Ernst & Young are definitely back in the SAP consulting game. After being one of the “big six” that initially drove the SAP R/3 market, Ernst & Young sold their SAP practice to Capgemini.

But as E & Y’s Geoff Vickery told Jon in Miami, they launched a new SAP consulting practice in 2009. Now they are reckoning with the cloud consulting model like most SAP partners.

Geoff credits two growth factors for Ernst & Young: strength of client relationships and outsourcing IT specialists. Geoff says that when clients tell him why they chose E & Y, it’s due to the ability to speak the language of business and how they could improve their customer’s ROI: ‘we have business conversations, not technical conversations.’

When it comes to cloud, Geoff says that customers are looking hard at cloud but opting for a hybrid model. Factors include:

  • What can be put in the cloud now?
  • What should be be moved to the cloud but deferred for now?
  • What should be kept on-premise?
  • How do you operate in that hybrid environment?

Needless to say, this kind of conversation also requires a different kind of consultant. It’s easy to say that consultants should be well-rounded, but what does that mean? Geoff believes it means mastering the new technology, but not for its own sake – you have to be able to apply the tech to business problems.

For Geoff, it comes down to industry and domain expertise, as well as the ability to apply tech to solve real business problems.

As Jon says, “Sounds like the kind of consultant we should have had all along, but didn’t know it.”

Show Notes

1:03: Ernest & Young doubled down on the SAP consulting market in 2009

1:25 The key to Ernst & Young’s consulting growth

3:47 Big key – talk to clients in business terms – don’t have a technology conversation

4:22 Cloud benefits go beyond speed of implementation

5:10 Most customers asking for a hybrid cloud model

5:52 Consultants now have deliver stronger value, not just configuration techniques

6:18 Being a good consultant is about using tech to solve customer problems

Disclosure: SAP paid for most of Jon’s travel and accommodations to the SAP Partner Summit