Accenture bolsters ServiceNow consulting skills

The professional service firm's latest cloud consulting acquisition is consistent with its drive to stay on top of customer demand for cloud ecosystem services.

Accenture's acquisition this week of Solid servision, a German ServiceNow consulting firm, is the latest in a string of cloud solution provider purchases.

The professional services company, which generated $32.9 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2016, has bought at least eight cloud-related companies since 2015. Many of those purchases focus on a particular cloud ecosystem such as Salesforce, Workday or ServiceNow. Accenture has taken the acquisition route to bring on the talent it needs to meet client demand for consulting and implementation services around specific cloud platforms.

The Solid servision deal fits the narrative. The company, based in Dresden, Germany, ranks among the largest pure-play ServiceNow consulting companies in Europe, according to Accenture. The acquired company is now part of Accenture's ServiceNow practice, which includes earlier acquisitions. Accenture in 2016 acquired Nashco, a ServiceNow specialist in Canada, and in 2015 purchased Cloud Sherpas, which contributed ServiceNow, Salesforce and Google skills. The German acquisition adds about 100 professionals to Accenture's ServiceNow practice.

ServiceNow consulting deal part of larger trend

Boz Hristov, professional services senior analyst at Technology Business Research Inc., said Accenture is pursuing "an aggressive approach toward acquisition and staying ahead of … demand. They don't want to be caught by surprise. They want to make sure they have enough [trained personnel] to support existing contracts and new opportunities." 

Jeff Kaplan, managing director at THINKstrategies, a cloud advisory firm in Wellesley, Mass., also cited the rising tide of cloud projects as influencing acquisitions. He said ServiceNow's focus on enterprise-scale solutions means many multinational companies are buying the company's cloud offerings. Those deployments span geographies, with the bulk in North America and Europe. 

"As cloud-based, software as a service solutions gain greater acceptance among multinational corporations, the major consultancies like Accenture have to increase their global consulting capabilities to keep pace with growing demand for their services," Kaplan said. 

Acquisitions such as Solid servision also help Accenture demonstrate its ability to support large-scale deployments in different geographic regions, Hristov said. 

"With cloud, they need to have the regional presence and boots-on-the-ground expertise," he said. 

That regional presence also helps Accenture address country-specific requirements and concerns such as data sovereignty, he noted. 

Other companies dig in

Accenture isn't alone among large professional services firms and systems integrators in targeting cloud consultancies. Stephanie Artigliere, analyst at Technology Business Research, said Atos, Capgemini and PwC have made similar moves. PwC, a multinational professional services firm, in 2016 acquired Outbox Group, a Polish company with specializations in Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle and SAP.


Next Steps

Read about CSC's acquisition of Fruition Partners in the ServiceNow space

Learn more about IBM's acquisition of Bluewolf in the SalesForce ecosystem

Gain insight into how cloud acquisitions echo the client-server shift  

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