Upcoming consulting career events

by Editor 4/30/2009 4:49:00 PM
consultant jobs
The Top-Consultant.com team is organising several career events over the next few months aimed at consultants who want to fast-track their careers and industry professionals considering a move into the consulting industry.

Bi-monthly workshops, How to Ace Your Case Study Interview, are designed to help job candidates who have not had much success with case study interviews in the past and find them to be a bit of a challenge, make sure they have the knowledge and confidence they need to improve their chances of landing the consulting job they want. 

The workshops will take place on Friday, July 17th at 4pm and Wednesday, August 12th at 6:30pm. For more information and to apply, visit Top-Consultant.com.

The Art of Selling Consulting Services, Top-Consultant’s most popular seminar ever, helps consultants win more business for their firms. The seminar has already attracted more than 800 consultants from such big firms as Capgemini, PwC, Deloitte, A.T. Kearney and SAP Consulting, so the Top-Consultant.com team has scheduled an additional date – July 10th – with the content tailored specifically around the theme of winning more clients in a recessionary market. To learn more about the event, click here.

Finally, there is the seminar titled “Revitalising Your Consulting Career – Securing a Career Move in Consulting in 2009.” This will be an evening event in Central London on Monday, June 29, followed by a series of conference calls. The seminar is aimed at consultants who want to make sure they have the greatest insights into where the job and career opportunities lie, how to get hired into these organisations and how to outshine other candidates at job interviews. For more information, visit Top-Consultant.com.

To browse and apply for the latest consulting jobs online, visit ConsultancyRoleFinder.com.

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Capgemini reports stable revenues in the first quarter

by Editor 4/30/2009 4:14:00 PM
The Capgemini Group posted consolidated revenues for first quarter 2009 of €2,205 million, up 0.9% compared with the same year-ago period and down 0.3% like-for-like (constant Group structure and exchange rates).

Compared with the first quarter of 2008, the Group's revenues reflect the following like-for-like changes:

􀁹 By discipline: Outsourcing Services advanced 1.1% and Technology Services edged up 0.4%; Sogeti declined 0.7% while Consulting Services retreated 9.8%.

􀁹 By region: the United Kingdom & Ireland put in a strong performance (up 7.0%), while revenues in France and Benelux shed 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively. Revenues recorded in North America were 6.9% lower than in the first quarter of 2008.

Bookings in first-quarter 2009 (excluding recent acquisition BAS BV) came in at €2,221 million versus €2,172 million in the prior-year period (at comparable exchange rates and Group structure), and were boosted by a near-40% leap for Outsourcing Services. Although bookings weakened by 9% on average for the Group's other three disciplines (Consulting, Technology and Local Professional Services) due to a wait-and-see approach to new project launches among clients, the book-to-bill ratio for these businesses nevertheless remained in positive territory at 1.04.

These results are in line with expectations and bolster the Group's confidence in its guidance for the first half of 2009 that like-for-like revenues would see a modest decline of around 2% and that operating margin should remain above 6.5% (first-half 2008 operating margin was 7.6%).

At the Group's Shareholders' Meeting held today, Capgemini will ask shareholders to approve the payment of a dividend of €1 per share and appoint two new Directors: Bernard Liautaud, General Partner of Balderton Capital Management and co-founder of Business Objects; and Pierre Pringuet, Chief Executive Officer of the Pernod Ricard Group.

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Deloitte: everything that depends on cyberspace is at risk

by Editor 4/30/2009 4:07:00 PM
Governments around the world need to address cybersecurity urgently in order to enable sustainable economic growth and mitigate the threat of disruption to government operations and commerce. According to the point of view “Cybersecurity: Everybody’s imperative. Protecting our economies, governments, and citizens,” published by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, everything that depends on cyberspace—from infrastructure to military operations and national security—is at risk.

“We need to act now to ensure the continued safety and security of a digital economy, our governments, and above all, our very nations,” said Greg Pellegrino, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Global Public Sector Industry Leader, and co-author of the point of view. “The stakes of not addressing cybersecurity now are high, and the risks of not doing it right are even higher. An inappropriate approach could foster isolation, the prospect of cyber-protectionism, and an inadequate balance between security and civil liberties," he added.

According to the report, an effective cybersecurity program would positively impact economies and governments around the world by encouraging global commerce and fostering better interaction between governments and those who are governed.

