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  • Thomas Thurston

Can data science disrupt strategy consulting?

A provocative HBR article hit my Inbox yesterday by Clayton Christensen, Dina Wang and Derek van Bever. It talks about how traditional strategy consulting (think McKinsey, Bain, BCG) is being disrupted by several forces… including data science. Could this be true? Can lowly data science pose a disruptive threat to the mighty titans of consulting?

There’s certainly a persuasive case to be made.  I, myself, went

What do you think?  Is strategy consulting somehow different?  Is it immune from disruption?  Moreover, if strategy consulting is disrupt-able, will data science play a big role?  Over the decades data science and technology have, indeed, broadened in scope to engulf many of the things strategy consultants were once hired for (ex. automated analytics have replaced many human analysts).  This trend has been widening and accelerating rather than narrowing or slowing down.  Yet there will probably always be room at the top for heavyweight consultants.  It will be interesting to see how the scope, nature and capabilities of traditional strategy consulting grapple with data science, technology and disruption in the years to come.

Or… as some consultants have tried to persuade me… perhaps nothing will ever change.

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