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Can crowdsourcing steal the thunder from traditional consulting?

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by Hina Kauser , Research Analyst, Professional Services
3 August 2017


  • Consulting industry is overdue for a disruptive change. While traditional consulting has driven the consulting industry so far, crowdsourced consulting is beginning to find its feet in the consulting space
  • Conservative methods followed by traditional consulting behemoths might not be suitable to predict the future of disruptive technologies such as 3D printing, flying cars or unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Crowdsourcing provides a platform for analysts across the globe to engage in gamified simulations to predict future occurrences or scenarios
  • Some of the consulting firms such as Deloitte and PwC have already initiated crowdsourcing efforts as part of their consulting portfolio
  • This article will provide insights on how crowdsourcing is disrupting the consulting industry and the buyers and what it takes to make it a success
    • How crowdsourcing is changing the consulting landscape?
    • What does crowdsourcing consulting mean for the buyers?
    • What is the need for crowdsourced consulting services and what are the potential benefits?
    • Who are the key suppliers in crowdsourcing space?


  • While large players hold the major share in the consulting market, the rest of the highly fragmented market is left to small and niche players
  • Consulting industry, which is highly labor-intensive, is driven by talent and expertise of individuals. It is because of the quality of their talent pool that large players gain a competitive edge in giving the best to their buyers
  • Since the spot light is on the talent onboard, the educational background and the qualification of the individual are given more prominence
  • Since employees are their major asset, corporates have to keep them satisfied to retain them by all means. However, individuals venture out in the consulting space, giving way for new age consulting such as crowdsourcing and freelancing. This evolution of “consultants” growing out of the consulting firm can be attributed to the choice of individuals wanting to prefer part-time employment over full-time

Evolution in consulting

How crowdsourcing is changing the consulting landscape?

Increasing political pressure and economic downturn is fueling the demand for stand-alone consultants from both private as well as public sectors. Corporates too seek expertise for a low rate card to help them strategize in uncertain financial aspects.

The ascent of the crowdsourced consulting services

  • Crowdsourcing efforts have emerged in many industries and off late in specialties
  • Consulting firms are touting their wide-ranging offerings by providing cloud-based solutions that render access to numerous services through a single platform
  • Many established players are becoming involved in the freelance consulting space. They have launched talent exchange portals where individuals can post their resumes to be considered for their projects
  • Even consulting firms are turning to crowdsourcing services for help
  • Speed and cost could be the main reasons for the companies to engage with crowdsourcing services for their research
  • Preference for using crowdsourced consulting services could also be because of the quick-to-act steps. These steps are:

Case Example: Wikistrat networks with analysts from across the globe to participate in gamified simulations to solve problems or predict future occurrences. These experts are paid a flat fee in addition to bonuses based on performance.

What does crowdsourcing consulting mean for the buyers?

  • Category Experts: Consultants are often experts in their respective categories. They keep themselves abreast with the industry standards and follow trends discernibly. It will not be too late when the crowdsourced consultants/freelancers can spearhead the development of best practices.  
  • Services from Consultants: Consulting firms approaching stand-alone consultants for their services can bring a dynamic change in the functioning of the industry. It also makes it evident that consultants can deliver on par with the industry and also most importantly win buyers’ trust with their outcomes.  
  • Winning a contract:  Crowdsourced consultants compete on portals to win a contract. These consultants in some cases are given ratings based on the feedback. Parameters include timely delivery, clarity in thought, and quality. Big players buy their services for quick turnaround projects or due to resource-constraint.

Crowdsourced consultants are remunerated in two ways.

What is the need for crowdsourced consulting services and what are the potential benefits?

When individual consultants can be crowdsourced across the globe, it can create a doorway to enter different markets and have a holistic view of modus operandi and techniques followed in a province which can be cloned to a different market having the same dynamics. The need for crowdsourcing is based on:

Potential challenges in crowdsourcing

While crowdsourcing has multiple benefits, it does have a few shortcomings. Few of which are listed below:

Who are the key suppliers in crowdsourcing space?

Though there are many companies offering crowdsourcing in consulting space, Wikistrat is the pioneer. There are many other notable suppliers in this space as listed below. Off late, traditional management consulting companies have also started crowdsourcing so that they are not left behind in the race.


The world is evolving and the people are moving towards more autonomy and greater flexibility. Companies are experimenting with projects to diversify into different portfolios. The upsurge in the progression of crowdsourcing has left the world with a multitude of opportunities to choose from. It may pave way for new styles of working and yet provide greater satisfaction to the buyers. It may vary with projects but collectively may have a positive influence on the market.

The future holds the answer to whether crowdsourced consulting will rise in demand or lose traction. As there are several issues that come to play while deciding the consultants for a project, buyers may experiment with both traditional and new-age consulting to gauge the best among them. However, crowdsourced consulting services may attract buyers looking for a cost advantage.


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