Cyber culture—fostered by the rapid growth of Internet enabled devices and machinery—is growing faster than cybersecurity, and it won’t slow down. Cyberspace, which began as an electronic add-on to other domains such as land or sea commerce, today is a domain unto itself. Private data, intellectual property, cyber infrastructure and even military and national security can be compromised by deliberate attacks, inadvertent security lapses, and the vulnerabilities of relatively immature, unregulated frontier—the global Internet.

A transnational solution to be addressed by public and private sector

“Governments around the world need to define the degree of international investment and cooperation between the public and private sectors to address this complex problem,” said Pellegrino. “The solution must be transnational and holistic, and it must involve more than technology.”

According to the Deloitte member firm subject matter experts interviewed for the point of view, governments must cooperate to set up uniform standards of protection around the world and partner with the private sector because most of the world’s online infrastructure is in corporate hands. Cybersecurity should also strike the right balance between security and civil liberties, educate and involve citizens to make them aware of the threats, and provide positive inducements to dissuade future cyber-criminals. Because of the crucial, strategic nature of the problem, the solution must involve top leadership in both governments and industry.

Incentives and accountability

The role of governments around the world in meeting this challenge is one of the issues raised in this report. The Deloitte specialists interviewed agree that the public sector should set standards that build better security and protection and should develop new laws on data privacy that align with the new reality. “Today’s cyber threat environment requires a sustained, strategic focus from a global perspective. Effective cybersecurity efforts will enhance global commerce, improve security of on-line transactions, increase protection of sensitive data, but more importantly, bolster trust, transparency and efficiency in government dealings with the private sector,” said co-author of the point of view Gary McAlum, retired Colonel U.S. Air Force, and Senior Manager, Security & Privacy Services, Deloitte & Touche, LLP.

However, those who don’t keep up with cybersecurity may not maintain a trusted relationship and, as a result, might find themselves isolated in an increasingly interdependent global economy, and give rise to a new cyber protectionism. Disparities in cyber risk management among countries can also affect trade: On the one hand, governments might deny potentially unsafe trading partners; on the other hand, some companies might get away from operating in overseas markets where they don’t feel their assets are protected.

“Governments must treat cybersecurity—and the changes in habits and lifestyle that go with it—as " whens," not "ifs." There's no question that we need to live with this. There’s no way back,” concluded Pellegrino.

For more information, view or download the full report, "Cybersecurity: Everbody's imperative."

For information on the recently released Obama cybersecurity report, visit "Securing cyberspace for the 44th presidency."

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Accenture tops The Global Outsourcing 100 list

by Editor 4/29/2009 4:12:00 PM
IT consulting firm Accenture has been named top outsourcing provider by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP). The consultancy was ranked No. 1 on IAOP’s Global Outsourcing 100 list for the second consecutive year.

IAOP’s Global Outsourcing 100 list was conceived to help businesses find the most suitable service providers for their organisation using an objective set of factors. Outsourcing providers are ranked based the quality of their service judged across 18 different criteria.

IAOP chairman Michael Corbett said, “Companies around the world use IAOP’s Global Outsourcing 100 to make smarter buying decisions. We're proud of the program and very appreciative of all the great companies that put so much effort into the application and evaluation process. Accenture's No. 1 ranking is a testament not only to its outsourcing capabilities but to the way it brings leadership and a commitment to excellence to everything it does.”

“Accenture is extremely honoured to be recognized once again by the IAOP as the best outsourcing provider in the world,” said Kevin Campbell, Accenture’s group chief executive – Outsourcing. “The ranking is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the 85,000 Accenture men and women around the world who provide outsourcing services that can help our clients improve their business performance, create new business value and innovate to stay ahead of the marketplace.”

Accenture’s services include application, infrastructure, and business process outsourcing. The company has more than 600 clients across more than 30 industries in both the public and private sector.

Find the latest Accenture jobs on our consultancy job board.

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EDS, Accenture and others to sell Microsoft’s online services

by Editor 4/28/2009 4:41:00 PM
Microsoft revealed on Monday that EDS, a Hewlett-Packard unit, IT consulting firm Accenture, and other information technology companies have agreed to help sell its collection of hosted online services – the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite – which Microsoft originally launched in November.

The products are hosted in Microsoft’s data centres. They include Exchange, SharePoint, Office Communications Server and Live Meeting.

Wortell, a Dutch system integrator and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, said it liked Microsoft’s services because they made it possible for them to achieve higher sales, as well as reach clients who for different reasons can't invest in building their own computing infrastructure.

Wortell CTO Danny Burlage said: “For us, (it) means that we don't have to worry about infrastructure. It allows us to focus on what's really important.”

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Deloitte releases The Global Economic Outlook Report for Q2 2009

by Editor 4/28/2009 4:40:00 PM
Not since the 1930s has the policy response to a recession been as transformative as the current trend of government economic intervention around the world, according to a new report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. The Global Economic Outlook Q2 2009 report, released today, shows reason for cautious optimism as government policies have begun to heal credit markets. However, the moderate success of global policy initiatives is overshadowed by the potential impact of demographic threats to global markets. According to the report, demographic threats will create new crisis management challenges in the near future.

The report reveals that some positive indications have begun to emerge. Global shipping rates have stabilized and modestly increased; risk spreads are far below their level of a few months ago; and in the United States, an unprecedented policy response is resetting the playing field.

“Although the crisis is affecting countries worldwide, all eyes are on the United States and whether the various stimulus and bank rescue plans are going to get the U.S. economy going again,” says Dr. Ira Kalish, Director of Global Economics, Deloitte Research, a subsidiary of Deloitte Services LP. “Whether the United States experiences a lost decade like Japan in the 1990s will depend on how quickly it addresses problems in the current banking system. Without private-sector lending, any government stimulus program eventually runs out of cash before the recovery becomes self-reinforcing.”

Despite some positive signs, there are still numerous indications that the crisis will continue, especially in emerging markets. The World Bank in its recent China quarterly update report cut its 2009 forecast for China to 6.5 percent, in large part because of an expected contraction in exports in 2009. On a larger scale, The IMF has forecast 2009 ASEAN-5 growth at 2.7 percent and the member countries are essentially taking the full brunt of the slowdown.

As reported by the Central Statistics Organization, India’s GDP growth in the third quarter of FY09 (Oct-Dec 2008) slowed to 5.3 percent compared to 7.6 in the previous quarter, which can be directly attributed to negative growth in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, the latter contracting by 2.2 percent. Further, the Indian rupee has lost close to 25 percent of its value in less than a year, and exports have fallen consistently month-to-month since August 2008.

Brazil’s outlook, meanwhile, has been negatively impacted by a drop in domestic demand due to credit problems and their impact on domestic conditions, including capital flight.

“Many emerging markets are seeing fallout from the financial crisis that had not necessarily been anticipated,” explains Dr. Kalish. “Government intervention and cost-cutting will help most companies maintain and emerge from the crisis ready for growth. However, long-term challenges are already at play, and stimulus plans and other policy measures will only prove partly useful in ensuring future growth.”

The report maintains that while more pressing short-term issues dominate boardroom discussions across the globe, demographic challenges will likely make it harder to return to a sustainable growth path in the long term. Steps have to be taken now to be ahead of the game as the recovery unfolds.

“For the developing world, the race is on to achieve the standard of education and innovation needed to turn its young workers into a globally productive force,” writes Dr. Elisabeth Denison, senior economist, Deloitte Germany. “Unfortunately the financial crisis has stripped many of them of the necessary capital to invest in the future. As for the industrial nations, policies need to focus on solving the financing dilemma of demographic change and counteracting the impact of a shrinking labor force.”

To read the full report, including individual country reports, visit www.deloitte.com/GEOQ209

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Oracle’s acquisition of Sun to reshape IT industry

by Editor 4/27/2009 4:24:00 PM
Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems is likely to reshape the technology sector and put the software company into a much more prominent position in both the hardware and software markets, say analysts.

Oracle purchased Sun in a $7.1 billion deal after Sun’s talks with IBM had fallen through. As a result of the acquisition, Oracle will become the No. 2 player, ahead of Hewlett-Packard and second only to IBM, in the market for Unix computers, utilized in corporate data centres. The deal will also give the software giant control of the widely used Java software, as well as the Solaris OS for Unix servers.

Howard Anderson, former chief executive of the Yankee Group and a lecturer at the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, says: “This is a competitor that is much more formidable than Sun standing alone. If I were a Sun customer I was starting to get nervous about Sun. I was worried about their viability. I’m not worried about that anymore. I know that Oracle is going to be there.”

