The consulting market is becoming ever more complex. The advice-
giving arms of the Big Six accounting firms, which used to focus on information systems, have recently made substantial investments to expand into management consulting--with mixed results. Mergers among several prominent players, such as United Research Co. and MAC Group, similarly reflect efforts to build the all-purpose consulting firm.
Although some firms contend that clients want so-called end-to-end packages that offer everything from strategy to information systems, the marketplace has shown otherwise. One of the fastest-growing firms, for example, is Boston Consulting Group Inc., which has stuck to its roots in strategy and organization.
Nonetheless, new entrants with little expertise in management consulting have rushed into the field. Among the fastest-growing firms are IBM and Electronic Data Systems Corp. Rivals sneer that IBM is in the game simply to sell its hardware and that EDS is using management consulting as a lure to get more systems work and outsourcing contracts. Whether drawn to the business by higher profit margins or the chance to sell core offerings, they are helping to shake up the marketplace. Here's the rundown on 10 leading players--by size and influence.
1993 3-year revenues growth No. of Firm Millions Per consultants Recent clients Highlights cent ANDERSEN Astra/Merck, Deploys armies of CONSULTING $2,876 53% 22,500 Caterpillar, consultants on jobs Chicago Florida around the world; Power still trying to leverage its core strength in info systems to gain greater share of the management consulting market COOPERS & AlliedSignal, After Andersen, the LYBRAND 1,351 50 7,650 H.J. Heinz, No. 2 player of the New York Quaker Oats big accounting firms; one in four jobs involves cost reduction; revenues divided in thirds among strategy, reengineering, and systems fields McKINSEY American Express,The pricey high New York 1,300 31 3,100 AT&T, Mellon Bankpriest of strategic consulting; just elected first non-Westerner to lead firm; acquisition of info-tech consultants IDG dubbed a failure because of mass defections BOOZ ALLEN & P&G, Volvo, New leadership team HAMILTON 800 54 4,600 Broken Hill hoping to revitalize New York Proprietary this sleeping giant of consulting biz; strategy is to narrow client base to about 200 of 1,500 companies it has worked for in past five years GEMINI CONSULTING DuPont, Union Fast-moving, Morristown, N.J. 516 128 1,700 Carbide, ambitious firm British Telecom combining shop-floor operational strengths of United Research and high-level strategy practice of MAC Group; owned by French holding company Sogeti CSC CONSULTING Agway, Amoco, Put buzz in the word Cambridge, Mass. 470 96 2,600 Hallmark, PepsiCo"reengineering," using it to speed up growth; still heavily technology-based but trying to create next hot management concept to sustain growth BOSTON CONSULTING Aetna, GTE, NynexSuccessfully rode GROUP 340 114 1,250 idea of time-based Boston competition into reengineering hoopla; player behind many major cost-reduction efforts; growing rapidly overseas A.T. KEARNEY GM, Sears, Sony, One of the fastest- Chicago 278 84 950 Unilever, growing firms, with Warner-Lambert an even mix of strategy and operations work; recently won public kudos from GM chief for its advice on auto maker's purchasing operations MERCER MGT. British Rail, Marsh & McLennan unit CONSULTING 134 34 600 Chemical Bank views "growth" as New York Sara Lee, the next hot area; U S West combo of former Strategic Planning Associates and Temple Barker & Sloane; strengths in strategy and change MONITOR AT&T, Pacific Results-driven Cambridge, Mass. 90 80 340 Telesis strategists tap B- school profs for advice; co-founded by Harvard strategy king Michael Porter; now declining new clients because of backlog DATA: BUSINESS WEEK, CONSULTANTS NEWS