Andersen Consulting, trading as Accenture from next year, is gunning for a bigger slice of the business IT pie, saying traditional IT consulting is dead.
The focus now is on the corporate-wide strategy and includes partnerships and alliances and sharing risks, according to Australian regional managing partner Derek Young.
"Two years ago the IT executive was the only buyer of our [services]. IT strategy is now integrated into business strategy.
"Companies want us to bring business and technology expertise on top of our range of partnerships and alliances to the relationship, not just pay us [hourly] consulting rates," he said.
Graham Henry, former Australian regional managing partner at Andersen, said: "The business environment has changed. Companies expect us to be business partners, to have at-risk people and at-risk capital, to give advice, to take actions jointly and to be rewarded as a result of those actions, and to me that is not consulting."
According to Young, over the next five years traditional consulting as a proportion of AC's global business will shrink from 80 per cent to 50 per cent due to the shift in mindset among IT decision-makers. "Our growth will come from being able to provide complete solutions and introducing new technologies to enterprise clients," he said.
CRM is the largest consulting area for AC, and a space that Young believes has "exploded" here in the last three years.
"Organisations are realising that the whole idea of CRM [boils down to] the revenue line as opposed to the cost line of the business," Young explained. CRM generates $100 million in global revenue for AC.
Young is seeing AC clients from all sectors taking on more technology, upgrading systems and deploying newer technology to fit the e-business model. "When you cut through all the [marketing] bullshit around e-commerce, a new economy is emerging where business-to-business (B2B) is impacting all industries from major banks and federal government departments to resource industry organisations, " he said.
"Across the board, industry sectors are realising that they need to consider how e-business is going to impact them, be it through a WAP application implementation or Internet kiosk. 30 per cent of our clients are now considering the move to e-business," he added.
"What we're seeing now is a stampede from B2C to B2B ventures. Look at the B2B e-procurement exchanges-there'll be competitive advantage by individual industry space."