Toni Sacconaghi, analyst at Sanford Bernstein, predicts that Oracle will need to cut another 5,500 to 10,000 jobs once it takes over Sun. Other analysts say that Oracle will cut Sun’s cost structure and revitalize the company that reported a loss of $1.9 billion in the first half of its current fiscal year.

Laura DiDio, an analyst with consulting firm ITIC, says: “Across the board, this puts Oracle on much more of a competitive footing against IBM and HP. This puts them on an even footing from disk to databases, and everything in between.”

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IBM study predicts new world financial order

by Editor 4/27/2009 4:04:00 PM
According to a survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value, 90% of financial markets executives and government officials believe the returns of the past are over. The study reveals that as the financial markets industry radically restructures, firms must adapt to a new lower-margin landscape where they will need to specialize around services that clients value rather than continuing to provide a full range of in-house offerings.

The new IBM study predicts significant consolidation in segments wrought with over-capacity such as investment banking, asset management, and wealth management. Enhanced regulation and transparency will also eliminate opacity, with previously high-margin activities becoming commoditized.

The study predicts three specific areas of specialization that are likely to emerge from the new economic condition:

  • Beta transactors: the majority of financial markets firms will concentrate on utility services (trading, asset management, etc) that provide the infrastructure required to facilitate market-making in the same way that water companies provide the reservoirs, purification processes and pipes required to deliver clean water.
  • Advisors: a smaller number of firms will concentrate on providing advice - such as wealth management or mergers and acquisitions advice.
  • Alpha seekers: a handful of private equity firms, hedge funds and boutique investment houses, none of which are 'too large to fail', will focus on generating high returns from high-risk investments.

"The three trends - towards specialization, client orientation and improved efficiency - are triggering a restructuring wave on a greater scale then ever before, eroding margins and forcing all firms to reconsider their value propositions and their core business models," said Shanker Ramamurthy, Global Managing Partner for Banking & Financial Markets at IBM Global Business Services. "The new industry will not only lack some of the great brand names of the past, but will also lack many of its past characteristics - from excessive risk taking, opacity and leverage, to massively high returns."

For some time, firms found it all too easy to make vast profits by exploiting pockets of opacity in the market and did little to refine management or control systems, to improve transparency or to connect with their clients. Respondents to the IBM survey said that improved client service and efficiency will be critical for competitive survival in a new lower-margin financial order, a finding consistent with other more mature industries. In the future, firms will need 'smarter' systems that can continuously assess their risks and returns across each line of business and adjust their business mix accordingly. At the same time these systems will also enable firms to refine client service through improved understand of profitability by business line and product as well as by individual client.

"Banks have been used to a level of volatility and business cyclicality, and are currently slashing headcount and closing business lines in order to save money, just as they have done in previous downturns. However, in the current restructuring, radical efficiency improvements will be required for survival," added Ramamurthy. "Indeed IBM's analysis suggests that the current wave of redundancies and divestitures will provide insufficient savings and that firms will need to seek further efficiency improvements of 20% or more as they face the need for a level of transformation and radical business model reform not seen in previous downturns."

Although growth is expected to be sluggish through 2012; it will depend on a firm's ability to thrive in an increasingly transparent environment. For example, hedge funds (and their prime brokerage service providers as a result) will come under severe pressure as transparency reveals that the majority of funds are not delivering on their 'alpha promise'. Meanwhile flow businesses (derivatives in particular), passive investments and infrastructure providers such as custodians, clearing firms and exchanges will grow as a result of increased transparency and a movement away from risk assumption towards risk mitigation.

In one of the most extensive surveys of the financial markets industry ever undertaken, and at a time when the industry is facing its greatest period of turmoil, the IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed 2,754 industry participants, including 1,076 individual investors and 1,678 executives and public officials, to determine how financial markets firms should prepare for the future. In a report published today entitled "Toward transparency and sustainability - Building a new financial order", it found that respondents were in broad agreement on the need to eliminate complexity and excess and move to a more transparent, sustainable market. They also agreed on the need for effective regulation not only to avoid the mistakes of the past, but also to prevent new ones in the future - but they feared that poor regulation may hinder necessary innovation.

