KPMG has revealed plans to drop its traditional mantle of vendor independence in order to hook up with "best of breed" IT suppliers instead.
The move, which will see KPMG recommend to its customers software and hardware from a list of IT vendors, is part of a total reorganisation of the internal operations at the management consultancy, initiated following the collapse of merger talks with Ernst and Young in February. The changes will be phased in from 1 October.
"I think we will start to see all of the big five consultancies coming off the fence, starting to both support and promote products," explained Rene Schuster, a partner at KPMG. "KPMG will be teaming up with best of breed products for selective markets."
The consultancy's "strategic alliance" with Microsoft, announced in May this year, was just the first of several best of breed announcements in the pipeline from KPMG. Behind the scenes changes have already started but would not be completed for at least a year, Schuster said.
Schuster added that KPMG is likely to embrace the transaction-based fee (TBF) system to replace the current system of charging by the time a project takes, but that could be five years away. Under TBF, the customer pays for the implementation from the revenues generated by it. The system is calculated to help dispel bad publicity associated with lengthy and expensive business process re-engineering implementations.
"This is the realisation that management consultancies must team up with hardware vendors to know where technology is going," commented Gordon Lovell-Read, UK director of the enterprise systems group at Hewlett-Packard.
Companies like IBM, HP and Microsoft spend billions on R&D per year and are better placed to predict the future course of technological innovation, he maintained.
"Consultants who do not team up could end up re-engineering (their customers) in a way that could lead them up a blind alley," he added.
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