WorldGroup Consulting targets Big Five

WorldGroup Consulting cuts loose from SPL and targets Big Five CRM/e-commerce consulting space. Read on to find out how they intend to do it...

SYDNEY - A split at international business consultancy and systems integrator, SPL WorldGroup, has resulted in the formation of a new, independent consulting venture – WorldGroup Consulting - officially launched today. WorldGroup Consulting - with existing worldwide revenues of AUS$34 million and growing at a rate of around 50 per cent per annum - already boasts an impressive list of Australian and international customers and high-profile consulting projects.

At the same time, WorldGroup Consulting has announced the relocation of its worldwide corporate headquarters from San Francisco to Sydney. The company’s aggressive growth plans in the region position it as an increasingly fierce competitor to the Big Five accounting firms locally.

SPL WorldGroup was split into two separate entities following the rapid growth and independent success of the company’s two main business operations. The company’s energy and utilities business - based on its successful CIS PLUS customer information system, still retains the name SPL WorldGroup. The newly launched WorldGroup Consulting organisation will independently pursue an increased share of the growing business consulting and IT system integration market in e-commerce and CRM, targeting the traditional Big Five consulting space.
"The consulting organisation had been growing in excess of 50 per cent per annum over the last five years," said Stephen Bool, general manager for WorldGroup Consulting in Sydney. "The company was regularly competing for major CRM consulting projects alongside the Big Five accounting firms. In Australia and around the world, we’ve won our fair share of these contracts based on our successful track record in the industry and a niche expertise in customer solutions that is hard to match. With our new independent status, we’ll be pursuing the traditional Big Five market space even more aggressively.

"Our strength has always been in providing customer oriented business solutions. We were into CRM from the early days and involved in implementing Early Cloud’s TCS call centre systems from the early 1990s. Through the years we’ve worked with major corporates and government departments implementing customer interaction systems and increasingly assisting organisations to roll out their customer oriented e-commerce strategies."

Aggressive Growth Projections

WorldGroup Consulting is projecting a 42 per cent increase in global revenues over the next 12 months to AUS$50 million, which is in line with its consistently rapid growth over recent years.

Local business currently generated by the consulting group in Australia exceeds AUS$15 million - representing approximately half of the company’s worldwide revenue – and is expected to reach AUS$24 million in 2001. Around 100 of WorldGroup Consulting’s 200 worldwide employees are located in Australia. In line with projections, the company anticipates staff numbers to increase by 50 per cent in the coming year.

WorldGroup Consulting has plans to establish operations in Europe, and further expand its business throughout Asia and the US within the next 24 months. According to IDC, the worldwide CRM services market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 per cent, from $33.2 billion in 1998 to an expected $89.7 billion by 2003. In Australia, that growth rate is almost double with a CAGR of 43.8 per cent expected to occur in the same timeframe, taking the local CRM services market from $35.8 million in 1998 to $221 million in 2003.

"Our Australian operation has always represented a significant proportion of worldwide business and remains a very important market for us," said Lewis Folb, Sydney-based chief executive officer for WorldGroup Consulting. "On the other hand, CRM is still fairly new in some of the Asian markets where we’re anticipating a 75 per cent growth this year. Expanding our business in Asia will become a key focus for the company over the next 12 months or so.

"The relocation of our corporate headquarters to Sydney will enable us to consolidate the strong base we already have established here and allow us to capitalise on the enormous growth opportunities in the region," he said.

Currently owned by private investors and staff, the company’s solid Australian revenue base, together with its penetration in the US and South East Asian markets will also make the company an attractive proposition for a local ASX listing.
WorldGroup Consulting does not align itself with specific vendors, assuming a vendor-neutral position. However, organisations the company has worked with closely in the past - and whom it regards as best-of-breed in terms of specific technology - are front-end solution providers Onyx, Point and Siebel; computer telephony integration (CTI) providers Interactive Intelligence and Lucent; as well as middleware providers IBM and BEA.

"The steady stream of new entrants into the CRM component market is making it more and more confusing for organisations, particularly when vendors all claim to offer the latest CRM solution," said Mr Bool. "However, our vendor-neutral approach ensures that we’re 100 per cent customer focussed on the requirements of each individual project.

"Organisations are increasingly looking to consulting firms with specific CRM expertise to help them plan their IT direction and web strategies, and assist them in building end-to-end customer oriented solutions that deliver the return on investment they expect."

Mr Bool said that the last 12 months has seen the company increase its CRM consulting business by over 60 per cent in the financial services sector as an example, and expects that figure to increase by more than 50 per cent in the coming financial year.

"There are enormous opportunities here with the volume of consulting to be generated from current and planned CRM and related e-commerce implementations. In fact, we already have 49 per cent of next year’s revenue ‘on the books’," he said.

About WorldGroup Consulting
WorldGroup Consulting was formed in July 2000 following a split at international business consultancy and systems integrator, SPL WorldGroup.

The company’s energy and utilities business retained the name SPL WorldGroup and it's consulting services operation was relaunched as WorldGroup Consulting.

WorldGroup Consulting provides business consulting and IT system integration services, specialising in the CRM and related e-commerce systems market.