Dubai: PwC’s acquisition of Booz & Company has created Strategy&, a global consulting behemoth with some 33,000 professionals and nearly $11 billion in revenue. PwC Advisory reported annual revenue of $9.15 billion in 2013, while Booz & Company’s 2013 revenue was about $1.5 billion.
Clearly the merger has created an incredibly robust global consultancy business and brand that can help clients with everything from strategy through execution like no other firm in the industry.
In a joint interview Hani Ashkar, PwC Middle East Senior Partner, and Per-Ola Karlsson, Senior Partner, Strategy&, told Gulf News that the combination of two global firms is a turning point, in the consulting profession and has huge implications for the rapidly growing consulting business in the Middle East and Africa region.
“The rationale for the combination is the clear synergies in the global consulting market. This is a global merger. PwC has an existing consulting business. Booz at the time of the merger was one of the leading consulting firms. The merger has been in response to the changes we have been seeing in the marketplace,” said Ashkar.
Logistically speaking, the way PwC has structured the Strategy& deal is different from the way it’s approached other combinations. Under this deal Strategy& will go to market together with PwC. The legacy of Booz & Company infrastructure is there but the combination is looking to optimise the business with the strengths of both firms.
“Our clients no longer want strategy advice or just implementation as a standalone service. They wanted the full scale proposition. They want their consultants to set a vision and execute that and implement that. Strategy& brings together that expertise as well as that expertise in executing, implementation and project management all the way through,” said Karlsson.
The trend in the Middle East’s management consultancy business is rapidly evolving. While issues are getting increasingly complex, solutions require multidisciplinary approach.
The ability to pull together skill sets and solutions from a much broader areas has become increasingly important. “In the past we pulled together these skill sets by using third party consultants. This now becomes much more of an opportunity to bring together these capabilities from within the same group,” said Karlsson.
Clients are increasingly looking for end-to-end strategy consulting, implementation and execution. In the post-financial crisis era, management consulting has undergone big change in customer demand and service delivery. “The good old days of being able to give clients a deck of strategy recommendations and give a seven figure invoice are numbered. What clients want today are solutions, they want execution,” Ashkar.
In the Middle East region, the demand for execution is much more amplified than in other regions because of the ambitious visions of the governments to be achieved in short time frames and acute shortage of talent to meet various competing market demand.
“The big issue in our region is talent shortage, particularly within the government sector where ambitions and projects are huge and they need the talent to deliver these strategies. So there is a big demand for consultants to address these complex issues and go out and execute these projects,” said Ashkar.