Accenture’s eye-catching acquisition of Genfour

Accenture is taking steps to cement its position as the “go-to” partner in digital transformation.

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It’s a safe bet that most enterprises as well as service providers pay attention to Accenture’s market moves and investments. After all, Accenture is the world's largest independent consulting and IT outsourcing firm, so who wouldn’t think it wise to learn by observing the firm’s strategies? Let’s look at Accenture’s recent acquisition of Genfour. Interestingly, the two major considerations that typically drive acquisitions are not at play in this case; so, what is Accenture’s strategy?

Based in the U.K, Genfour has fewer than 200 employees. It’s tiny compared to Accenture, which has 401,000 employees and 6,600 leaders. So, the acquisition won’t have any material impact on Accenture’s revenues. And the acquisition will add mostly mid-size enterprises to Accenture’s client base.

Accenture is also leading the pack of global service providers that are moving into digital-first services. Even so, the demand for digital services and transformation is the reason for the Genfour acquisition. Not long ago, Accenture began accelerating its journey into digital by partnering with leading automation technology vendors such as Blue Prism and IPsoft. Now with Genfour, Accenture is expanding its capabilities in intelligent automation services.

Genfour, a pure-play automation service provider specializes in assessing, implementing and managing automation solutions. The Genfour Autonomic platform has multi-tenant features and interfaces to third party workflow and reporting software. The company develops and deploys automation solutions and offers ongoing support in an as-a-service model.

Demand for automation skills

At a time when automation skills are in short supply in the market, Genfour brings Accenture between 50 to 60 personnel trained in robotic process automation (RPA), and nearly all of them are automation developers. Certainly 50 to 60 engineers are a drop in the bucket when it comes to Accenture’s huge talent pool. But in the world of digital engineers, 50 to 60 people with RPA expertise is huge. Companies just can’t find enough of these people today. Accenture is getting this important skill set that it can combine with its existing digital transformation expertise to further cement its position as the “go-to” partner in digital transformation.

What about the software?

With this acquisition, Accenture gains a modest amount of intellectual property. However, Genfour’s IP is designed mostly around running and managing other vendors’ technologies, and I believe this software layer is somewhat incidental to the acquisition.

Accenture is primarily interested in Genfour’s digital engineers and experience in driving digital transformation. Unlike Genpact, which recently bought Rage Frameworks, Accenture is not looking to acquire software assets. Although it may use the software, the Genfour digital transformation talent is the primary prize in this strategic acquisition.

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