With EDS having been subsumed into HP, Accenture is probably the largest consulting and integration pure-play available to IT buyers.

Accenture's own global IT estate is run by Frank Modruson, serving 177,000 staff in 52 countries. About 3500 staff report into the voluntary fireman and former Accenture client partner. Modruson is a huge supporter of social networking and has introduced a series of tools to improve knowledge management at the company. He is also a user of Accenture's own methodologies and applies rigorous metrics to gauge IT value at the organisation.

In the UK alone, Accenture has about 10,500 employees with offices in Newcastle, Manchester, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and London. Local clients include Boots, the London Stock Exchange, BP, Network Rail, Sainsbury's, Lloyds TSB and Dixons.

Despite the storms of the macro-economy, the former Andersen Consulting's army of staff remains in demand both in the private-sector and in government and public sector.

In April 2010, ITV signed a five-year deal for IT service management, infrastructure and application management with the broadcaster's group technology director Richard Cross citing Accenture's "deep experience in web TV, over-the-top services and the digital supply chain will help us as we look to transform our business".

Much attention has been paid to government spending with consultants recently with figures compiled by the Liberal Democrats suggesting Accenture is a leading recipient and the party calling the Brown government "consultaholics". However, it seems plausible that any attempts to get Whitehall IT in order could lead to more not less spending on outsourcers.

With a strong market for mergers and acquisitions expected to return to technology, Accenture's enduring popularity could well end with the company attracting an acquisition offer from a software or hardware giant -- Oracle has been tipped as a possible purchaser, for example.

Avanade, an agency that focuses on Microsoft-centric solutions and is majority-owned by Accenture, appointed a new CIO in March 2010, with Chris Miller joining from Accenture itself.

Miller said: "Avanade's technology teams operate at the edge of technology innovation, which gives our IT organisation a powerful advantage. Avanade has the ability to move quickly and to take carefully calculated risks, when they make sense. I'm looking forward to being part of a nimble organisation that understands how technology can help us realise results for our customers."