By Jazmin del Carmen Diaz Martinez, MSc in Business Strategy & Consulting student at Audencia.
Companies are seizing opportunities to participate in a more digitalized world, and the metaverse appears to be the talk of the decade. Every day, more companies are considering it, and many have already started purchasing digital land in the metaverse. Do you see the Big Four having virtual grounds in this new world, or is this just a cliche for gaming and high-tech companies?
In an interview, Philippe Payet, VP of Digital Transformation at CGI in France, shared his experience of working at the company for over ten years and discussed his involvement in leading some metaverse projects.
Consultants are paving their way into the metaverse
If you were unaware of this, you might be surprised that companies such as PwC and KPMG are betting on the metaverse and have recently acquired virtual lands in this digital universe (1). Consultants are not only advising companies in their metaverse transition, but they are also offering the whole package by creating prototypes in the metaverse. CGI has recently developed a Meta Hub, offering a collaborative digital and creative environment. Payet said:
“We do not want our advisors to do just a slide presentation. We want it to be tangible.”
He then explained some special projects he has had the chance to lead, e.g., one with a leading energy and petroleum company in France. So why does a petrol company want to be involved in the metaverse, you may wonder? Payet described how CGI helped its client make a prototype according to a suggested story pitch and created a virtual petrol station for customers to exploit and enhance new experiences in this universe. In the story, a family travels by car, and their children explore the metaverse, visualize stations on the way, and can even purchase goods in advance, turning a car ride into a fun and engaging experience.
Why the metaverse now, though?
Although it may sound obvious, one of the immediate impacts of Covid-19 was that it changed how many people work, causing a sense of isolation in the world. Practically all employees were required to work from home, Payet commented. After the lockdowns, most businesses enabled employees to keep working from home using a hybrid strategy. However, Covid-19’s long-term impact is yet to be determined. The metaverse promises that people will be able to work together more successfully in a digital workplace at home or anywhere in the world. Furthermore, the media attention that the metaverse has received has attracted many organizations and industries to start looking into such technologies in order to monitor and keep up with new trends in a constantly changing society.
“Consulting firms will use the metaverse as a collaborative means. We will do workshops and brainstorming in the metaverse, allowing more immersive experiences with our clients,” Payet said.
Moreover, Payet can imagine future internal CGI events taking place in the metaverse. He thinks that it would be a game changer to offer such attractive new experiences. “CGI has over 70,000 members. Using the metaverse could help us connect better and erase natural boundaries.”
However, the big question for consulting firms remains: does the metaverse represent an extension of their services and an opportunity to gain new clients, or does it also have the potential to impact their management and business? Read the following paragraphs, then reflect on it and decide.
Prepare yourself for job interviews in the metaverse
It has become more challenging for firms to attract talent due to the unforeseen changes brought by the global pandemic. People are becoming pickier and have different expectations of potential employers. As a result, organizations - including consulting firms like CGI - are now experimenting with new concepts to meet these demands, provide a remarkable candidate experience, and maintain their competitiveness in the labor market. During the discussion, Payet mentioned that CGI has started to conduct recruitment sessions in the metaverse.
“Recruitment is another big field of application. It is a collaborative way to attract people, especially young ones.”
Organizations can benefit from branding and enhancing candidates’ experiences by making them more interactive, educational, and enjoyable. Consulting firms could design an immersive candidate journey in a virtual setting using the metaverse, bringing their values, culture, and mission to a digital setup. They could also showcase their company’s and current projects.
Implications for consulting firms entering the metaverse
Payet mentioned the fact that there are some aspects that companies need to be careful with, as it is a technology that consumes a lot of energy. Firms must be cautious about the planet and continue developing new solutions that make these activities more sustainable. Additionally, there is always the risk of affecting human relations and impacting the meaning of a genuine relationship with colleagues and clients. Nevertheless, the metaverse’s immersive experience will make digital experiences more real.
“Here, you can do things you cannot do in real life. For consulting companies, it can mean new ways of running workshops. Imagine how cool it would be to, I don’t know, make our clients fly in the metaverse to generate new ideas and be more creative when we are brainstorming, but it’s still quite immature”.
People need and are moving towards disruptive technologies, VR, cloud computing, Al, big data, machine learning, etc. Even though the metaverse is still a work in progress, companies are not waiting for it to be fully developed to embark on it. What’s more, the technologies that empower it are now more advanced and available than ever and will continue to evolve (2). Firms are now focusing on how these elements can change their operations, interactions, and business models. This is the case in some new aspects of consulting firm management, as slowly evidenced by processes involving client and employee interaction.
What about you, do you think you are ready for the metaverse?