If there’s one myth that rankles Arun Kundu, it is that engaging a professional services consultant is an expensive and time-consuming affair.
Recently appointed as Head of Verizon Enterprise Consulting & Professional Services business, Arun now leads a global team of consultants, engineers, architects and SMEs, covering all aspects of professional services around consulting, implementation, integration, lifecycle and incubation across 100+ global customer locations. “Put it simply, I see my role as being a trusted outcome provider to our customers and a services innovation change agent within Verizon and the enterprise business.”
Arun began his Verizon career in Singapore leading the Professional Services business in the Asia-Pacific region before moving to Verizon’s headquarters in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, to take an operations and strategy role. He has held several global leadership roles across Verizon, IBM, PWC & Nortel with a focus on technology services innovation and digitization of consulting and professional services. But as he says, “No matter which part of the world you consult in, the accents may differ but ultimately every business leader wants you to solve a business problem that enables them to compete and help keep them relevant.”
One of Arun’s first tasks in his new role has been to change how Verizon approaches professional services. He emphasizes that the old days of a fixed price, time-based engagement model are over. “It’s now an innovation-led process. Professional Services is all about engaging the right talent with the right intellectual property to help accelerate a client outcome. Technology providers push tech know-how out to the customer. Now when a CIO talks to us about transformation, they want us to innovate with them, and help them to create an outcome-based solution,” says Arun.
Professional Services is all about engaging the right talent with the right intellectual property to help accelerate a client outcome.
His big bet, however, is ensuring that his business is leveraging Verizon’s vast assets. “We offer a customer the scale and reliability of our global IP footprint, our Internet of Things platform, unrivaled security and network transformation expertise. Now, when you then add in the capabilities from our wireless business, like fiber, mobile and digital services – suddenly the offer becomes revolutionary. We’re not only changing what we deliver to our customers, but how we deliver it.”
He reminisces about how the consulting and services industry has evolved over the decades: “In the early 80s and 90s, you had the intellectuals in suits and ties with big brands -that’s version 1.0. In the 90s and early 2000s, it was more about intellectuals walking in the door with project assets, methodologies and tools – version 2.0. Then came the era of remote consulting and services with a large scope of automation and virtual tasks during the 2010-2015 era– version 3.0. Today you have many more niche and boutique players with fancy portals and subscription models with deep customer experience background. The lines between professional, managed and outsourced services are actually getting blurred and all converging to a more experienced-based outcome – this is version 4.0”.
As we come to the tail end of the conversation, he says his ideal consultant is a brand ambassador for Verizon. “The Verizon consultant of today (and tomorrow) needs to be a balance of T-shaped and I-shaped. The T-shaped consultants have deep expertise coupled with understanding of business context, and broad soft skills capabilities. That’s what our customers want. We are not sacrificing deep expertise, but building on it.
Finally, I ask Arun how many professional services consultants it takes to change a light bulb? “How many?” he asks. Five, I reply. One consultant to change the light bulb and the other four to tell him what he did wrong.
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