Speed of action is of the essence
THE IRISH TIMES 25 OCTOBER 2012
Irish firms dealing with consultants want projects that are delivered effectively and - above all else - quickly.
When it comes to dealing with consultants, Irish businesses want short-term projects, delivered on time and on budget, that can deliver real savings in a measurably short period of time.
That is the opinion of Peter Minogue, managing director of management and IT consulting specialist BearingPoint Ireland, who also believes that the economic slowdown has served a useful purpose in sorting those consultants who can deliver from those who can’t.
Peter Minogue, managing director of BearingPoint Ireland:
"We employ people who can align technology with process and strategy"
"This is something that’s become increasingly important over the last four or five years - being able to deliver tightly defined projects within a short time that can really give a return on investment. Those are the projects that are getting signed off at the moment," he said. "To do well in this market you have to be able to provide that. But to do really well, you also have to bring innovation and enthusiasm to the table."
BearingPoint Ireland is the Irish branch of a much larger European company which offers business and IT consulting services around the world. The firm currently employs 3,500 people in 15 countries.
"We do the kind of work that is transformational," Minogue said. "It has an element of business consulting that allows us to define what the requirements of an organisation are and how those align to their strategy, and if there is an IT element to it then we can offer that as well.
"Most consultancies offer one or the other, but we offer both and we employ people who can align technology with process and strategy - it’s a combination service that’s of more value to the client. It’s more efficient than getting one company to do one part and another to do another."
According to Minogue, the climate that consultancies such as BearingPoint are working in is highly value-driven, resulting in certain kinds of consultancy projects getting preference over others.
"Companies don’t have a lot of money to spend these days, so they’ll spend it where they perceive themselves as getting the most value and savings. We are a project- based business for this reason we’re not really about pushing bodies onsite and billing by the hour because nobody wants that. It’s about turning in projects that yield real value, and we’ve found that’s what gets us repeat business," he said.
BearingPoint’s offerings in the Irish market are, broadly speaking, definable in four categories - analytics and insights ; legacy systems refurbishment; customer digital management; and cloud based services.
"We are focusing on three to four key areas. We have a strong information practice across Europe, not just in the area of business intelligence, but also looking at how to help our clients use historical data to predict how things will work in the future - things like churn, fraud, insurance claims and so on," said Minogue.
"We have purchased a particular business analytics tool for this purpose, Hypercube, which we’re just starting to offer in Ireland. It allows us to analyse significantly a large amount of data and do trend analysis. It’s not a product; it’s more of a service and it’s extremely powerful. It produces actionable insights - in other words, things you can actually do, rather than just information about trends you can’t really influence."
The second category which the company is focusing on is legacy refurbishment, looking at how firms can get the most out of the technology they already own.
"Some companies are complacent regarding the role of legacy systems - in many cases, the attitude is that because they’ve worked to date, they’ll continue to work in the same way into the future. But IT is changing all the time, as are the business needs of the companies that own these legacy systems," said Minogue.
"These are often quite complex systems, but there are a decreasing number of people with the skills to get the most out of them because they’ve been around for a while. We help our clients understand how to change them to reduce the risk they pose as technology progresses around them. This is an increasingly relevant issue, because companies are under pressure to get as much value out of the money they’ve already spent on technology, and they don’t want to have a risk in the business."
Customer digital management, meanwhile, concerns the best use of mobile and other digital platforms to support the business needs of the client organisation.
“One of our strengths across Europe is our customer digital management practice and we’re rolling that experience out here, offering services that help companies to figure out how to use mobile technology to reduce the cost of selling and the cost of service, and to build loyalty at the same time.
"We have worked with some very large international brands in the luxury markets, as well as in the financial services and automotive sectors in this area, and we see this as a growth sector," said Minogue.
The final of the four key areas BearingPoint sees as being core to its business is cloud services, and in particular their relationship to global business software giant SAP. It is launching the company’s small to medium-sized enterprise cloud service Business ByDesign on the Irish market.
"Cloud is a buzzy term at the moment, but often it’s hard to pin down the exact business benefits that come with the use of cloud technology. But SAP Business ByDesign is different - it’s a very practical product," said Minogue.
"SAP has spent billions on it. It’s a business management system aimed at SMEs and multinational subsidiaries that want the advantages of being able to access enterprise-strength SAP products, but have limited resources."