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
      
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE