BearingPoint: A Rose By Another Name

By Joshua Weinberger  |  Posted 2003-07-11

1676 International Drive
McLean, VA 22102
(703) 747-3000



Michael J. Donahue
Group EVP, COO
Helped steer the acquisition and integration of more than 25 consulting businesses, including KPMG Consulting AG's German, Swiss and Austrian practices. Once ran the firm's global PeopleSoft consulting practice and, after that, spent three years overseeing all product and service offerings.

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Jay H. Nussbaum
EVP, Managed Services
His division maintains the systems BearingPoint implements for clients. Previously worked at Oracle and Xerox.

Provides business and technology strategy, systems design, architecture, applications implementation, systems integration and managed services across five industry groups: Public Services; Communications & Content; Financial Services; Consumer and Industrial Markets; and High Technology.

Arose By Another Name

Once known as KPMG Consulting, BearingPoint has really made its mark in recent years serving state and federal customers. BearingPoint "knows how to work with the government," says Tobias Hartmann of information aggregator LexisNexis, which offers a digital filing system to attorneys in conjunction with BearingPoint.

Hartmann was struck by the unorthodox arrangement with e-government portal TexasOnline, for which BearingPoint lays out the costs and Texas doesn't pay a dime. BearingPoint "can increase its profits by coming up with ideas and bringing more services online," says TexasOnline's Phil Barrett. "The motivation wouldn't have been there [without] the financial incentive."

Barrett says it helped that BearingPoint "had a local office and staff; we wanted what we were doing to be done by Texans." Union Bank's Jo Ellen Hart, based in San Diego, wasn't as lucky: Her BearingPoint contacts were in Chicago. "There are times in the throngs of design where face-to-face is easier." BearingPoint did send reps for the critical phases. Hartmann, though, calls the firm "a global company—if they weren't, I wouldn't do business with them."

Still, he says, BearingPoint's "not acting like a consulting company." Barrett agrees: "I'm used to the traditional project. You hire a consultant to do an integration and you do a standard contract. This is unique." But the firm can still do what's needed for a typical project, says the University of Missouri's Eileen Heveron—including the hard parts. "They were able to point out risks—and that didn't make them the best-loved people around here."

The firm hasn't ignored corporate clients. (McBusted, Issue 20, July 2003) "We liked their overall-strategy approach rather than looking at a single implementation," says Stratex Networks CFO Carl Thomsen. Still, Thomsen wasn't ready to hand over the reins. "BearingPoint made a major proposal to us five months ago—a $30 million project to outsource our entire I.T. department," he says. The answer was no.

One small firm isn't happy. Web-based financing company LSQ Funding, of Orlando, Fla., claims in a federal lawsuit that BearingPoint "wasted thousands of hours providing virtually useless services" while building a Web site for LSQ. BearingPoint declined comment.

Nonetheless, providing what the customer wants seems to be a hallmark. Hart says BearingPoint "always put the bank's best interests first, almost to a fault. There were times we'd actually have to ask, 'Well, what would you do?'"

Good question. But BearingPoint does seem to have ideas. Tapped to help rebuild Afghanistan, BearingPoint is also one of 10 firms jockeying to reconstruct Iraq.

BearingPoint Reference Checks

Phil Barrett
(512) 475-4754
Project:In 2000, KPMG Consulting beat out nearly a dozen others to develop the e-government portal—laying out all the costs itself—and continues to operate and maintain the site, recouping its costs through transaction fees.

Stratex Networks
Carl Thomsen
(408) 944-1797
Project:KPMG Consulting first came on to handle an Oracle implementation in 2000, and was used extensively by the digital-microwave company until last year.

LexisNexis Group
Tobias Hartmann
Sr. Director, File & Serve
(425) 460-6858
Project:Involved in electronic-document filing since 1991, the information aggregator acquired CourtLink in 2001, helping attorneys feed into BearingPoint's eFiling for Courts system nationwide.

University of Missouri
Eileen D. Heveron
Executive Director, Administrative Systems Project
(573) 884-1380
Project:In 1998, KPMG Consulting landed the five-year, $45 million project replacing decades-old technology systems with a PeopleSoft platform.

Hank Farrar
President & COO
(212) 612-9339
Project:The Small Value Payments Company, owned by 22 banks, is working with BearingPoint to develop the image-transfer technology that will allow paperless check-processing.

Union Bank of California
Jo Ellen Hart
VP, Managed Relationship Services
(619) 230-3446
Project: The state's second-largest bank first hired KPMG Consulting back in 1997 to develop commercial and affluent-market banking systems, and has engaged the firm several times since.

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