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    4. Cambridge Technology Partners Inc.

    By Kimberly Blanton, Globe Staff, 05/18/99

    James Sims, chief executive of Cambridge Technology Partners. The company is building a headquarters in Kendall Square.
    (Globe Photo / Frank O'Brien)

    Nearly every US corporation is trying hard to adapt to the Internet or prepare for 2000 or integrate their far-flung computer operations.

    ''It's a huge investment for any company just to stay on top of that stuff,'' said Robert Whelan Jr., an investment banker with Volpe Brown Whelan & Co. in Boston.

    The solution for many companies, he said, is to hire a consultant.

    Cambridge Technology Partners is often the consultant of choice.

    A highly visible sign of CTP's success is a hulking headquarters the company is building on prime real estate in Kendall Square in Cambridge. The consultant's worldwide employment has surged from 1,824 in 1996 to about 4,400.

    CTP hit a rough spot on March 19, when its stock plunged nearly 50 percent in one day after it disclosed first-quarter profits and revenues would be disappointing.

    In 1998, however, CTP's revenues grew nearly 40 percent, to $612 million, helping to vault the company to fourth in The Globe 100, from 15th the previous year.

    After the stock drop, the consulting company announced it had reorganized the way it delivers services to its customers. Its stock, which had peaked above 30 early this year, has recovered somewhat.

    The stock currently trades in the $15-a-share range.

    Meanwhile, plenty of competitors are ready to offer similar services. Many are in the Boston area, including Sapient Corp., Viant Corp., and i-cubed.

    But James Sims, chief executive of Cambridge Technology Partners, in an interview a month before the stock plunged, summed up why he thinks there is so much demand for his company's services: complexity.

    ''Ten years ago, a company could make easy decisions: `Buy an IBM mainframe, buy somebody's software, and I'm in business,''' Sims said.

    Today, he said, ''the decision-making process is far more complex.''

    This story ran on page D8 of the Boston Globe on 05/18/99.
    © Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.

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