In the early weeks of 2016 there have been a number of stories regarding consulting firms either gaining new contracts or aligning themselves around leading technology firms such as Salesforce.
Part of the reason for this is because of the complex nature of digital transformations; a trend for businesses looking to modernise their organisations.
Although the technology challenges aren’t particularly getting any harder, the need to understand the business processes involved and how to change them is where business consultancy skills come into play.
The complex business process, combined with the rise of hybrid IT and a growing demand for cloud services, all lead to a requirement for consultancy skills to guide businesses through what can and can’t be done.
CBR highlights some of the biggest consultancy firms, their areas of the strength and where they are looking in the future for what will bring in the money.
Global revenue of just over $24 billion and a focus on audit, tax and advisory services, KPMG employs over 174,000 people and is identified as one of the major auditors in the world.
Audit is the biggest (42%) of the business with advisory (37%) and tax (21%) making up the rest.
As Audit is the biggest part of the company’s business it is no surprise that it should be up there as one of the best choices for helping you through it.
In 2014 the consultancy announced it had forged a decade long strategic alliance with the McLaren group in order to use its McLaren Applied Technologies predictive analytics and technology to give KPMG’s audit and advisory services a competitive edge.
The company tracks emerging trends in infrastructure and in 2016 it has identified that ‘no normal’ will probably be the ‘new normal’, so investors will need to get comfortable with uncertainty.
Other trends highlighted includes competition for investment heating up, asset management getting more complex, technology getting higher up on the agenda and security becoming a mainstream issue.
In 2015 Accenture’s employee count was over 358,000, with the global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company posting a net income of just over $3bn with an operating income of $4.4bn.
Recent moves in January and the second half of last year has seen the company position itself closely to Salesforce.
One of the reasons for this is that Salesforce is closely associated with many businesses efforts around digital transformation and hybrid IT.
It’s clear that one of Accenture’s big strengths is around this area of digital transformation, and while that is a broad area, the consultancy has certainly spent a lot and put a great deal of effort into improving its expertise in this area.
The acquisition of the likes of Cloud Sherpas has put Accenture in a strong position to deal with technology that is at the heart of many organisations, the CRM platform.
In its recent tech vision the company identified five key trends for technology in 2016, highlighting intelligent automation, liquid workforce, platform economy, predictable disruption and digital trust.
The professional services firm is one of the largest in the world with $35.2bn in revenue in 2015 and 225,400 professionals globally.
It provides audit, tax, consulting, enterprise risk and financial advisory services, with the audit (30%) and consulting (33%) areas the largest parts of its business.
The company has recently released its regulatory and investor reporting tool that is designed to help banks, asset managers and insurance firms to cope with high levels of regulation and complex tax guidelines.
Like the other companies, it has a tech trends report that it publishes yearly, but unfortunately, at the time of writing this article, the 2016 version is yet to come out. However you can look at its 2015 report to see how close to the mark it was.
Trends featured included the CIO’s role changing to be more greatly integration focused, the rise of the API economy, Ambient computing which links to IoT, and software-defined everything. Software-defined everything has been enabled by technology advances and enables a foundation for building agility into the way companies deliver IT services.
Like Accenture, Deloitte has significant strengths in the CRM market, but its Customer Experience Implementation services are where it is possibly strongest.
Gartner recently recognised the company as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for these two areas. .
PricewaterhouseCoopers, typically identified as PwC, is a professional services network and one of the major auditors in the world.
With more than 208,000 employees it had total revenues of $35.4 billion in 2015, $15.2 billion of which was generated by its Assurance practice, which aims to improve the context of information so that decision makers can make more informed decisions.
In 2015 PwC was selected the most times as a financial advisor for mergers and acquisitions in the UK, bringing in £5.9bn.
The company has completed over 3,400 deals globally in the last 10 years that have been valued at more than $389bn, 39% of which were cross border.
The company offers advice throughout M&A transactions, as well as helping to find the right buyer across both a national and regional Middle East network of practitioners.
Like Accenture it has recently made acquisitions in order to boost its ability to offer specialised cloud-based solutions.
It did this by acquiring Outbox, a Poland based company that specialises in customer, digital and cloud-based solutions and transformational services.
The company runs CEO surveys at the beginning of each year to identify what is likely to be areas of concern for their businesses.
For 2016 the key areas of focus were found to be a regionalisation in trade and divergence in economic models and regulatory frameworks, which has been highlighted in the on-going Safe Harbour discussions.
Other key areas of focus include customer and stakeholders expecting business to demonstrate a higher purpose over the coming years and that over-regulation will pose a threat to business growth.
5. IBM Global Business Services
Part of Big Blue, the Global Business Services unit employees over 190,000 people, and in 2012 it reported revenue of $58.8bn.
It’s goal is to help companies to manage their IT operations and resources across its two major divisions; Global Business Services and Global Technology Services.
GBS is the professional services arm and includes management and strategy consulting along with systems integration and application management services, its revenue was $13.5bn in 2014.
GTS is more focused on outsourcing services, business continuity and resilience along with integrated technology services and maintenance, in 2012 it reported revenue of $40.2bn.
Recently the Global Business Services has been aiming to increase its digital agency offering with acquisitions of the likes of Aperto and Resource/Ammirati, suggesting that this is an area that it feels it can be productive in.
The company is positioning itself to be strong in the marketing, sales and services sector having already helped companies such as Nationwide to transform its online, core banking, service and business capabilities.
In addition to this the company has worked with the Wimbledon tennis tournament to build on its brand by increasing its reach to attract a more diverse audience.
The company’s strength is its technology solutions which it can combine with consultancy to solve business problems.