A first-generation service configurator lets the client do what she wants. The consultancy firm's website offers the options, and the clients are free to roam around as they see fit.
A more intelligent service configurator actively assists clients in avoiding mistakes. It prefills forms. It informs clients about certain conditions to start a particular project. For example, a client needs a database of a certain quality before it can engage in consumer analytics. The configurator provides an indicative cost and return-on-investment and provides a high-level implementation planning.
All this hand-holding is the outcome of a taxonomy driven by meta-tagging past projects. Comparing previous projects results in a set of logical rules. The configurator uses these rules in a conversation with the client. Making these rules explicit – and compare them among practices – makes consultants more aware of how to best engage in a dialog with their clients.
First, the scope bot narrows down the client's problem. Then, the configurator translates that problem into a high-level solution. The next step is the proposal generator that converts all that information into a ready-to-sign proposal.
It is yet unclear how pricing will develop once consultants go fully digital. On the one hand, digitalization makes the 'production of advice' cheaper; all the extra bells & whistles will make it more expensive. If we assume that the net effect balances out – overall prices remain at their current level – then we can't rely on managers or buyers that they use their corporate credit card to pay for the consultancy in the online consultancy shop. After all, prices for consultancy prices will more than often exceed individual employees' spending limits. Hence, the consultants' webshopneeds an additional workflowto cater to the client's purchase order process.