The management and accountancy consultants Coopers & Lybrand, while offering a wide range of services, has decided that it has been focussing too closely on the business benefits of consultancy at one end of its sphere of services, and the technical benefits at the other end. Consequently, it is staging a campaign in the UK […]
The management and accountancy consultants Coopers & Lybrand, while offering a wide range of services, has decided that it has been focussing too closely on the business benefits of consultancy at one end of its sphere of services, and the technical benefits at the other end. Consequently, it is staging a campaign in the UK and the US to increase its strength in mid systems delivery. In the US, the offensive is already under way with the acquisition of the information technology systems development and delivery company Computer Assistance Inc, headquartered in West Hartford, Connecticut. Computer Assistance has 500 employees and operates throughout North America. It is to remain autonomous, becoming a division of Coopers & Lybrand, with four of its senior principals joining the consultancy company as partners. The attraction for Coopers lay in Computer Assistance’s specialisation in mid-systems delivery, while in return Coopers can offer the US company a greater volume of business. This acquisition comes hot on the heels of the news that Coopers & Lybrand has formed a long-term strategic partnership with the industrial manufacturing systems integrator ITP boston (sic) Inc. These two events have doubled Coopers’ consulting practice in the US, and strengthened its systems engineering in the manufacturing area, but it is looking for further growth via acquisitions and another US announcement is expected shortly. Within the UK mid-systems delivery is being beefed up under the directorship of Richard Hartley. Hartley comes to Coopers & Lybrand from Hoskyns, where, as divisional director he concentrated on system building on IBM and ICL hardware. Growing UK staff He is now enjoying the opportunity to build up a systems delivery service linked in with both the consulting practice and the client’s own business, and he stressed that the service would not be technology for technology’s sake. Coopers is planning to grow mid-systems delivery in the UK by increasing his staff to over 100 from 60 during the coming year, as well as through acquisitions and strategic partnerships with software suppliers. Coopers looks to add to its technical strengths via acquisitions in this country. While Hartley declined to outline acquisition areas too clearly, it seems that the consultancy wiil mainly be examining software houses in the IBM mainframe market, and the DEC hardware market. He stressed that he was not looking for specialised niche market players, but for companies that concentrate on mainstream technology in generalised applications. He added that companies with a European dimension would also be attractive if they could enhance Coopers’ operations in Europe. The fourth generation languages and relational database side of mid-systems delivery will probably continue to be grown organically, although acquisitions in this area were not ruled out. Another part of the campaign to strengthen mid-systems delivery is that Coopers will be going all out to market its methodology for systems delivery called Summit-D. While the methodology was developed in-house and has so far been implemented only within its own organisations, Hartley is optimistic about its prospects. Although it is late into the market, the methodology is, apparently, highly flexible for use across different types and sizes of project, and does not create reams of paper. Further details will follow when an active marketing strategy for Summit begins later in the year. Coopers & Lybrand hopes that increasing its strength through its mid systems delivery campaign will enable it to offer a more holistic approach to consulting, thereby enhancing its growth prospects.