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Why IT consulting services need a makeover

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SummaryA recent research report on the state of consulting services offered by the IT industry opines that consulting services have degenerated in recent years from the original aspiration of being a service line in itself to issue-based tactical services or ‘bread and butter’ offering meant primarily to drive downstream package implementation or application management and business process optimisation and off-shoring services.

A recent research report on the state of consulting services offered by the IT industry opines that consulting services have degenerated in recent years from the original aspiration of being a service line in itself to issue-based tactical services or ‘bread and butter’ offering meant primarily to drive downstream package implementation or application management and business process optimisation and off-shoring services. The transactional offerings which started with impact analysis in the Y2K days when large volumes of legacy systems had to be analysed for the impact of the date change have now moved to specific offerings like SEI CMM process consulting and ICD to ICD 10 transition services in the healthcare sector and India-based business analytics, modeling and process management services that often have payments linked in whole or part to the actual business outcomes of these services.

This may seem a rather understandable state of affairs particularly at a time when the jury is still out on the impact of the global economic turbulence on industry fortunes in the next year and more. Almost paradoxically, this period is also when most questions will be asked by CEOs and CFOs to the CIO community in their quest to reduce the total cost of ownership of IT operations and enhance the competitive position of their companies in their industry sector by providing new services as well as new ways for business and retail customers to consume their products or services.

The CLO-SO-MO continuum, which translates to cloud computing, social media and mobility, provides a plethora of opportunities for companies to achieve these goals and for IT consulting firms to provide a clear assessment and roadmap towards the new internal efficiency and external opportunity maximisation possibilities. Cloud computing with its ability to convert capex to opex by transitioning software as well as infrastructure to a virtual formats enables CIOs to avail SaaS and IaaS and eliminate not just the fixed costs but also minimise the regular hassles of hardware and software upgrades and version controls that have plagued IT departments in the past. While some additional investments may be needed in enhancing enterprise wide security and revisiting business process management to align IT goals with business objectives, the ‘stepping stones to the cloud’ approach advocated by many firms today can be a ‘must-do’ for companies, both with global and domestic focus.

Mobility and social media, at least in India have been embraced aggressively by the

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