By Hassan Almoslem
2018 Predictions: Hassan Almoslem, Consultant
The management consulting industry portfolio in Saudi Arabia has reached SAR 4.69bn ($1.25bn), which is expected to grow in the following years as the kingdom works through its transformation plans.
This is a 12 percent increase over 2016 – making Saudi Arabia the fastest growing market for consulting firms. It is these numbers that make it a hotspot for global consulting firms, all jostling for position in the centre of such a high value opportunity.
Competition between firms will benefit the kingdom in two ways: the consulting fees, which will be more suitable, as well as consulting deliverables, which are definitely higher. However, the spending value and the high incremental rate show us clearly how critical and important the consulting industry is for Saudi Arabia and its transformation plans.
For decades, the management consulting industry has left a stamp on the Saudi government at various levels, building successful relationships and trust over the years. Now, both the Saudi government and consulting firms need to look forward at how to turn a promising new vision into reality and shift the kingdom towards the lead, not on a regional level, but on a global one.
When talking about Saudi Arabia’s vision and plans, we see that in some cases, they need expert advice. This is where consultants come in. Let’s take, for instance, Saudi Aramco’s IPO. Although the concept is simple, there is a huge amount of work required for such a move.
Many departments and businesses within the company will be affected, both from a technological and a managerial point of view. These changes will need to be implemented in a way that guarantees a smooth transition. Just as importantly, this requires a mindset change, especially as the company heads in the direction of a ‘downstream’ corporate model.
To accomplish its goals, Saudi Aramco will need to hear from experts in integration strategy, and from consultants who have done such projects around the globe and have the know-how to be able to advise on the expected competition, barriers to entry, new business lines, and other topics. With each of these points comes challenges – and here the value of consulting firms comes into play.
Global consulting firms are always good at setting benchmarks, and studying best practices based on their global access to related projects, the lessons of which can then be implemented and their error rates reduced.
Saudi Aramco is just one example, but there are many. Looking to the future, it is clear that management consultants in Saudi Arabia are critical, and the kingdom needs to get the most out of them. There must be trust and a positive relationship – and, of course, follow-ups – for these projects to be realised.
We can no longer think of the Saudi government and its partners as two teams. There is one team, which aims to achieve the kingdom’s ambitions effectively and successfully.