Despite facing a wide range of threats, the drive towards digitisation combined with strong growth in Sweden helped the Nordic consulting market grow by 4.7 per cent to €2.4bn in 2014. Sweden, which grew by 5.5 per cent, is the Nordics biggest consulting market at €797million, according to new research from Source Information Services (Source).
The Source report also revealed above average growth in the second and third biggest Nordic markets: Denmark (5.5 per cent to €652million) and Norway (5 per cent to €579million). Meagre growth returned to the Finnish consulting market — rising just 1.4 per cent to €386million. But the Source report suggests that growth is unlikely to increase further in 2015, as political and economic uncertainty in Europe and Russia combine with the impact of low oil prices in Norway to supress demand.
Edward Haigh, Director of Source Information Services said: "As you might expect, the experience of individual consulting firms varied quite significantly from the overall market figure, even if the vast majority were positive to some degree. Where there's more consistency is in reports that a relatively weak start to the year gave way to a much better second half. And there's optimism too, that 2015 will continue in a similar vein."
Digitisation drives services
The report also explains that due to the opportunities presented by digitisation, the technology service line was the fastest growing in 2014, expanding by 6.2 per cent to €825million. Operational improvement also grew by 4.4 per cent to €653million due to clients now looking at their operations from a customer perspective, and using this as a starting point for working out where they can add value and drive efficiency.
Frank Madsen, Partner and Country Head from PA Consulting Group added: "Customer experience is becoming more important to clients in all of its aspects, and that's very much related to digitisation and optimisation. But whereas optimisation of customer experience used to be about improving call centres, it now covers so much more. It's about creating a consistent customer experience across all channels."
Public sector and retail were the fastest growing sectors — both up 5.7 per cent in 2014 to €630million and €91million respectively, with digitisation the main driver of growth. Organisations are striving to put the experience of customers and citizens respectively at the heart of everything they do and digitisation is playing a key role in that. Financial Services, the second largest consulting market sector in the Nordics also grew strongly — up 5.4 per cent to €467million.
Edward Haigh from Source said: "Overall 2014 was a good year for the Nordic region, in particular the Big Four. Despite the pressures being exerted on them in terms of new EU regulation the Big Four grew faster than any other firm type, expanding by 7.3 per cent in 2014. Inorganic growth is playing a part in this — the Big Four have been especially acquisitive recently — but the ability of these firms to cover a broad range of services is helping them to win big transformation programmes."