During the 2000s, BCG focused on demonstrating the value of its client work, standardizing operations, building specialization, and enriching its relationship with clients.
After the dot-com bust in 2001, many companies cut their expenses and became skeptical about new consulting engagements. BCG made a point of explaining how its projects would create value. Many proposals included quantifiable statements about the benefits of the project and how these would come about; the teams then tracked their progress against plan. The process worked so well that the firm in some cases made its fees contingent on creating this value.
Meanwhile, global expansion gained steam and many of the firm’s clients wanted BCG to expand with them. More important than the continued opening of new offices was the emerging global mindset. Instead of working as a collection of local offices with their own internal processes and websites, the firm standardized many of the operations. That made it easier to assemble teams from multiple offices to serve clients.
These global teams increasingly needed not only geographical breadth but also specialist expertise. As a large and diverse firm, BCG had pockets of knowledge throughout its operations, and the firm often called on those consultants for big client challenges. New technologies and business developing demanded expertise in new areas. To fill gaps, the firm broke with tradition and hired partner-level consultants from other firms. But it also worked to instill the BCG collaborative culture in these lateral hires to ensure that they succeeded.
With such broad capabilities, the firm built close ties to large clients that sought the distinctive BCG approach across multiple projects. Consultants spent more time onsite with clients, and new communications technologies made them easily available at other times. As a result, the firm continued growing even during the Great Recession of 2008, tripling its revenues to $3 billion.
By the end of the 2000s, BCG had reached 4,400 employees and 67 total offices.