Steve Martin, Deputy Global Vice-Chair, Advisory, at EY (formerly Ernst and Young), has over 20 years’ professional services experience, where he has led a range of strategic and business transformation assignments. Recently he was in India when he spoke with BusinessLine on a wide range of issues, including EY’s India plans, the future of consulting and India’s potential as an investment destination. Edited excerpts:
What are the trends disrupting the global consulting space? How is EY responding to such changes?
It’s a very fragmented market, comprising global, local and niche players. With the combination of significant acquisition activity and the speed of technological change, we don’t see that change slowing down and it’s important that we are agile to clients’ demands. And we are not just looking at the next few years – if we are to grow to be a $15 billion advisory business by 2020, we must anticipate and a plan for the long term.
How are emerging markets different from mature markets from a consulting perspective?
Fundamentally, clients’ needs are similar. Our clients in the emerging markets are becoming just as sophisticated as the developed markets. Consulting itself is rapidly growing and maturing and we are investing heavily to respond to the developing needs of our clients in emerging markets.
In the current global economic scenario, how do clients perceive and derive value from consultants?
EY works very closely with our clients to identify their largest, most complex business issues. We take full advantage of the breadth of skills we have cross-firm to build high performance teams to implement approaches to the big issues our clients face. One of the key elements of our Vision 2020 strategy is to build the highest performing teams across the globe. We are committed to our global structure and to bringing our best assets to bear: building sector specific skills as well as deep functional expertise.
What is the perception of India as an investment destination among clients?
Our clients have always seen India as a significant opportunity. As India continues to make it easier for international firms to partner with local firms, then you can only conclude that the level of investment will increase. On a recent visit to India, there seemed to me to be a positive recognition of the growth intentions of businesses in the country, which is a great platform to build further investment.
EY’s investment plans for its consultancy business in India...
India is a very important part of our global advisory business. We are number 1 in terms of market share out of the Big 4, and advisory is our fastest growing service line. We have over 67 advisory partners in India, and over 3,100 people, which is our second largest practice size after the US.
In FY14, we recruited 1,000 people and made more than 600 promotions. We will continue to build our business to respond to strong demand for our skills in the local market.
In addition to building our Indian business, we are also continuing to build our talent hubs helping us service our international clients more effectively – utilising our India based talent as an integrated part of our global delivery teams.
We are focused 100 per cent on the quality of people we can hire in the Indian marketplace who can help grow our business and those of our clients – cost is a secondary measure to building highest performing teams that deliver exceptional client service and build a better working world.