Consulting In The Age Of Complexity

The Context Of Complexity

Whatever the precise nature and benefits of your product or service, viewed from the customer’s perspective it could easily be perceived as “one more complexity in a World which is already complex enough”.

Some complexity factors facing customers are, for example:



From cars to computers, from banking services to pensions, from machine tools to laser printers and all the other products and service ranges freely available – customers are faced with an almost overwhelming spectrum of choice.

Market Structure Changes

With supermarkets operating as banks, banks operating as full financial services providers, computer companies operating as systems advisers and consultants, accountancy practices operating across a vast range of services from I.T. consultancy to insolvency, insurance companies operating as mortgage brokers – the changing infrastructure of markets is increasingly difficult for customers to keep track of in terms of “who does what?”

Technology Evolution

Best exemplified by rapid changes in computing power and the advancing technology behind applications software and the silicone chip, but paralled by services such as direct 24hour banking enabled by modem links, customers are increasingly faced with the decision of timing of purchase – “do I do this now or wait for the next inevitable change?”

Economic And Price Changes

Commercial trading organisations, from service providers to manufacturing companies and all in between, are struggling to cope with the implications of falling or rising currency values, the relatively strong or weak economic performance of served countries and/or the effects on international customers, alongside the trading and political implications of economic trade blocs (EU, ASEAN, NAFTA).

Advertising And Promotion

From traditional media to the growing use of the Internet, customers are bombarded with claims and counter-claims as to the benefits and merits of a vast range of products and services.


Every Company has its “traditional competitors”, but factors such as market de-regulation, technology changes, globalisation, international market entry policies and so on, have led to a rise in the non-traditional or substitute competition factors for many organisations.

Organisational Changes And Strategies

Customers in their own organisations are also surrounded by complexities and structural changes – “downsizing”, “right-sizing”, “outsourcing” etc – which have had a dramatic effect on factors which were once certainties and are now far less so.


The Implications

All products and services enter an already complex world and have to be sold effectively against this background. The fundamental challenge is not to add complexity but to help reduce it in the sales process and actions relating to your product or service.