The world’s largest consulting firm by revenue, Accenture, has announced the purchase of 160-employee MOBGEN, which provides user experience-focused end-to-end digital services, with an emphasis on mobility strategy, creativity, and technology. The company is based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and has offices in Spain. Accenture has been on a roll purchasing revenue-generating assets, and this addition to Accenture Digital is intended to “deliver rapid iterations for advanced mobile and IoT services,” and “strong roadmaps, agile development capabilities and scalable solutions” for European clients.
While Accenture Digital is understandably focused on digital customer experience and marketing as revenue generators, the peak of mobile app development and regular consumer phone update cycles has passed for now. Accenture and other scale players are making massive incursions into terrain dominated in the past by big advertising holding companies. There is likely to be a next generation of digital devices soon, but there are questions as to whether Accenture and competitors are top heavy with “last mile” customer experience/marketing in a world where digital enterprise evolution is increasingly important.
In our always-on networked world, brand advertising agencies have struggled with the multiple new business dimensions and paradigms digital enables. While purchases like MOBGEN help Accenture to compete in these areas, the huge vacuum around the evolution from traditional IT to digital data and collaborative flows continues to be hugely challenging for businesses struggling to reorganize, and where credible, practical and dependable help is urgently needed to speed up evolution.
Current logic around CX suggests these companies find new customers through digital channels then reorganize their backends to accommodate new order flows and support. The data plumbing around sales leads can be wonderfully revitalizing to companies’ financials in some cases, but it’s often ephemeral and not necessarily helpful to longer term robustness to compete on an ever more digital playing field.
Accenture Digital now has a formidable portfolio to compete in the digital/CX mobile marketing space. Whether these assets will be relevant as the world evolves around the Internet of Things and digital devices and technologies mature is far from clear. The roll up of currently “hot” small CX and mobility shops is akin to the way the big advertising holding companies have been buying up boutique creative agencies and their client relationships. The differences here are the breadths of capability from depth in strategy and consulting to ongoing operations—a global network of delivery centers that can industrialize and operate and continually improve solutions over time. As Accenture tucks in these local capabilities, the key will be to tie all of these pieces together interactively over time to distinguish itself from those limited scope traditional advertising and marketing agencies.
Accenture now has to prove it can simultaneously operate as a legacy IT support firm, a client digital strategy advisor and partner, and a digital marketing and communications partner across 120 countries. This is entirely doable but will require significant homogenization and evolution within Accenture itself, and may result in some indigestion as they absorb and grow.