracts around the delivery of specific outcomes.

It’s not just about the work. It’s about personal commitment to clients’ success, and their people’s success. IBM invests heavily in their consultants’ skills, career growth and a culture of true diversity and inclusion where everyone can bring their full selves to work. The IBM Work From Home Pledge created during the early days of the pandemic was born in the IBM Consulting business because of one person’s moment of difficultly balancing work and life, and a conversation she had with her leadership team. It grew to a company-wide effort that lives on today.

Just like their clients, IBM Consulting seeks to restlessly evolve and constantly build new skills. The company invested $308 million in employee learning programs in 2020 alone, and uses its own AI technology in an internal personalized learning platform that helps employees reskill and upskill.

That deep understanding of the latest hybrid cloud and AI technologies, combined with innovative thinking on how savvy business leaders can apply IT for competitive advantage, gives IBM Consulting a unique position in the marketplace.

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