Twenty-one years after it was established, the Tata Strategic Management Group (TSMG), a management consultancy firm that operates as a division of Tata Industries, is reinventing itself to address the emerging needs of businesses, both within the Tata group and outside it.
“We are now in the fourth wave of our evolution,” says Raju Bhinge, the chief executive of TSMG. “This new phase will be crucial, a redefining one, where we will have to reposition ourselves and offer next-generation solutions.”
According to Mr Bhinge, the first three phases of TSMG’s growth occurred between 1991 and 2012. These were focused on consolidating its business, catering initially to Tata clients and then expanding it to others. Now TSMG has revisited its own growth strategy and is looking at building up its proprietary research framework and intellectual property to fuel future growth.
New growth avenues
Growth for the new-age TSMG is going to come from new verticals that target different categories of businesses. Its fresh set of offerings relate to operations, organisational structure, sales, strategy implementation and growth, and are designed to meet the needs of a competitive marketplace. “There is a need for more advanced and complex solutions,” explains Mr Bhinge.
Riding on the back of the India growth story, TSMG has expanded its offerings to clients seeking to set up in India or expand existing operations. Says Mr Bhinge, “The world is coming to India. By 2020 we will be the third-largest economy in dollar terms. Indeed, future growth will be in the developing world.” The company’s knowledge base is focused on India and it is developing expertise in and expanding its engagement with neighbouring regions, including the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia.
In its initial years TSMG concentrated largely on servicing the Tata group; today it lists a number of business groups, both Indian and international, as clients. “Our future growth will probably come from outside the Tata group,” says Mr Bhinge. “At present, non-Tata clients account for about 55 percent of our revenues. This is likely to go up to 70 percent in the coming years.”
TSMG’s international focus is intensifying, too. Overseas revenues currently account for about a fifth of the total and are growing at a brisk pace. The organisation now has a portfolio of 500-plus engagements with more than 100 clients spread across the world and different sectors.
TSMG works with several government organisations such as the Indian Railways and the Planning Commission. It has helped the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers prepare its Vision 2020 document for the chemical industry and carried out a comprehensive study for the Investment Commission of India covering 26 different sectors. For Maharashtra state’s Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation, it prepared a report on how to redevelop the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai — a Unesco World Heritage site — into a world-class rail hub.
With the Government of Jammu & Kashmir, it is working on ways to enhance tourism in the state. An interesting study it did was for the Rajasthan Industrial Development and Investment Corporation on how to make the state a centre for auto components. Based on the report, the Government of Rajasthan is now developing an auto cluster.
TSMG — which was initially established as the corporate planning department of Tata Industries before assuming its present identity in 1991 — also aims to align itself with the future goals of the Tata group, and grow rapidly while doing so. “The group wants to grow in terms of companies, sectors, new business areas and geographies,” says Mr Bhinge. “We will be in a position to provide support for these expansions.”
TSMG will also be contributing to the goals of the Group Corporate Centre, the decision-making body that defines and directs the business endeavours of the Tata group and looks at broad policies relating to the growth of Tata companies and their entry into new business areas.
TSMG has worked with several Tata companies, including Tata Steel, Tata Motors and Tata Chemicals. It has also researched the potential for the entry of Tata companies into new sectors such as biofuel, glass, water management, solar power, logistics, supercomputing, retail, direct-to-home broadcast and real estate.
Deep into districts
TSMG is the largest Indian-owned management consulting firm in the country. Befitting such heft it is investing in proprietary research and intellectual property, studying rural and urban markets across 600 districts of India. TSMG believes that to understand the India picture it is essential to look at smaller geographical units such as districts rather than states. The study aims to cover consumer behaviour and spending habits even for less researched sectors.
TSMG produced a remarkable study two years ago, bringing out a Well Being Index (WBI) and a Female Security Index (FSI) for India, focusing attention on the ongoing debate on the adequacy of per capita income to reflect the quality of life and well-being of a person or society (see box: Colour- coding the country’s development efforts). The two reports could help nonprofits and government bodies undertake granular-level analysis for effective development planning.
TSMG prides itself for its strengths in the strategy-formulation space. “Over the years, particularly in recent times, we saw that our client companies were looking at increasingly complex issues as they evolved,” says Mr Bhinge. “We, therefore, needed to provide a broader range of offerings through which we could have an equally evolving relationship with them.”
Thus, TSMG now offers a comprehensive range of solutions covering the formulation of vision, setting direction, driving strategic initiatives for organisational effectiveness, marketing and sales, operations, and providing implementation support.
The evolving portfolio at TSMG is about delivering new solutions for businesses, combined with extra-deep India insights. That should make for exciting times.