Timesof India article: Kishan Ananthram, CEO, IonIdea speaks to 'Times of India' daily on IT Strategic Consulting Business trend | IonPartners
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Timesof India article: Kishan Ananthram, CEO, IonIdea speaks to 'Times of India' daily on IT Strategic Consulting Business trend

Publication: Times Of India Bangalore;  Date: Jan 9, 2010;  Section: Times Business;  Page: 23
Boutique cos bring in competition
Mini Joseph Tejaswi | TNN
Bangalore: Consulting used to be exclusively a big boys’ business. Today the landscape has evolved with the emergence of dozens of boutique consulting firms. With tech services firms too venturing into it, the space has got extremely competitive.
Globally, many senior professionals who used to work with large consulting firms have come together to form strategy consulting boutiques. Some that have succeeded and grown big are Tatem Partners, Active Strategy, The Lever Group and Sydney Consulting Corporation. 
The trend is fast catching on in India too. Betting on the strategic consulting space, Bangalore-based IonIdea has hired a battery of senior executives from Fortune 500 companies including CIOs of Conoco and Blue Cross as partners.
“The idea is similar to what consulting firms like Accenture and others do in the US, that is to build relationships at senior levels in the organization,’’ says Kishan Ananthram, CEO of IonIdea.
Krishna Prasad, global head of delivery at UST Global, an Indian firm that offers consulting in change management, market analysis, M&As and planning, says boutique consulting offers services on par with pure-play consulting firms. “They may not have the domain spread, but their niche focus makes them unique,’’ he says.
IonIdea is developing and expanding its partner base in the US and the EU, by ensuring that the partners get an ownership stake in the company. It deploys these senior partners as consultants on IT strategy, change management, enterprise architecture, operational readiness and other critical engagements. “Customers are looking at a partner who can bring in thought leadership at the IT management level. That translates into IT outsourcing relationships in the long term,’’ Ananthram says.
Anurag Srivatsava, head of consulting in Wipro, says consulting will play a critical role in the company’s future growth. “The focus is to bring strategic value to our clients. Our outlook is to significantly move up the value chain and compete with players like IBM and Accenture,’’ he says.
The emergence of small consulting players is a relief particularly to small and medium enterprises that are wary of approaching an IBM or an Accenture to do strategy consulting work. Not only are their costs likely to be lower, they are also likely to give smaller firms the attention they are looking for.