Grant Thornton establishes digital technology practice in India

09 November 2017 Authored

US-based professional services network Grant Thornton has established its digital technology practice in India. In order to staff this initiative, the firm has poached a number of tech executives and professionals, including former EY India partner Debashis Basu, who will lead the firm’s Indian technology advisory arm.

Digital disruption is running rampant across global markets, creating risks as well as opportunities wherever it goes. This wave of transformation is particularly relevant for India, a hub of sorts for technological innovation and services. According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) unveiled earlier this year, India is set to have 850 million online users by 2025, which suggests that the digital arena is facing a sea of opportunities, with exponential expansion predicted.

As a result, members of the consulting industry from India and abroad are carefully devising strategies to capitalise on the rapidly expanding market. Indian IT consulting firms have embarked on an expansion strategy through acquisitions and investment in recent years, primarily to keep up with technological advancement. From abroad, Big Four accounting and advisory firm PwC recently launched two platforms for digital solutions in the country, while IT giants such as Google and IBM have also launched digital initiatives and engaged in acquisition activity in India recently.

Grant Thornton enters the space

The latest global player to attempt entry into the Indian market is Chicago-based professional services firm Grant Thornton (GT). The consulting firm, which already operates with over 3,000 employees in India, has announced the launch of a digital arm in the country. The technology vertical has been established with ambitious objectives, aiming to muster a team of 500 and generate revenues of around Rs. 100 crore by 2020.

Grant Thornton establishes digital technology practice in India

To this end, the firm has been fishing amongst local talent pools to assemble a team, primarily from IT companies prevalent in the industry. So far, Grant Thornton has “poached” five partners and 65 professionals from local firms, both technology-focused and otherwise. Among those recruited, former partner at Big Four firm EY, Debashish Basu, has been chosen to head GT’s digital arm in the country.

Basu has an impressive record in consulting, having previously been a Partner at both KPMG and EY, as well as Managing Director at global consulting firm BearingPoint. In addition to these positions, Basu has also served as Chairman and CEO at Veloz Global Solutions for 11 years, as well as president and CEO of New-York-based MCube Technologies for a brief 2-year period. At his most recent position as Partner at EY, Basu headed the Enterprise, Intelligence and Analytics vertical for the firm.

Grant Thornton will hope that he can use his extensive experience to give the firm a foothold in the extremely competitive market. According to the firm, the main challenge up ahead lies in the changing nature of competition. While consulting firms often worked in collaboration with technology firms to provide solutions in the past, technology firms are now establishing independent consulting verticals, and consulting firms in turn have delved into digital investment.

Commenting on the initiative, National Managing Partner at Grant Thornton India, Vishesh C Chandiok said, “Words like big data, advance analytics, machine learning and digital are going through the journey from being considered slang to becoming a norm. Today, technology could be used to help solve every business problem, both for our clients and for GT.”

Related: KPMG seeks to rebuild Indian Advisory arm after Deloitte raid.