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Digital shift makes tech consulting a key area for Big 4

Tech consulting is turning out to be the unlikely battleground for the Big Four firms – EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG – with the combined number of full-time tech consultants in their India practice crossing 36,000, making it the largest and fastest-growing cohort of professionals amongst all service lines.

The firms were one of the biggest beneficiaries of the digitisation mega-trend following the Covid-19 disruption as companies, both traditional and new age, doled out mandates feverishly to upgrade their customer engagement, supply-chain management and internal operations.

“Technology consulting has emerged as a pivotal force that enables enterprises to maintain relevance and stay competitive. We are helping clients with their transformation journey across all aspects of their business, ranging from customer-centric operations to the core systems and processes,” said Rohan Sachdev, the leader of EY’s India Consulting division. “It’s all about making them future-ready.”

Market leader EY has around 100 partners and more than 13,000 people in its tech consulting business and the practice is on track to generate more than ₹3,500 crore in revenue in FY23 (accounting year ends June).

The firms were also rightly positioned to leverage the digitisation trend as companies already struggling with the increasing complexity of their businesses didn’t want more piecemeal technology projects but chose to work with a few trusted service providers who could help them design and implement end-to-end digital solutions.

And that was a sweet spot for multi-disciplinary Big Four firms. For example, an ERP implementation needs expertise in various areas – technology, tax, cyber security, organisational structuring, etc – and these firms were a one-stop shop providing all services. “The client ultimately wants a business outcome, not just technology implementation. We provide a multidisciplinary solution – industry expertise, domain knowledge and technology. That’s why we make a difference,” said Sathish Gopalaiah, president, consulting, Deloitte South Asia.He added that over the past three years, Deloitte has doubled its tech consulting team, and it plans to maintain a similar rate of expansion in the coming years. The well-entrenched Big Four firms had also over time built a comprehensive suite of tech services.

“Technology has moved from being an enabler to a growth driver for businesses,” said Akhilesh Tuteja, TMT industry leader, KPMG India. “The biggest focus areas for us are data, digital solutions, and trust technologies like cybersecurity and privacy.”

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