Former CRM consulting arm of SPL WorldGroup, World Group Consulting, has split from the global business consultancy and systems integrator to take on the "Big Five" professional services arena.
World Group Consulting is the IT, e-commerce and customer relationship management (CRM) services spin-off of energy and utilities business SPL WorldGroup.
The new entity claims its "vendor-neutral" stance will force it into a 100 per cent customer focus"There is confusion in the marketplace," said Stephen Bool, managing director of WorldGroup Consulting Australia. "There needs to be clarity of what businesses do. CRM is about giving customers geographical and real-time access to business information and (creating) self-service channels," he said.
While the company pledges to keep customer satisfaction at the forefront of their counsel, Bool added WorldGroup was "not just (about) CRM."
"Deregulation of CRM has caused organisations to need to compete in this space and know who their customer is," he said.
Moreover, Bool believed the term had been "flogged to death" since taking off in Australia in the last decade. WorldGroup was therefore equally focused on producing more sales-oriented business solutions for local companies, who he said did not have the slightest clue who comprised their market.
According to Bool, headcount at WorldGroup's Australian operation will grow steadily from 100 consultants - half the number of global employees - to 150 over the next year. However, getting the "right people" - those with a strong "customer-orientation" - was a major "constraint" for the firm, he conceded. WorldGroup will conduct a stringent local recruitement drive, hiring only e-commerce and e-business specialists with "niche expertise," Bool said.
While the firm is relishing the opportunity to compete with the Big 5 consulting houses - Anderson Consulting, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Ernst and Young, Deloitte Consulting and Arthur Anderson - Bool said the major challenge for the new entity was the ability to access the Big Five's existing industry relationships and lucrative customer base, saying they had "bedded down" comfortably with the local IT industry.
WorldGroup predicts it will sustain its 50 per cent annual growth projection over the next few years, drawing revenue heavily from Asia. 46 per cent of the local region's CRM expenditure will come from Asia over the next year, according to Bool.
The company's Australian client base includes NRMA, Zurich, Macquarie Bank, David Jones, Peakhour, Coats Hire and Bankers Trust. Local revenue exceeds $A15 million (representing half of the firm's global annual earnings) and is forecast to reach $A24 million in 2001.