Sunil Chandiramani, Partner and National Leader of Advisory Services at EY has over two decades of experience in assisting companies. He discusses consultancy in India with Manu Kaushik. Edited excerpts:
Q. How have your consulting business offerings changed in recent years?
A. At a point of time we were all on point-solutions. (Today) we are clear that if we go to market with point solutions, it will be disastrous because you are only attempting at taking a solution and finding a problem. That's not what it is all about.
We have consciously now moved out from that to what we call issue-based solutions. More often than not, a client really has an issue and he wants a solution delivered. Normally, we have seen that if you really want to solve a big issue for a client, you need a whole bunch of competencies.
For example, if I am talking to a client who's in the FMCG industry and he has a problem which might be that he wants to increase market share. Today, I am lagging behind on market share and I want to do a series of things to get my market share closer to the top.
So, what's preventing him from getting there? It can be several different things. It could be something wrong with strategy or the execution of the strategy.
We are moving more towards platform-based consulting where our ability is to bring in sector-expertise and domain-expertise and then to craft an answer and help implement that.
Clients want to drive higher level of performance. In all those cases, we find that as a better consulting model. In a lot of the cases, you actually co-build what's going to be the journey to the end result.
Rather than just turning around and saying here you go I will spend six to eight weeks with you. Here's the strategy side of it and one guy will come on a regular basis and drive it through. It doesn't work.
Anything that is cross-competency which is very sector-focused where we can help deliver that journey is our play. That's the strength of our consulting model.
Q. Which sectors are you focusing on?
A. We have got several sectors where we are extremely strong. They include financial services, government, telecom and technology, consumer products, pharma and life sciences.
One part of our strength is sectoral expertise, the other part is competencies. Even if you look at supply chain, it is a very broad term. Within supply chain, you can have procurement, network planning, production planning, sales and distribution.
There are a multitude of competencies that exist. You will need to club these competencies with that sector and that's what you need to get to solve the client's problem.
Q. What kind of growth you are seeing in your consulting business in India?
A. Over the five to six years, we have been heavily investing and growing our consulting business in India. In five years, we are growing at 35 per cent year-on-year. Even though our size is growing bigger, we are yet carrying on a certain growth trajectory. A large part of our growth is driven by Indian companies.
Q. Why do companies need consultants when they can hire people to transform their companies?
A. Consultants are used for a specific purpose. You don't want them for day-to-day operations. You want them to implement change or transform certain things. The employees within an organization have a day job to do. The employees are also coloured by personal motives. When a consultant comes, he comes with an open point of view and ready to challenge the status quo. He is not bound by your past legacies. His day job is to transform.