InformationWeek 500: Business Services Firms Use Automation To Fight Recession

From law firms to multinational outsourcers, leaders in this segment are finding ways to work smarter.
The economic downturn is forcing consulting and business services companies to do more with less. The industry lost 38,000 jobs in July and 1.5 million positions since the beginning of the recession, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the trend continues.

Companies are turning to IT to maximize efficiency and automate as many processes as possible, for themselves and customers. Keane, a mid-size outsourcer, this year undertook a project to automate automation itself.

Under its Open Source Test Automation Framework initiative, Keane programmers built a tool that lets its industry specialists quickly deploy automation tools for clients by reusing existing code and test scripts. To get the job done, Keane formed an internal R&D team called Innovez and tasked it with creating the best automation tools money could not buy.

While IT spending among these companies may be down overall given the recession, tech spending as a percentage of revenue is holding up. Consulting and business services firms, a wide swath of companies that runs the gamut from legal practices to waste management providers, plan to spend 4.3% of total sales on IT projects this year according to our survey--dead even with 2008 and ahead of 2007's 4%.

Industry Snapshot: Consulting & Business Services

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