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March 3, 1999

IT SERVICES: KPMG AIMS TO PROVE INTEGRATION KNOWHOW

By CBR Staff Writer

After showing a 51% rise in fee incomes last year selling mostly strategic and operations consultancy advice, KPMG Consulting is now looking for growth in the IT services sector, spearheaded by a move into the e-commerce solutions market and a planned global roll-out of so-called ‘solutions proving centers’.

A first target will be business-to-business electronic purchasing. KPMG Consulting estimates that purchase of non- production materials like computer hardware and stationery can account for 20% of an average company’s cash flow, and that the acquisition of everyday items can take up to 80% of a purchasing department’s time. The result, it says, is wastage equal to 11% of the total value of goods purchased by a business. KPMG Consulting’s proposed e-procurement solution addresses this wastage by automating the purchasing cycle to remove some of the repetitive administration tasks. In the UK where the first such Solutions Center opened this week, a business could use the systems to achieve full UK VAT compliance electronically.

The e-procurement product brings together KPMG’s consulting skills, Hewlett-Packard hardware, Microsoft NT, SAP’s R/3 enterprise resource planning software, Visa International’s purchasing card system and Infobank’s InTrade e-commerce suite – software that’s particularly strong on multi-currency and multi- lingual support. KPMG says the set up is well integrated, and is easily repeatable and ideal as a quick roll-out package. By moving down this path KPMG is going head-to-head with established rapid deployment specialists like Cambridge Technology Partners. Stephen King, the KPMG partner responsible for systems integration, said KPMG Consulting’s key advantage over competitors lies with its understanding of business processes. This should lead to less backtracking at the implementation stage than its competitors can achieve.

The product is being offered primarily to the financial, telecoms, technology and retail industries, with discussions already taking place to implement a system for UK-based Nat West bank. While KPMG Consulting has always taken a role in systems integration for its clients, the arrival of the Support Centers – there are two more planned in Europe and plans to set up similar centers around the world – signals the first overt effort to promote its capabilities in this area. It has established ties with Microsoft and Cisco Systems and ERP providers of SAP, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Oracle and Baan. It is planning Support Centers to demonstrate integrated systems for knowledge management, customer relationship management, and human resources.

Staffing levels give a good indication of the importance that KPMG Consulting is giving to systems integration work. In the UK KPMG Consulting’s Solution Centre currently employs 175 systems integration specialists out of a total of 1500 consultants in the region. This is expected to double by next year. Consulting earned KPMG UK 216.9 million pounds in the UK during 1998, 25% of its total 1998 revenue of 866.7 million pounds. This represented growth of 51% over the previous year.

This article is part of ComputerWire’s European Computer Services information service. Some articles from the service are being provided to ComputerGram subscribers for a trial period only.

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