Business, Economics and Jobs

India: IT outsourcing gives Indian firms a foothold in management consulting business


Kashmiri employees working at a call centre in Srinagar. This call centre works 24/7 operations at Access Infrastructure which serves clients of one of India's largest cell phone networks.



NEW DELHI — Call it "Revenge of the Downsized."  Now, those guys at the consultancy might just lose their gig, too.

Even as Americans continue to view India's business impact as limited to telemarketing and tech support call centers, the country's largest IT outsourcing firms are moving into ever more complex areas -- which means competing INSIDE the US, too.

(Caption: Now, Indian guys can tell you that your job is completely useless, too.)

WIth IT now a core part of almost every business sector, India's large IT firms are building consulting practices that put them in direct competition with multinational management consultancies like McKinsey & Co, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte, not to mention Accenture and IBM, the Times of India reports.

As a case in point, Bangalore-based Infosys recently shelled out $350 million to acquire Switzerland's Lodestone, a consultancy that specializes in SAP-enabled business transformation (through better management of inventory and supply chains).

Similarly, Cognizant has not only been building its consulting business in-house, but also made five global acquisitions since 2005 to strengthen its capabilities in telecom, media, IT infrastructure services and high-end program management, the paper said. 

Meanwhile, HCL acquired UK-based Axon in 2008 to beef up its SAP consulting business, and Wipro aims to become "the largest pure play business transformation consulting practice in the world" with 5,000 consultants by 2015, TOI quotes the company's head of consulting services as saying.

So is the slick numbers cruncher (and jargon spewer) we know and love from Office Space and House of Lies facing extinction? Not yet, warns the Garner Group.

"If you try to do high-end management consulting (organization design/structure, general strategy, etc that the McKinseys do) it may not work out," the paper quotes Gartner's Partha Iyengar as saying.

"Many clients have told us the last thing they want from India is another management consulting firm."

Now, that's something that CEOs will no doubt understand.