Further findings in the report include:

  • Providers and clients are disconnected 79% of the time (what clients actually value and will pay for vs. what providers think their clients value and will pay for).
  • 80% of firms ranked themselves as moderate to poor in delivering on their brand promises of client-centricity, agility and stability (brand promises are for multiple stakeholders including clients, governments and employees).
  • Over 60% of clients believe their provider isn't acting in the best interest of the client; and nearly 60% of providers agree that they are not acting in their clients' best interest.
  • The buy side understands client behavior to a greater extent vs. the sell side - but there is still room for improvement even on the buy side.
  • Over 90% of executives and government officials believe the industry will unbundle; apparently 'wealth destruction leads to self reflection' - the industry is specializing by thinking through 1) what to do, 2) what not to do, and 3) how to specialize around what the client values.
  • When asked about the new world order, financial executives and government officials ranked as number one the need for greater transparency, second the need to address capital and liquidity and third the misalignment between firms' incentives and the needs of governments and individual consumers.
  • 70% of executives are concerned that the government will 'overshoot' and over-prioritize financial stability at the expense of innovation.

For more information about IBM go to: www.ibm.com or about the IBM Institute for Business Value go to www.ibm.com/iibv  

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Leading strategy consulting firm Marakon opens Zurich office

by Editor 4/21/2009 4:03:00 PM
IT consulting jobs,career in consulting,big four jobs,london it jobs,executive jobs

International management and strategy consulting firm Marakon Associates has announced the opening of its first office in Continental Europe, in Zurich. The consultancy has established the new office to help existing clients - which include Global 1000 companies - further improve their performance and boost value growth, as well as to provide a platform for new business growth in the region.

Brian Burwell, Marakon Chief Executive Officer, said: "Over the years, we have built long-standing relationships with a number of major Continental European companies. Having a local presence in Zurich will enable us to serve those clients better and connect with new companies that could benefit from our expertise and capabilities, collaborative client-service model and focus on value."

Mike Baxter will lead the Zurich office as regional managing partner for Continental Europe. He will be joined by partner Alastair Campbell and principals Ralf Loehrl and Thomas Olsen.

Baxter explained that Marakon decided on Switzerland as the site for its new office because of the country's location at the heart of Europe, its proximity to other big consulting markets, the firm's already strong Swiss network and Zurich's concentration of large multinational companies. "This will be the first of a number of Continental offices in select locations over the next few years," he said.

Founded nearly 30 years ago, Marakon works primarily with large corporations across a broad range of industries to help them deliver superior and sustained performance. The firm's clients have been among the most consistently successful companies in their industries.

The new Zurich office is located on Seefeldstrasse and is staffed by a team of local hires and relocated consultants from Marakon's London office. Headcount is expected to grow significantly within a few years.

Marakon already has offices in London, New York, Singapore, Chicago and San Francisco.

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PA Consulting dismisses Cognizant rumours

by Editor 4/21/2009 3:58:00 PM
In response to recent rumours that it was a possible target for acquisition, UK-based consultancy PC Consulting has issued the following statement:

The story in the Economic Times of India, 20 April, "Cognizant in talks to buy UK firm Pa Consulting" -- which has also appeared in a range of other publications -- is without foundation and factually inaccurate from beginning to end. For the record:

-- PA's Executive team and Board are not, nor have ever been, in talks with Cognizant about anything whatsoever. There is no truth at all in the allegation of an acquisition of PA, nor any part of PA; nor in the possibility of alliances, partnerships or the like.

-- The story contains incorrect information about PA, from our operational performance (we suspect that the article uses the results from one of our many subsidiaries, rather than our overall results), to the valuation of our firm, to the date of our foundation, and even how the firm's name is spelled.

PA is a highly successful employee-owned global management and technology consulting firm, working across the world with major companies in the private and public sectors. We are one of the largest and most influential sourcing advisory firms and we take very seriously our ability to give our clients independent advice. The emphasis we place on this independence is one reason why we would not pursue an alliance with Cognizant.

PA is seeking advice about the highly inaccurate financial performance information given in the article, particularly as it understates PA's financial performance and is in direct conflict with our audited information. The correct information is publicly available and contained in our annual reports at www.paconsulting.com.

In 2009, PA continues to build on our 2008 performance, where we achieved our best year ever in terms of revenue, profit and margin.

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