How Consulting Firms Are Evolving to Modernize Companies

Last year, the global consulting market was worth more than $250 billion, with one company alone making $37 billion. Some companies shy away from pulling on consultancies, reasoning that they should be able to solve their problems internally or that consultants will have conflicts of interest that won’t play out in their favor.

But the continued rate of use of these consultancies indicates that others reject that mindset to gain access to new perspectives and additional skill sets, particularly in areas they’re less familiar with. One area in which many growing companies struggle is implementing technology — 63 percent of managers feel their organizations adopt new technology too slowly.

That represents a real struggle for these brands, which know that technology can help them solve problems, increase their productivity, and raise the bar on their growth goals. They may, however, not always know the best approach or have the in-house tech talent to make that happen. As frustrating as it may be, many companies falter in the execution stage — they can identify the problem, but they can’t carry out a solution that will make the problem go away.

When execution is the problem, a second set of eyes can create alignment and find a way forward. Here are six examples of companies that are helping entrepreneurs and others learn more about technology and the arenas that are building momentum as “hot” areas for modernizing companies. 

1. Silicon Valley Software Group

Silicon Valley Software Group is a digital technology consulting company whose technology modernization includes navigating challenges in microservices, RPA, machine learning, AI, and supercomputing. These areas are becoming more and more important to companies that are needing to increase efficiency or get a leg up in competitive industries. There are more resources and tools popping up daily, so check out the company’s blog or other industry-related content around those topics to stay informed.

2. Praxent

Praxent helps companies disrupt their niche industry or business segment through innovative software development. One of the biggest issues with companies using development shops in the past was that the cost ended up being substantially off the original scope. Praxent has taken a more trustworthy route of scoping a project so that the uncertainty of the ultimate cost is lower. In a recent blog post, the company described the development costs of apps and explained what you should know if you’re planning to build one in the future.

3. Catalant

Catalant is shaking up the consulting industry by adding technology that provides companies with on-demand business experts. The future of work is evolving, and Catalant is investing in the technology platform that it believes could fuel that future. It’s also capitalizing on companies “projectizing” their workstreams and utilizing the principles of an on-demand marketplace to engage both internal and external talent. The future of work is something that companies will have to stay on top of to remain competitive, so pay close attention to content around the future of work to find out how it could help you prepare for trends related to talent and growing verticals.

4. SalsaMobi

SalsaMobi is a company fluent in full-stack mobile development, but it’s recently become better known for helping companies modernize their technology through innovations in blockchain. As blockchain grows in use, knowledge around this area will become more valuable — both competitively and financially — for companies looking to evolve. Inc. is starting to publish a lot more content about blockchain and how it affects leaders and their companies, so pay attention to stay on top of blockchain’s growth.

5. Citrusbyte

Citrusbyte assists startups, as well as multinational enterprises, with new applications, software, apps, and platforms. The company calls its service Full Stack Innovation™, and it helps companies do everything from brainstorm on whiteboards to maintain long-term support. “Thinking like a startup” is something that this firm maintains as a focal point, reminding larger companies that if they want to evolve, they need to think differently.

With 63 percent of companies adopting new technology too slowly, a big advantage looms for those who push their businesses forward into unfamiliar territory. Finding a way to implement technology successfully will have a sure payoff today and in the years to come, making it vital that growing organizations examine every option available — and consider ditching some of their long-held assumptions.

3 Internet of Things Trends to Watch in 2018

It’s hard to not be at least a little excited about IoT.

People have already become accustomed to the diet version of IoT, wearing Fitbits and Apple Watches and tapping their Amazon Dash buttons when they’re running low on laundry detergent. Smart refrigerators, allowing people to take inventory and re-stock without opening the door, are becoming a fixture in more and more homes.

What seemed like a CES fever dream has now become a reality for many people all over the world.

When I look ahead at the biggest IoT trends this year, here’s what I see:

Security

As IoT becomes more commonplace in 2018, the biggest industry trend will be on improved security.

Though smart objects are becoming more commonplace, many people are still hesitant about the data privacy ramifications of connecting more devices to the internet.

Even among IT professionals, this is a major issue. One survey shows that only 30 percent of IT professionals truly know how many devices are on their network. However, only 44 percent said their company had a known IoT security policy.

