Research and Advances
Computing Applications

Concurrent-Convergent Strategy in It Consulting

The concurrent-convergent strategy in IT consulting can be exploited to increase client efficiency, to draw conceptual and practical lessons for other information-based applications, and to develop synergy between IT consulting and business process reengineering.
  1. Article
  2. Conclusion
  3. References
  4. Authors
  5. Footnotes

The concurrent-convergent strategy in IT consulting, as practiced perhaps most prominently by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (CGEY) [8], can be interpreted to follow from concurrence or parallel attention, convergence or integration, and their joint application to information systems design, development, transformation, and management. It seeks to increase client efficiency by implementing parallel and integrated information-based solutions in business process development, customization and enhancement, dedicated service support, and context-oriented R&D. The concurrent-convergent strategy represents an essential element in the CGEY group’s efforts to expand business horizons in manufacturing, telecommunications, finance, and other sectors. In addition to enterprise resource planning, the group has been extensively involved in communications and wireless Internet access, using its expertise in channels and protocols involving the Internet, email, interactive kiosks, and telephone networks. With the introduction of consultant certification procedures, training centers, skill groups, and the Rapid Application Development initiative, it has established itself as an important business ally and partner of such market leaders as Cisco Systems, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems [2, 4–7, 10].

During its evolution, the idea of concurrence-convergence has been applied to the relationships and interactions between consulting and the development, transformation, and management of information systems. Concurrent consulting is focused in parallel on information-based planning and decision making: Simultaneously, the principle of convergence guides integration in the procurement, analysis, communication, and use of information to efficiently implement the outcomes. In particular, CGEY offers concurrent-convergent consulting in the design, construction, implementation, and support of information systems in business process solutions, customer needs analysis, and performance benchmarking, under technical environments ranging from PC networks to mainframes, and local to global configurations. To ensure efficiency after systems installation, the strategy seeks to mobilize client resources in such a way that the effects of external consulting are endogenously enhanced over time. A maximized percentage of the firm’s human and physical resources is therefore drawn into the ambit of the concurrent-convergent strategy, mainly by means of systems application management and reengineering. Given the role of data processing in modern business, emphasis is placed on application enhancement in central and distributed computing services at all levels. As a corollary, high importance is attached to long-term support. In the case of CGEY, its service contracts are typically comprehensive in scope, covering both maintenance and enhancement. Applications have been consistently developed to ISO 9001 standards and tailored to meet firm-specific requirements, with concurrence-convergence being efficiently exploited to interface between clients and consulting teams.

Under the context-oriented R&D component of the concurrent-convergent strategy, new and advanced IT is continuously but selectively transmitted from laboratories to consulting teams. CGEY has implemented an innovative Applied Knowledge Management (AKM) protocol to allocate knowledge resources in decision making, operations, and assignment of priorities. The AKM protocol also assists in aligning work and data flow to enhance performance in problem solving, and assists in the deployment of solutions to facilitate the collection, assimilation, and dissemination of information. The objective in each application is to optimize the use of knowledge to add market value in a given situation, and to introduce best business practices in line with information regarding cultural and geographic characteristics and differences.

Since idiosyncratic requirements are often presented, IT consulting is tailored to the firm’s international and domestic environment, with R&D being pursued globally in the first place, and region-specific changes introduced with the subsequent assistance of local inputs. This modus operandi reflects the view that under concurrence-convergence, context-oriented R&D creates synergy and enhances the ability to pool technical expertise from different countries to produce goods and services that can be marketed both locally and internationally. R&D is therefore flexibly allocated and deployed to meet different requirements in different geographical situations. For example, given the increased demand in the Asia-Pacific region for technically converged fixed/mobile telecommunication networks displaying Internet capabilities, intelligent billing, and customer relationship management, CGEY has been actively addressing problems arising from packaged capabilities (especially wireless access support), and the necessity to build business systems according to different measures and standards in politically and culturally diverse countries [3]. Recently, CGEY has developed a n-portal, which can be readily customized to facilitate work collaboration and knowledge sharing across the corporate intranet [1].

The award of a consulting contract worth 100 million Singaporean dollars from StarHub demonstrates the value and effectiveness of the concurrent-convergent strategy. This project, undertaken by CGEY Asia-Pacific’s Telecom and Media Solutions Center, is the largest of its kind under way in Southeast Asia. Its ambit extends over the design, implementation, integration, support, and maintenance of advanced telecommunications systems, especially in billing, customer care, trouble management, and inter-carrier settlement [9]. Of particular interest is the fixed-mobile segment of the project, which includes customized planning and support in the design and integration of an inbound and outbound call center, front- and back-office subsystems, order entry and processing, billing and accounting, automatic service provisioning, payments mediation, customer retention, and trouble management. This subsystem is Internet-enabled and offers support and billing for customers online via a fiber-based network with high-speed digital traffic capacity in voice, data, and multimedia services. A continuous view of customers, products, and network facilities can be maintained as a result, along with payments status and information, all via a single, logical database.

Back to Top


The concurrent-convergent strategy in IT consulting is characterized by parallel and integrated thinking. It draws upon total client resources and optimizes at all levels to meet the requirements of multidimensional, internally and time-consistent planning, design, customization, adaptation, implementation, and enhancement of business systems and processes. Information-based solutions seek to create fast-track implementation supported by outcome-optimal instruments. The concurrent-convergent approach can be generalized to draw conceptually and practically useful lessons for other information-based consulting and service-provision applications, and to develop synergy between IT consulting and business process reengineering.

Back to Top

Back to Top

Back to Top

    1. Cap Gemini Ernst & Young introduces new knowledge management offering, n-portal, based on Microsoft's solution for Intranets. Business Wire (Jan. 10, 2002).

    2. Cap Gemini Ernst & Young to provide IT services as part of IBM global alliance relationship for Visteon. Business Wire (Mar. 4, 2003).

    3. Cap Gemini sets up wireless Internet centre. Business Times Singapore (Apr. 19, 2000).

    4. Cap Gemini and Oracle target telecoms. Cap Gemini Corporate Communications (Jan. 2000).

    5. Cap Gemini and Microsoft team up on e-business in new strategic global alliance. Cap Gemini Corporate Communications (Feb. 2000).

    6. Cap Gemini and Cisco Systems combine efforts in strategic alliance to help drive Internet economy. Cap Gemini Corporate Communications (Mar. 2000).

    7. Cap Gemini joins Sun Microsystems iFORCE Initiative for helping enterprise clients adopt an e-business face. Cap Gemini Corporate Communications (Mar. 2000).

    8. Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Company Information 2000 (Aug. 2000).

    9. Cap Gemini wins $100m deal from StarHub. Business Times Singapore (Apr. 13, 1999).

    10. Sun Microsystems and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young combine world-class experience and expertise for supply chain solutions. M2 Presswire (May 29, 2002).

    This work was financially supported under research grant number FRG/99-00/II-26.

Join the Discussion (0)

Become a Member or Sign In to Post a Comment

The Latest from CACM

Shape the Future of Computing

ACM encourages its members to take a direct hand in shaping the future of the association. There are more ways than ever to get involved.

Get Involved

Communications of the ACM (CACM) is now a fully Open Access publication.

By opening CACM to the world, we hope to increase engagement among the broader computer science community and encourage non-members to discover the rich resources ACM has to offer.

Learn More