May, 2020
IDC MarketScape Excerpt Digital Paper Plus:

Worldwide Business Consulting Services
2020 Vendor Assessment

Published By:
This Excerpt Features: Accenture

Gard Little
& Bjoern Stengel

Senior Research Analyst, Business Consulting, IDC
& Vice President, Global Services Markets and Trends, IDC

IDC MarketScape Worldwide Business Consulting Services Vendor Assessment





Major Players


IDC Opinion

This study represents the vendor assessment model called IDC MarketScape. It is a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the characteristics that explain a vendor’s current and future success in the marketplace. The evaluation assesses the capabilities and business strategies of many prominent business consulting firms.

It is based on a comprehensive framework and a set of parameters expected to be most conducive to success in providing business consulting services during both the short term and the long term. A significant component of this evaluation is the inclusion of business consulting buyers’ perception of both the key characteristics and the capabilities of these consulting providers, both directly from the vendors’ clients and through a survey. Overall, these firms performed very well on this assessment. Key findings include:

  • Worldwide, consulting providers are generally perceived as being able to excel at integrating their engagement teams with those of their clients, understanding the unique needs of a client’s business, and offering high-quality staff. They are also considered very capable of meeting the project timeline and providing functional insights and competence.
  • This evaluation discovered that generally clients are less impressed with consulting providers’ ability to directly improve their commercial performance, integrate appropriate analytics into the engagements, and drive and support business change across the client organization — all essential to many significant business transformation initiatives.
  • Clients globally rated their providers, in aggregate, best at helping them with the following business priorities: developing digital products and services, transforming critical processes, and adapting to change and becoming more agile.

Advice for Technology Buyers

Use this IDC MarketScape as one tool in your qualification and selection of potential business consulting providers. While all firms have capabilities to help you drive changes to your business across multiple domains, make the choice about which, if any, of these activities can be led by your consultant and which need to be driven by organizational insiders. Beyond that, consider the three areas cited in this worldwide evaluation where improvement is needed. These are business consulting firms’ abilities to help clients:

  • Expand into new markets and geographies
  • Reduce cost
  • Improve talent performance, retention, and engagement

Determine which areas are important to you, and make sure you directly investigate each relevant area to understand the strategy and capability of each potential business consulting provider you are considering.


IDC Marketscape Vendor Inclusion Criteria

This research includes analysis of the five largest business consulting firms based on worldwide revenues in IDC’s Services Tracker, and additional firms with broad portfolios spanning the different business consulting domains identified in IDC’s Worldwide Services Taxonomy, 2019 (IDC #US44916019, March 2019). These criteria were used because the scope of this evaluation covers the broadest definition of business consulting. The assessment is designed to evaluate the characteristics of each firm — as opposed to its size or the breadth of its services. It is conceivable, and in fact the case, that specialty firms can compete with multidisciplinary firms on an equal footing. As such, this evaluation should not be considered a “final judgment” on the firms to consider for a particular project. An enterprise’s specific objectives and requirements will play a significant role in determining which firms should be considered as potential candidates for an engagement.

Reading an IDC MarketScape Graph

For the purposes of this analysis, IDC divided potential key measures for success into two primary categories: capabilities and strategies.

Positioning on the y-axis reflects the vendor’s current capabilities and menu of services and how well aligned the vendor is to customer needs. The capabilities category focuses on the capabilities of the company and product today, here and now. Under this category, IDC analysts will look at how well a vendor is building/delivering capabilities that enable it to execute its chosen strategy in the market.

Positioning on the x-axis, or strategies axis, indicates how well the vendor’s future strategy aligns with what customers will require in three to five years. The strategies category focuses on high-level decisions and underlying assumptions about offerings, customer segments, and business and go-to-market plans for the next three to five years.

The size of the individual vendor markers in the IDC MarketScape represents the market share of each individual vendor within the specific market segment being assessed.

IDC MarketScape Methodology

IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants, and end users. Market weightings are based on user interviews, buyer surveys, and the input of a review board of IDC experts in each market. IDC analysts base individual vendor scores, and ultimately vendor positions on the IDC MarketScape, on detailed surveys and interviews with the vendors, the vendors’ customer references, publicly available information, and end-user experiences in an effort to provide an accurate and consistent assessment of each vendor’s characteristics, behavior, and capability.

Market Definition

Business consulting involves advisory and implementation services related to management issues. It often includes defining an organization’s strategy and goals and designing and implementing the structures and processes that help the organization reach its goals. Business consulting includes three main areas: strategy consulting, operational improvement consulting, and change and organization consulting. The market is primarily served by four firm types:

  • Big 4: IDC recognizes the well-known Big 4 firms as the four largest international accountancy and professional services firms — Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC.
  • Multidisciplinary: IDC describes multidisciplinary firms as large, diversified consulting organizations that offer a range of business consulting services to clients across a myriad of sectors. To distinguish these from other specialty firms, consulting services must address more than two business functional areas, in addition to providing strategy and operational implementations.
  • Technology led: These are also large, multifaceted firms and are known for deep expertise in both technology and business consulting. IDC identifies these firms as those that expanded from information technology–centric businesses into more broad business consulting or vice versa.
  • Specialty: Specialty firms have focused areas of consulting expertise in specific industries, functional areas, or technologies. Management and strategic consulting specialists that offer primarily strategy consulting and business intelligence (BI) models to specific sectors or industries including government fit into this category of firms.

Related Research

  • Worldwide and U.S. Business Consulting Services Market Shares, 2018: Marrying Strategy and Technology-Related Services Offerings Continues to Drive Growth (IDC #US43248719, November 2019)
  • Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide and U.S. Business Consulting Services, 2019 (IDC #US43248519, September 2019)
  • Global Client Value Survey, 2019: How Consulting Services Engagements Are Changing (IDC #US43248319, June 2019)
  • Worldwide and U.S. Business Consulting Services Forecast, 2019–2023 (IDC #US43248419, May 2019)

IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Business Consulting Services 2020 Vendor Assessment

This IDC study uses the IDC MarketScape model to provide an assessment of several providers participating in the worldwide business consulting services market. The IDC MarketScape is an evaluation based on a comprehensive framework and a set of parameters that assesses providers relative to one another and to those factors expected to be most conducive to success in each market during both the short term and the long term.

Download the IDC MarketScape