The internet has proven to be susceptible to DDoS attacks, and sadly, IoT is not immune from this. On October 21 last year, a major DDoS attack hit servers of major companies such as The New York Times, Netflix, Twitter and Paypal. The same technology that made these servers vulnerable to hackers lives within IoT.

Attacks on IoT devices could have a devastating effect, depleting consumer confidence and companies will do everything in their power to avoid becoming the next Sony or Target.

Blockchain

Over the years we’ve slowly seen IoT and blockchain technology merge.

At this point, it’s well established that blockchain has deeper applications beyond just the fintech industry. It can enhance the security of devices and making for more seamless transactions.

As IoT developers embrace blockchain technology, it gives servers a trusted party through stored data. Experts believe that blockchain can be a huge boost to IoT, majorly reducing costs for industry manufacturers by cutting out the intermediary from the process.

Through blockchain, transactions and device data will be completed on a peer-to-peer basis, relieving much of the contractual or legal costs.

Blockchain for IoT could fundamentally change the way businesses interact globally, providing a qualified ecosystem that can automate and encrypt transactions.

Smarter Cities

Several cities all over the world (such as San Diego, Boston, Dubai and Nice) have started to plan for their new “smart city” reality, but it hasn’t been ready for implementation.

Through smart cities, everything from street lights to parking meters can be connected to the internet. Amsterdam has been a test case for what experts call the Internet of Everything. Major industry leaders such as Cisco and Philips have worked with city leaders and local government to develop energy and money-saving smart technology plans for the city.

Amsterdam also set up The Things Network, allowing residents to transmit data between objects via a low-power, low-bandwidth technology.

How else has IoT changed Amsterdam? Many canal boats in the Dutch city are prone to sinking, due to Amsterdam’s rainy climate. Experts have installed nodes in boats, using bowls to monitor when a boat has started to take on water. Previously, this would’ve gone undetected. Once an issue becomes apparent, the node sends an SMS message to a maintenance company.

I can definitely see how Amsterdam, which relies on canals and bicycles as primary modes of transportation, can benefit from deeper IoT integration.

I’d love to see more areas implement IoT technology to benefit citizens, building a true network of smart cities. I think we’ll see even more discussion, planning and groundwork toward this goal this year.

3 Companies Working to Finally Get You Your Flying Car by 2019

Being able to call a cab with a couple of clicks of a smartphone is pretty cool and all, but some of you still might be thinking, where’s my flying car? After all, various technologists and futurists have been promising that flying cars are just around the corner since at least 1917, and various sci-fi shows and movies have shown all of us the glories of leaving the ground behind.

But while you probably shouldn’t be hoping to get the keys to your new flying this year, according to a host of commentators, this long delayed dream might actually become a reality incredibly soon. Consultancy Cassandra is even predicting flying cars might even reach consumers by 2019.

At least 15 startups are vying to bring the first flying car to market.

They aren’t the only analysts who are optimistic about the long-postponed arrival of the flying car. “There are already 15 startups working on different concepts of flying cars (including hoverbikes), and more may be in stealth mode or early stage. In addition to this, several heavyweight corporations, such as Airbus and Toyota, are also developing this technology,” points out aviation industry expert Valery Komissarov on TechCrunch.

Those truly excited about finally getting their flying car should check out his complete article for a deeper dive into why now might be the time the dream becomes a reality (short answer: maturing technology, drones proving the value of the tech, and interest from big players like Uber and the UAE government, which is conducting flying taxi tests). Though Komissarov warns regulation remains a big hurdle.

For those looking for a more quick and dirty guide to the niche, here are three of the most promising flying car players as selected by Cassandra in order to get you dreaming of soon escaping rush hour commuter hell (hat tip to Small Biz Labs for the pointer).

  1. Uber Elevate. “Uber’s head of product recently announced that the company is adding a third city, LA, to its list of places where it hopes to pilot its aerial taxi service by 2020, joining Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai. The on-demand aviation project, Elevate, has the potential to radically improve urban mobility,” explains Cassandra.

  2. Terrafugia. “Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the Chinese owner of automaker Volvo, recently announced their acquisition of Terrafugia, a company founded by five award-winning MIT graduates that aims to deliver its first flying car, the Transition, to the market in 2019. The company has already developed and flown two full-scale prototypes.”

  3. Toyota. Yup, really. “Toyota has partnered with Cartivator Resource Management to help develop a flying car that it hopes will play a special part in the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.”

Would you be first in line for a flying car or are you happy to stick to four wheels for the foreseeable future?