Unless you rely on hard metrics such as revenue, gross margins and new bookings, ranking tech consulting companies can be a dicey business. How, as an example, can you realistically compare Cisco, which specializes in helping larger companies and the government deploy large, complex networks effectively, with another firm which deals largely in SAP implementations? You’re not dealing simply with apples and oranges here, but with an entire fruit basket—different models, different offerings, different methodologies.
That said, for the past four years Vault.com, which provides career information for a number of industries, has put together the so called Vault Guide to the Top 25 Technology Consulting Firms. For the rankings Vault selected a list of consultancies based on their prominence in the technology consulting field and their interest in job seekers. A survey was then sent out to the firms on Vault’s lists, asking respondents to rate firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige, 10 being the most prestigious ranking. Respondents, of which there were 1,189, couldn’t rate their own firms and were asked to only rate firms with which they were familiar. The rankings appear in the list below.
Let’s give Vault the benefit of the doubt and assume you can actually gauge something as non-quantitative as prestige. Ok, then, how valid is the list? I’ll go along with the top five, though I question the order. Is Cisco, which went from No. 4 last year to No. 2 this time around, really more prestigious than Deloitte, IBM Global Services and Accenture? Don’t think so.
Vault has Bearing Point at No. 9. This is a firm that’s selling at $6 and change and for the past few years has failed to file quarterly financial reports on time. Its last filing was for the three months ending Sept. 30, 2006—one year ago. Tell me again why this is the ninth most prestigious tech consultancy in the industry? In fact, it even moved up a slot, from No. 10 last year.
At No. 12, EDS has managed something of a financial turnaround this year thanks to strong growth in the technology-outsourcing industry, but note the companies hot on EDS’s trail. The Indian outsourcing and consulting companies, Infosys, Tata and Wipro moved up significantly this year and are targeting EDS’s core businesses. Another firm with strong ties to India, Cognizant, a provider of global IT and business process outsourcing services, didn’t even make the list last year. Now it’s No. 21.
CIBER, Inc., the international system integration consultancy, and LogicaCMG, the UK-based global telecom and I.T. consultancy, are also new to the list. With these newcomers on the move, some of the old guard consultants are looking over their shoulders. Unless the world has changed, they’re a lot more concerned with losing market share than prestige.
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