Satyavati Berera, who leads the Consulting practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in India, knows the consultancy industry thoroughly. An Economics graduate, Berera joined PwC 24 years ago and since then has risen through the ranks to head one of the most promising business verticals within PwC India. She speaks to Manu Kaushik. Edited excerpts:
Q. The consultancy industry really started in India just over 20 years ago. In the past few years, it has undergone a series of changes. What are these?
A. There are a lot consultancy firms right now -- from technology consulting to strategy to boutique firms and the big four. Recently, we have seen a lot of companies going for success fee-based pricing.
Now what's success fee-based pricing? Suppose you get a consulting assignment where the client is telling you to do cost reduction. If you are charging fees of Rs 1 crore then you tell them that you will have a fixed fee of Rs 50 lakh and the balance fee will be a percentage of what you are able to save for the client. So you have your skin in the game. The client also feels confident.
Something like this becomes popular when economy slows down. It's a win-win for both.
Q. Besides sectoral expertise, what are your strengths?
A. Clients want to grow or they want to reduce complexity (because they have grown inorganically) or they want to reduce costs or they want to get more insights.
Companies have a lot of data with them but they want to know more about what is happening in their sector, an outside-in approach even within the company. How are sales and procuring doing and how they are interacting with each other? They want to know that. They want better insight for better decision-making. We have a large team (about 500 people) which is doing data analytics. We invested about five years back in this area.
We are working with a telecom company. We are doing a large transformation project around its assets. In a telecom company, assets are always dispersed. We are seeing what they are and if they can be used in a more optimal manner. Sometimes they are not getting used. You don't need so many of them.
Q. Tell us briefly about PwC's consulting business.
A. From our strategy, we are trying to be in larger transformation projects where we are involved from strategy to execution. We have 2,300 people in consulting in PwC India. I think we have the largest consulting practice among the big four.