The 'green-field' market for management consulting services in Asia promises annual revenue growth of about 30 per cent, according to Deloitte Consulting regional managing director Graham Baragwanath. That contrasts with growth rates of between 5 and 8 per cent in North America. Mr Baragwanath said the yawning gap between the two markets was the result of both a late 'catch-up' in Asian boardrooms, which were turning to consultants to help navigate troubled waters, and the increasing attention consulting firms were lavishing on the region. To support its regional consulting revenue Deloitte had significantly expanded its representation in Japan, South Korea and China. Deloitte was ranked third in the latest revenue table for Asia-Pacific consultancies published by Management Consultant International. Top of the table was IBM Global Services with revenue of US$2.78 billion, followed by Accenture (US$655 million), Deloitte (US$605 million), Computer Services Corp (US$594 million), PricewaterhouseCoopers (US$462.6 million) and KPMG Consulting (US$265.6 million). Up to 90 per cent of Deloitte's forecast revenue would come from advising corporations on technology systems and implementing the systems for them, Mr Baragwanath said. 'Whether it is customer service management or supply-chain management, there will be a big technological underpinning to consulting work in the region - chiefly because it offers more tangible and immediate results - say, than offering to take costs out of a business. I am very excited by the region's growth prospects.' One major assignment that will help maintain Deloitte's revenue growth is the five-year US$155-million deal signed with Australian telecommunications operator Telstra. In March this year Telstra announced it had selected Deloitte for an information-technology (IT) outsourcing contract. Under the contract, Deloitte will provide applications development and maintenance of Telstra's enterprise resource planning (ERP) that includes finance, personnel and administrative IT systems. Telstra said it hoped, under the outsourcing deal, to significantly reduce IT costs, increase speed to market for infrastructure and solutions that support customer initiatives, and continue the quality of delivery. Outside of Japan, Australia and New Zealand, China will also offer major contracts for consultants as its accession to the World Trade Organisation opens business opportunities and imposes new demands on local management. But the opportunities will not come without risks, Mr Baragwanath warned. 'Our experience has been good. But we are very careful and always put our risk management team in before we sign on the bottom line,' he said. He predicts over the long-term, occasional scares such as the attacks on the United States will appear as isolated incidents. 'Asian countries are highly export-oriented and if they are going to compete with the Philips, or the General Motors of the world - or whatever - they are going to have to take on some of the flavour that makes those organisations successful,' he said.