In many businesses, the key to success often lies in a firm's ability to diversify. What PWC Consulting has accomplished through its iFS Solutions and Virtual Insurance Community (VIC) initiative testifies to the growing trend that sees e-business consultants spreading their wings to become more well-rounded entities.Large e-business consulting firms that once only dabbled in basic consulting services for the insurance industry are now adding systems integration expertise to their portfolio, industry observers say.

"PWC has long had domain expertise in insurance, but over the years this expertise has been applied in more of a horizontally driven manner, such as Y2K systems integration and enterprise resource planning. These are projects that cross many industries," says Susan Cournoyer, senior analyst, global industries at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Dataquest. "Now, PWC has leveraged this expertise to industry-specific offerings such as the VIC program. They seem to be emphasizing their vertical skills."

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