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E - m o i:l p b j @ l i b e r i y n e t . o r g .

Web site: www.omcity.comr/philodelphio September
5-11,1997 Vol. No. 30 . $1.25

A groupthat thinksit hasthe answers

CONSHOHOCKEN - Earlier this
yea4 49 KPMG Peat Marwick employ-
ees left the consulting arm of the Big
Six accounting frrm to start Answer-
Think Consulting Group, a Miami-
based consulting and systems integra-
tion company.
The exodus of manpower, most of
whom were KPMG partners and
senior managers, was led by
AnswerThink's co-founders:
. Ted Fernandez, former national
managing partner of KPMG's strate-
gic services consulting;
. Allan Frank, chief technology offr-
cer, national partner in charge of
enabling technologies and global ser-
vice leader for enabling technologies
consulting worldwide; and

"lsn't capitalismwonderful?" RU S I N E SJ S

AllanFrank Led by technology guru Frank, the industry is attracting and retaining
co-founder Conshohocken operation is expected talent. With firms competing for
O to be one of AnswerThink's largest skilled workers, he said turnover
offices. Frank had led the enabling rates have climbed as high as 25 per-
technologies practice at KPMG's think cent.
tank in Radnor. "We're creating a system where the
. IJlysses Knotts, national partner AnswerThink's founders have built successofthe entire organization ulti-
in charge of sales and marketing. their organizationwith more than $20 mately accrues to each and every
million from two venture capital owner," Frank said.
"It really comes down to having the
energy and the desire to create some- frrms, Golder, Thoma, Cressey,Rauner
thing with our own hands," explained Inc. of Chicago and Miller Capital
Allan Frank, AnswerThink's chief
Management Inc. of Coconut Grove,
Fla. The company's goal is to go public
technology officer in the company's
Conshohocken office. "We want to during 1998, Frank said. "We are using knowledge
redefrne consulting and the experi- AnswerThink's equity-based system managementconceptsat the
ence that clients and customers have where "everybody's an owner," as
with firms like ours." opposed to a tiered partnership model very core of our business. Since
Incorporated in April, the company that has been adopted by frrms like we are just one big brain, the
supports six other locations KPMG, served as a signifrcant tool to
secure funds for internal growth,
real value of our people is the
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New
York City and San Jose, Calif. With acquisitions and new products and combined intellectual assetsof
about a dozen national clients, its pro- services, Frank said. everybody'sexperiences."
jected revenues for this year are $40 The equity-based structure is also
million, but Frank said that number intended to curb employee turnover to AllanFrank
may snowball to $500 million within less than 10 percent, predicted Frank, AnswerThink
three vears. adding that the No. 1 issue in the a
R1 , 1 9 9 7

AnswerThink has 160 employees. of its proven track record for imple- Oracle might have to talk to somebody
Frank said the company is expected to menting Oracle package solutions and else's PeopleSoft system."
increase its staff to 300 by October that its management team, which was AnswerThink has adopted this mul-
and 500 by next March. compatible with senior staff at tidimensional approach to position
Early on, the company's start was AnswerThink, possessed a synergy of itself apart from its competitors,
thwarted by a breach-of-contract suit Oracle package skills and technology Frank said. Consulting firms must
filed by KPMG, which declined to com- abilities. Acquiring the Continuous deliver information and systems capa-
ment on AnswerThink or its own Improvement Center enabled Answer- bilities to businesses that are geo-
restructuring plan. Think to enhance its benchmarking graphically dispersed and possibly
While the suit was settled in May, expertise. spread across numerous different
Frank said AnswerThink's initial Last month, the company also trading partners.
focus was on establishing core company acquired Summit Consulting Group in Frank believes AnswerThink's com-
values rather than developing its Miami, a provider of technology strat- petitors offer only pieces of that
technical infrastructure and sought egy and implementation services. approach. None are focusing on
ways to capture employee knowledge. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. extended enterprises as the core of
It soon developed a technology called Frank said he anticipates more deals their business,he said.
Mind Share, which logs sharable within the next 60 days, such as a Frank added that the theories his
employee knowledge and experiences. partnership with major Year 2000 company has developed about the
"We are using knowledge manage- solution providers and a major acqui- nature of consulting will soon be
ment concepts at the very core of our sition of one of the world's leading accepted into the mainstream and that
business," said Frank, adding that experts in functional improvement other frrms will copycat its approach.
AnswerThink's employees view the services and benchmarking. "We're not just providing value in
practice as a natural extension or AnswerThink's business services the marketplace but also creating a
byproduct of the company's opera- are focused around the functions of a workplace and an environment that
tions. "Since we are just one big brain, corporation's chief financial officer, breeds intellectual excellence and
the real value of our people is the sales and marketing czar and the value," he said.
combined intellectual assets of every- chief information officer. Its special- The company is also busy building a
body's experiences." ties are knowledge management, net- 15,000-square-foot technology center
In June, the company expanded its work and systems integration, pack- on the fourth floor of 100 W. Elm St.,
intellectual assets by merging with age integration for Oracle and Conshohocken. That's the same build-
Relational Technologies Inc., an PeopleSoft, data warehouse technolo- ing in which it is temporarily leasing
Oracle applications implementation gy and Internet, Year 2000 and elec- space, said Frank. Its new offrces are
and systems integration firm in tronic commerce solutions. expected to be completed in November.
Dallas and Atlanta. It also agreed to "We believe that most companies are Although AnswerThink's founders
purchase the Continuous Improvement becoming extended enterprises," are proud of their prior accomplish-
Center, formerly a part of the Institute Frank said. "If you asked us to imple- ments at KPMG, Frank said they have
of Management Accountants. ment an Oracle package, it's not just no regrets striking out on their own to
Frank said the company merged that we're implementing it for you as build an organization. Said Frank:
with Relational Technologies because a client, but also understanding that "Isn't capitalism wonderful?" .

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