Jan 12, 2008

Wipro to enter HR Consulting

From ET:

Wipro will offer expertise in training and leadership, process capabilities, people integration post M&As, learning tools and techniques and competency building. The company is not going to look at the recruitment part of the HR spectrum, but may take on contracts for management of development centres for some of its big-ticket clients.

Having built in internal capabilities in HR consulting front, Wipro is looking at taking it to third party and would offer services similar to the specialised HR firms such as Mercer and Hewitt do.
Apart from process capabilities and training, Wipro, with its string of pearls acquisition strategy, has offerings on people integration issues as well. Wipro vice-president (HR) Pratik Kumar told ET: “We are offering HR consulting to some of our clients with whom we have deep engagements. We may not go to market with this practice, but will cross-sell it to our existing clients.”

The consulting business accounts for 4% of revenue of the technology major. To that extent, HR consulting would constitute a minuscule part of the pie, at present. The company is looking at bundling HR practice with the overall IT consulting business.

It's one thing to have resources, but another to make a successful business out of it. The biggest challenge to Wipro's effort in this business would come from itself, ironically.

The branding of the company is so strong in IT, that the only HR consulting work that can come its way easily is HRMS consulting and IT based HR systems consulting.

The difficult part would be to reskill current HR professionals in consulting and also integrating it as a service for the business development guy to market. If it's easier to sell a large IT consulting and service project why should they make an effort to sell a smaller emerging practice in the first place?

And I wonder what will happen to Wipro's own relationship with the Hewitts and Mercers of the world. Will they shy away from offering their consulting services to a potential competitor?

I remember that Infosys also had a small group doing OD and change management consulting services that were bundled with IT consulting project. That practice also hasn't scaled up in Infosys to become any big.

As David Maister says in his book "Strategy and the Fat Smoker" strategy is also figuring out what we shouldn't do and maintaining focus.