Mar 30, 2006

Indian consultants score high in world market

Interesting article from SKP Cross Border Consulting.

No comment to add on it, except for the fact that they left a few groups out. Like Everest.

First, it was in the world of academics, where the Indian guru made a mark, rising to top positions in Ivy League tech and business schools. The next logical step is into the equally knowledge-heavy world of consulting, where Indian talent is making an impact world-wide. As the world gives India monikers like ‘knowledge capital of the world,’ consulting majors — the Brahmins of global business — have realised that India has an important role to play in their industry as well.

Consultants in all hues and shades, right from blue-blooded strategy formulators like McKinsey and Bain, to mid-level firms like AT Kearney and Monitor, to IT-centric consultancies like Accenture and Sapient, are each adding an India element to their global strategies.

So while Bain puts up its knowledge centre in Gurgaon, IBM is talking about hiring thousands in India, and other firms are increasingly using Indian consultants to service overseas clients. If the number of Indians working overseas in various consulting firms is any indication, India is clearly emerging as the next big sourcing centre for consulting talent. KPMG has set up KPMG Resource Centre Private Ltd (KRCPL), which will not only provide support but will also train people in business advisory services apart from other audit functions.

Meanwhile, all pure play consultants are looking at hiring Indian talent, which often flows abroad for long and short stints. One big shift has been the growing acceptance of Indian consultants by overseas clients. In the least few years, there has been a growing realisation that Indian talent is good at consulting. McKinsey, the Boston Consulting Group, AT Kearney and PwC, all made their highest number of offers across all B-schools in India this year.

The big consulting firms have resorted to a more globalised trend of staffing and, as a result, more and more Indians are filling the ranks. And a close look at the financials of consulting firms in India will reveal another secret: the money coming in from Indian consultants working for overseas clients is becoming a strong revenue stream for the firms. Many global consulting firms are changing their business models to improve their profitability, and Indian consultants working abroad are boosting the firm’s revenues.

Globally, consulting is under a lot of cost pressure, and as clients expectations are changing, they are demanding better services at more reasonable prices. Consulting firms are trying to deal with the situation by offshoring parts of their work to low-cost geographies. McKinsey took the lead and launched its Knowledge Centre in India in 1997, giving the consulting world a new way to get quality research done at lower costs. Now, others like Bain, AT Kearney and KPMG are also leveraging their India capabilities, by setting up captives in India.

Even if some consulting firms have decided not to have a captive knowledge unit in India, they are still tapping into the Indian advantage by using third party KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) firms. The low cost factor, the access to talent and the time zone play is simply a proposition that no one wants to let go.