The future of internet consulting

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Good Old Trend

As a part of Moving Images blog relay, a few selected bloggers will be writing about future scenarios within their line of work. I’m taking over from PM Nilsson at Newsmill who wrote about the future of journalism yesterday. In contrast I thought I wouldn’t write about media for once, but about the line of work I’m actually in: internet consulting. Not the nicest name and packaging for a line of work, and that’s what I thought I’d expand on a little.

I see a major insourcing trend coming up. It’s a fairly simple theory based on the current economic climate. All budgets will be gone through one extra time to see if anything can be cut. When they look back over the past few years, a lot of companies will find the “web development” post will have been substantial. And it’s probably not going down either. This means that the internet, like it or not, has become part of their everyday business. That also means it’s time to insource.

So what happens to web agencies and consultancies in times of insourcing? They either lose business or they change. We’re opting for the latter.

Imagine this: a marketing executive is running the company website. Things are going well, lots of visitors and page views. A thought occurs though: could we be doing even better? And who can answer that question?

If you call a web agency they’ll say that you need a new website. If you call a management consultant they won’t understand the website, but they’ll find ways to cut costs. Arguably they would both be wrong, but as consultants they have to propose the product that they are selling. That’s what businesses do.

Marketing and product development have merged. And the internet is becoming core business, no matter what line of work you’re in. I think the future of internet consulting is in becoming a partner that helps your clients develop their online business continuously. Less campaign sites in flash, less banner concepts. Instead: analytics, business development, developing new online products and partnership that the customers need and want. Perhaps sharing the risk of a project by trading consulting time for equity or revenue. That way there’s a shared focus in improving the business long term, and not maximizing the attention during a short period of time.

Perhaps the time for consulting within this area is starting to pass. Perhaps the time for strategic partnerships with specialized business developing units is coming.

Let’s find out.

I’m handing over the relay stick to my friend Martin Thörnkvist at Digital Renaissance. Looking forward to reading his thoughts tomorrow!

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