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The Best Consulting Firms for Digital HR Transformation    [Date Added : 11/23/2017 ]
According to a recent Deloitte survey, 71% of the organizations surveyed highlighted the importance of Human Resources (HR) analytics. Looking at the current trends and developments in HR, this is not a surprise as HR processes are increasingly optimized and digitalized. As a result, the role of HR is changing from an administrative and operational function to a more strategic and advisory one. HR professionals consider HR analytics to be a condition to successfully fulfill this new role and provide the organization with data-driven advice - putting the consulting industry at the heart of HR transformations for most businesses.

In an era where digital is very important, and in which digital transformation consulting has become a US $23 billion industry, organizations are embarking on large transitions to transform their HR functions, and the way they operate. While this includes numerous functions, regardless of who is in control of an organization's digital transformation agenda, top priority among HR leadership and management is the matter of successfully adapting to cloud computing.

Similarly, transitioning to this new model is complex, and involves significant business risks - so to consider how to best navigate this situation, consultants have seen demand for their services pick up notably. Digital HR transformation consulting involves the application of a set of tools and approaches - including data analytics, design thinking, and connected systems - to help clients redesign their HR organizations, processes and service delivery models to fit the digital age.

The twelve leaders in the digital HR transformation consulting space are:

- Deloitte
- PwC
- EY
- Bain
- McKinsey
- Capgemini Consulting
- Accenture
- BearingPoint

These firms are described by researchers as firms that understand that helping clients digitally transform their HR functions is not just about cloud computing, even while companies make it their express priority. These firms instead demonstrate an ability to assist clients with taking full advantage of digital technologies in the HR function, not just those which are the trend of the moment.

These industry leaders are able to excel in three key areas:

1. They are able to design tailored solutions to the individual needs of clients, assessing software vendors including SAP, Oracle and Workday, all of whom these firms have close relationships with, in order to match the best fit for a client’s unique requirements.

2. The leaders also provide in-depth functional knowledge - separating them from other providers, who perhaps rely more heavily on general digital transformation know-how - specializing in the nuances of transformations specifically within the HR field.

3. They also know that digital HR transformation needs to be steered by the requirements of an overall business model - meaning they have demonstrated skill in the alignment and management of numerous stakeholders - balancing the interests of separate departments to work towards shared (human capital) goals.

Market Leaders

Deloitte has been identified by researchers as the most advanced supplier. The Big Four firm's position as the clear leader in the market reflects on the firm's success in combining strengths in Human Capital practices, along with the digital prowess of its rapidly expanding Deloitte Digital arm. As is the case with a number of global consulting firms buying up digital and design players, Deloitte is using its digital acquisitions to offer bespoke services and inject new thinking into different sectors - in this case HR. Providing HR transformation consulting through its Human Capital practice, primarily, The firm also often utilizes its multiple assets to enhance this service, including its Bersin subsidiary for research and analysis into new HR trends, as well as its Greenhouse collaboration and ideation spaces.

PwC, the second largest consulting firm (together with its subsidiary Strategy&) ranks second in HR digital transformation. The firm's secret to success is a strong strategy-through-execution approach, as HR transformation generally requires providers to provide a wide array of capabilities. While PwC boasts deep expertise and top-level partner status with major cloud HR technology systems providers, the firm's strength also resides in its connections with innovative digital HR start-ups, along with its in-house assets of the same order.

EY and KPMG rank joint third. EY views the process of HR transformation as a holistic issue - thus it approaches the field from the perspective of its clients' broader business objectives, integrating its digital capacities fully into the firm’s global People Advisory Services practices to support this philosophy. KPMG, meanwhile, coordinates its activities similarly through its People & Change division, along with their Global HR Center of Excellence. KPMG's end-to-end value proposition in the market includes strategy, operating model design, as well as implementation services.

In fifth position, McKinsey & Company has extended prowess beyond high-level digital HR strategy, into more tactical capacities, even though HR consulting is not the firm's traditional focus. Offering services such as translating clients' HR and business objectives into hypotheses that can withstand empirical tests via data analysis, McKinsey has obtained a leadership position in this market.

Following close behind, Bain & Company is the sixth and final firm that belongs to the group of absolute industry leaders. Bain has marked itself out from its competitors by maintaining a focus on the human element of HR. While, like McKinsey, Bain is mainly known for its work in corporate strategy and management, it has played to its strengths in the segment well enough to extend its reputation as an industry leader in the delivery of digital HR transformation engagements.

Behind the group of leaders, follow six consulting firms boast an excellent track record and service portfolio in the field, despite trailing the upper echelons of the sector. BCG, BearingPoint, CGI, Capgemini Consulting, Accenture and IBM are each well positioned to challenge for outright market leadership if they progress quickly in the field. So far, they are in the top 12, each focusing on the delivery of the three key areas of bespoke solutions, leveraging in-depth knowledge and a wider-view approach toward business-orientated HR transformation consulting.

("The Globe's Best Consulting Firms for Digital HR Transformation,", October 25, 2017. Copyright 2017
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