Big4 IT Consultants and The Road Ahead

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Demand for Big 4 IT Consultants:

“A Big 4 Accounting firm is seeking IT Auditors,” “Big4 experience in IT Audit, SOX 404, Business Process controls, internal controls” “Big4 ERP consultant with Big 4 experience,” “Strong Big4 experience in the SAP market,” “Big 4 firm seeks senior level Oracle, JD Edwards or PeopleSoft Management/Business Consultants” … the requirements list for Big4 IT consultants is limitless!

Big4 IT Saga:

Apart from being extraordinary performers, the Big Four firms and their clients have the knack of achieving success during uncertain periods. According to Deloitte Technology Fast 500, IT and Software firms consistently lead the Fast 500 list. The latest Trendsetter Barometer survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers strengthens Deloitte’s reports. The survey avers that the fastest growing companies in the U.S. allocate more than 60% of the budget for Information Technology.

What drives the Big 4 IT Firms?

IT is an ethereal market that demands business and technology improvements at the drop of a hat. Managing risks and handling change are important tasks for IT professionals at the Big4 firms. Today, there are three significant requirements that drive the Big 4 IT firms. They are-

Innovative Management

Dynamic Staff and

Efficient Team Dynamics.

Organizational performance at Big 4 IT firms is driven by the fact that the Information Systems Audits, Controls, Business Planning and Development are handled exceptionally. Typically, Big4 IT firms choose professionals for Information Systems Audits, Disaster Recovery, Systems Development and Information Security. Big4 – a website catering to Big4 alumni- receives periodic updates on the latest news and trends at the Big Four IT firms. The training budget per IT employee at Ernst & Young was U.S.$2,100 for the year 2003.

Big4 and ERP:

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a major bet for Big 4 IT professionals. Big 4 IT software job market is dominated by ERP technologies from Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft, Siebel and Great Plains. Salesforce.com, the Hosted CRM services leader, competes with all the top “Install and Customize” ERP technologies providers. With a 300,000 subscribers list, Salesforce.com expects to reach a U.S.$ 300 million profit in 2006.

Post Oracle-Siebel Union, Enterprise Software Technology giant, SAP, is also planning to offer hosted CRM Services. Budging from its conventional Enterprise Software Technology market, SAP is competing against industry bigwigs like BEA, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Siebel to earn top honors in hosted CRM services.

Big4 Firms rely on E-business and Security:

E-business and Security are playing important roles in driving the success rate of Big Four firms. In June 2005, Sapient Corp. acquired BIS (Business Information Solutions,) a SAP-related services firm. With this acquisition, the demand for Business Intelligence and value Optimization Services increased tremendously.

Another Big4 stalwart, PricewaterhouseCoopers, helps clients by offering IT cost and performance optimization services. PwC enables organizations to focus on IT business risk, IT spending, IT governance, IT risk management and compliance.

In the Information Security arena, Compliance is a forerunner. Business Process Controls, Internal Controls, SOX 404 are potential players in improving the business performance of the Big Four IT firms. As per a Deloitte Research report, a security loophole in a shipping container can amount to U.S.$ 1 trillion loss. Companies worldwide lose U.S.$ 12.5 billion due to computer hacking and spamming. Additionally, the report also suggests that global companies consider business disruption, poor regulatory compliance, erratic surges in interest rates, terrorist activities as factors affecting Security.

Performance of Service Companies and Product-related companies:

As a matter of fact, service companies are performing better and reaping higher revenue than the product-related companies. The analysis made by the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Trendsetter survey compliments the performance of IT services industry. As per the survey, 62% of e-business budgeting caters to Information Technology. Service companies bestow 57% of the e-business budget towards IT personnel, while their counterparts, the product sector firms, allocate 44% for IT personnel.

Big4 Firms and IT Compliance – The Road Ahead:

Sarbanes Oxley and IT Compliance measures have had a positive effect on the overall health of the Big Four firms. With IT auditors and financial auditors standing guard and streamlining the Security measures at Big Four firms, does that mean Big Four IT professionals with desired attributes are a hotcake? You bet!