Answering the question "what is management consulting?" is as difficult as attempting to answer the question "how high is the sky?” There are two causes for the confusion about exactly what management consultants do. First, management consulting is an umbrella term that encompasses many different careers. Second, management consultants cannot give specific examples of their work because it almost always is confidential and highly sensitive.

The essence of consulting is to help a client create value by providing information and advice which leads to lasting organizational change in a variety of ways including development of new strategies, accounting systems, information systems integration, quality management, process redesign, marketing, distribution channel development, logistics, leadership training, cost control, productivity enhancement, leveraging technology, activity based costing, competitive analysis, human resource strategy and value management.

Experts of all kinds frequently refer to themselves as "consultants to management," but only those who advise on the management process itself can legitimately be called management consultants (though even this generalization is being challenged today). One definition that has gained widespread acceptance came not from consultants themselves but from academia.

Management consulting is an advisory service contracted for and provided to organizations by specially trained and qualified persons who assist, in an objective and independent manner, the client organization to identify management problems, analyze such problems, recommend solutions to these problems, and help, when requested, in the implementation of solutions.

Management consulting in the United States has undergone a very dramatic change over the past fifteen to twenty years. The reason for this change is to cater to an evolving market and to stay competitive. About fifteen years ago, the emphasis was purely on technology. Clients wanted their systems to be better and faster. The general thinking was that every problem could be solved by technology. Organizations implemented large, complex systems for accounting, customer service, sales force automation etc., without giving real consideration to the people who would have to use them. This also led to different divisions in an organization using incompatible systems, duplication of work and repeated storage of information resulting in what is commonly referred to as “technology stovepipes”. Several years of complex implementations were followed by a flurry of activity in training staff and building interfaces between systems used by different divisions within the organization.

About a decade ago, the consulting industry began its most recent metamorphosis to ultimately reach the state that it has achieved today. This process began when several top consulting organizations expounded the concept of total consulting. Moving away from the traditional technology solutions, clients were now advised to solve problems by considering a combination of strategy, process, technology and people. Consultants began addressing problems at a macro level across the entire organization and by viewing the organization as a whole entity. The consultant evolved from a person who recommended and implemented technology systems to a person who collaborated with the client and helped resolve business problems affecting the organization as a whole. The consultant had morphed; he/she was no longer a technologist but more a trusted advisor.


Dr. Uchil is an entrepreneur, business-owner and author embodying almost three decades of management and consulting experience. Prior to founding The Uchil Group and Uchil, LLC, Dr. Uchil spent over eighteen years in a variety of senior management roles at several large consulting organizations. In addition to his PhD in Business Administration Dr. Uchil also holds an MBA in Consulting Operations Management, a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunicati...

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