Despite esg, logistics and skills shortages: digital transformation remains the defining theme for consultants

04 August 2022 – Mindelheim

  • Digitisation as most important “way in” with customers

  • Technological developments are increasing the demand for advisory services – above all digital platforms and big data

  • Individual consulting firms rate their own level of digitisation more highly than that of the industry overall

  • New Lünendonk Study 2022 now available

For consulting firms, the single most important way in with clients remains digitisation. Despite the increasing importance of ESG and logistics/supply chain themes, it is technological developments – above all digital platforms and big data – that are leading to a growing demand for advisory services on the part of clients. At the same time, the greatest opportunities for value and performance gains among customer companies are viewed by consultants as being in the area of IT, with the focus being more on IT strategy than on implementation as a way in. When it comes to digitisation within their own sector, more than half of consulting firms see a need for optimisation. All this and more is identified in the latest Management Consulting in Germany Lünendonk Study, now published in its 26th edition by market research company Lünendonk & Hossenfelder and available on

Digitisation remains the most important theme for approaching customers

For consultants, digital transformation is the most important way in with clients. More than half of study participants report focussing on this topic in their approach (52%), far ahead of ESG/sustainability (25%) and supply chain issues (13%). Consulting firms see an increased demand for advisory services as a result of technological developments, especially in the areas of digital platforms (79%) and big data (75%), as well as in cloud computing (59%) and artificial intelligence (AI) (59%). It’s an investment that, in consultancies’ view, should pay off: nine out of ten consultants see high or very high potential for value and performance increases in the IT field in the coming years.

Differing views on degree of digitisation among consultancies

Digital transformation isn’t only of interest to management consultancies as a client theme – the industry itself is in the midst of technological change. Participants in the study were cautious in their assessment of the degree of digitisation within the consulting industry: only 3 percent believe that the consultancy sector is already fully digitised. Four out of ten consultants identify their industry as partially digitised (42%), with just as many assessing progress neutrally (42%). A further 13 percent remains of the opinion that the sector is not very digitised. Compared to last year, perceptions of digitisation within the consultancy industry have improved slightly.

Jörg Hossenfelder, managing partner at Lünendonk & Hossenfelder and the study’s author, explains: “Positive experiences with remote consulting have contributed to the industry becoming increasingly digital, and this development is picking up speed. Collaboration has worked better than expected for many study participants.” Overall, respondents rate the degree of digitisation within their own company as higher than that of the industry: 14 percent already believe that their own company is fully digital (previous year: 10%). Another 56 percent reckon their organisation to be at least partially digitised. 21 percent view their company more in the neutral range, with a further 8 percent considering their firm little digitised.

Innovation teams encourage satisfaction with internal digitisation

19 percent of study participants are very satisfied with the progress of digitisation in their own company, 60 percent are somewhat satisfied, 19 percent assess the situation as neutral. In order to give structure to progress with internal digitisation, 62 percent of the consultancies have set up dedicated innovation teams whose task it is to shape transformation and optimise internal processes. Overall, it’s clear that satisfaction among consultants with their own consultancy’s digitisation is higher when a dedicated team is responsible for internal digitisation processes.

Majority of consultancies pool AI expertise

Technologies are developing rapidly, especially in the area of artificial intelligence. In order to pool their expertise in this area, 72 percent (2021: 67%) of the consulting firms surveyed have a central competence centre or team, although its size varies greatly depending on the consultancy. The large consulting houses and Big Four in particular employ several hundred people worldwide in this field. When it comes to AI project implementation for clients, consultants continue to encounter varied and now familiar challenges. First and foremost, there is a lack of know-how and understanding of what AI is and what it is capable of, followed by the availability and quality of the data.

About the Lünendonk Study

Seventy management consultancies operating in Germany were surveyed for the Management Consulting in Germany Lünendonk Study 2022, which took place between February and May 2022. The detailed market analysis, comprising approximately 300 pages and more than 150 charts, is available from at a price of 2,200 euros (plus VAT).


Lünendonk Survey 2022: Business Consulting in Germany