Data Driven: NTT DATA Consulting’s Tom Mataconis on the firm’s ‘distinctive, industry-centric’ approach

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Business and IT services provider NTT DATA is broadening its offerings and leveraging its expertise with the announcement of NTT DATA Consulting, which aims to help clients with business-driven transformation initiatives and digital strategies. The firm will initially be laser-focused on Financial Services, offering clients “a distinctive, industry-centric” approach to solving companies’ biggest and most complex challenges, bringing to bear the knowledge of its consultants with the experience of its global technology and BPO specialists to offer its clients a wide range of end-to-end solutions. The news follows its acquisition of Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group last June.  We sat down with Tom Mataconis, Senior Vice President, NTT DATA Consulting.

Consulting: How did the Carlisle & Gallagher acquisition pave the way to NTT DATA Consulting?

Mataconis: NTT over the last few years had been looking at the marketplace and recognized that they were missing across their various industries the vertical experience to move upstream into business consulting. CG was a bit constrained in that a lot of our clients as we were growing were asking us to solve problems that required more extensive delivery capabilities or different sourcing alternatives. When NTT approached Carlisle & Gallagher it really was a discussion more around can we combine these companies in a more strategic way to build out a capability and set of offerings that can address specific to CG, financial services, in a manner that we currently see missing in the marketplace. We were very excited when Carlisle & Gallagher became a part of NTT DATA, and we’ve spent the last three quarters really getting to know the teams, the processes, making sure we worked on a lot of the change management and operational things were working well before we decided to launch a brand change and go out with NTT Data Consulting.

Consulting: How will the rollout work?

Mataconis: CG’s history really was deeply embedded within the financial services industry, and grew our client base to hold seven of the 10 largest financial services companies in the U.S., with very good relationships across all those banks. Underneath all of those relationships was the practices group. We subdivided our practices group somewhat granularly to make sure we covered all the major segments and products within FS. Then we had capability areas that span those segments and products covered as well. From an outside-in perspective, from customer experience down to people and organizational change, process, some of the more technical aspects around data, technology advisory, and a lot of focus on those specific topics like risk and regulatory, digital, etc. Each of these practices is very real; each has a practice lead that has generally 20 to 25 years of industry and consulting experience, deep subject matter experts. When we go to market with our clients on business consulting topics, it’s a tight partnership between the client team and the practices team. We’re always going into a client seeking to listen and understand where they are, provide a point of view, and then to the extent that our client is facing challenges, to be able to work through it in a more customized fashion how our clients can address those challenges.

Consulting: What are clients demanding? 

Mataconis: The reality is business and technology are converging unlike any other time. Our clients need people that are solving technology issues with business acumen and they’re needing business consultants that have the technology capabilities to help them realize their various road maps and various strategies. There was a lot of thought given to how we would build out a business consulting capability within NTT, and a very distinct decision made to build it out within the verticals. This isn’t a business consulting group as NTT-acquired Carlisle & Gallagher. It will not stand other verticals. It will be specific to financial services. Eventually the intent is that we will build out those other vertical-specific business consulting units as we move forward, using what we build out in financial services as the baseline or the framework as the practice model to do so. There are a few other people within NTT working within those other business units to do that today.

Consulting: What is the big differentiator?

Mataconis: Within this practices group and within all of CG we have been growing pretty rapidly, with 1,250 resources, average experience of about 15 years in FS specific either in industry or FS-specific consulting. That’s what we really grounded on in terms of our differentiation: only focus on financial services, very deep expertise, a more custom solutioning model and partnership with our client teams, bringing expert resources from the very top, our senior advisors, all the way down to the people that may be doing some of the project management or business analysis. It’s deeply embedded and very specific within the FS industry, inclusive of insurance.

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