Market segments

The terms 'consultancy' and 'consulting' can, in essence, refer to many different advisory disciplines, varying from architecture and engineering to management consulting or financial advisory. Industry analysts estimate that over 200 different types of consulting areas can be distinguished as a product of the dozens of combinations of different sector and expertise areas.

However, ever since the spectacular rise of the consulting sector from the mid-1960s onwards, the term 'consulting' has increasingly been associated with management- and business consulting services. As a result, when people refer to the consulting industry, they often refer to the market related to advisory services in the field of strategy, management and organisation. 

Over the past few years, experts have proposed several different methods of how to define and value the consulting industry. Yet, in practice, representative bodies such as the MCA, FEACO and analyst firms such as ALM Intelligence (formerly Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory), Gartner, IDC or Source Global Research all apply different definitions of the consulting market, resulting in a variety of market sizes, segments, competitor information and forecasts. The most cited typology globally – and therefore also the approach followed by throughout the website – is that of ALM Intelligence.

Market segments

The typology of the US-based analyst firm segregates the consulting industry into six main segments:

Strategy Consulting

Strategic consulting services, aimed at corporate / business unit strategy or government policy.

Management Consulting

Consulting services that deal with management, business and organisational matters.

Operations Consulting

Focuses on operational performance, spanning supply chain, procurement, finance and outsourcing.

HR Consulting

Advisory services that revolve around human capital matters and/or offerings aimed at the HR function.

Financial Advisory

Financial based consulting services such as corporate finance, restructuring and actuarial services.

IT Consulting

Technology services aimed at improving and managing the IT-infrastructure of organisations.