PwC bolsters Salesforce arm in Benelux and France with ABSI deal

09 April 2019

Accounting and consulting firm PwC has bolstered its Salesforce portfolio in the Benelux with the acquisition of ABSI. The move adds around 100 consultants and technology experts to its Salesforce practices in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. 

The move comes at a time when demand for Salesforce implementation services is rising rapidly. Salesforce is a provider of cloud-based systems that help companies build and nurture their (potential) clients through a rigorous and personalised customer relationship management approach. Over 150,000 companies today use Salesforce CRM to support their sales, service, commerce, marketing and e-commerce objectives. 

In the Benelux, ABSI was Salesforce’s first certified partner, back in 2002, and the firm has since grown into one of the region’s larger IT consultancies dedicated to the Salesforce platform. The company specialises in the implementation of Salesforce systems, the design of blueprints and business processes, the migration of data, and application integration.

“In a world that is digitising, organisations want to offer a personalised experience to customers, employees and business partners,” explained Maarten van de Pol, who leads PwC Advisory in the Netherlands. “The technological ecosystem of Salesforce meets this need – with the acquisition, PwC is strengthening its fast-growing digital transformation services on the Salesforce backbone.”PwC bolsters Salesforce arm in Benelux and France with ABSI dealThe integration sees ABSI’s 100-odd employees in Belgium (where the company was founded in 1995 in Brussels), the Netherlands (located in Nieuwegein, close to Utrecht) and France (Paris) join PwC’s ranks. As well as adding deep Salesforce expertise to its offering, PwC also expects to benefit from ABSI’s experience and propositions in the area of Dell Boomi, Sitecore, ServiceMax, Riva, Neurored and Ebsta. 

Doubi Ajami, founder and CEO van ABSI, remarked on the deal; “PwC and ABSI complement each other perfectly. Together we will be able to better serve our customers. While our focus remains 100% on Salesforce, thanks to the power and network of PwC we will also be able to work on broader projects at a strategic digital level.” 

PwC’s acquisitions in the Benelux build on previous Salesforce deals globally. At the end of 2017 the consulting firm for instance acquired UK-based cDecisions, shortly after it also bolted-on a Salesforce specialist in South Africa. The investments are part of PwC’s broader strategy to ramp up its technology consulting arm, amid a booming market for digital transformation services.  

Recently, PwC was named one of the globe’s top advisory and implementation partners for the Salesforce platform.

Accenture Interactive buys Dutch marketing agency Storm Digital

19 March 2019

Accenture has expanded its position in the Dutch digital marketing landscape with the acquisition of Storm Digital, adding around 90 professionals to its Accenture Interactive arm. “With this combination, we have everything that a chief marketing officer needs to build good brand experiences,” said Ron Vrijmoet of Accenture Interactive.

The move is part of Accenture’s global rampage into the world of marketing and advertising. On the back of an aggressive M&A strategy, with over 20 deals closed globally in recent years alone  – Accenture Interactive is according to US magazine AdAge the world’s largest digital marketing agency by revenue ($6,5 billion). Among the major acquisitions the firm has bolted-on in Europe are Fjord and Karamara in the UK, SinnerSchrader and Kolle Rebbe in Germany, and Kaplan in the Nordics. 

In the Netherlands, Accenture first showed its deal muscle in the scene when it acquired mobile specialist Mobgen in 2016, using the company’s platform to accelerate Accenture Interactive’s local growth. Now, months after the firm saw its bid for Netherlands-headquartered MediaMonks rebuffed (650 employees globally), Accenture has moved to purchase Storm Digital. 

Founded in 2006, Storm Digital supports clients such as ABN Amro, Exact, Rituals, KLM and Transavia with a range of digital marketing services, including designing and launching marketing campaigns, data-driven consumer analysis, media buying and online branding and visibility. The firm’s service portfolio is according to Ron Vrijmoet, a leader at Accenture Interactive in the Netherlands, complementary to the company’s existing portfolio, enabling the consultancy giant to provide an end-to-end service offering.Accenture Interactive buys Dutch marketing agency Storm Digital“Our services transform customer experiences with strategic, technological, analytical and creative propositions in the marketing domain,” explained Vrijmoet. The addition further hands Accenture a deeper grip in the rapidly growing market for programmatic services. Amid booming online media spending, advertisers are eagerly looking at ways to understand the effectiveness of their ad spend while taking greater control of the media supply chain. 

Accenture’s recently launched Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services practice helps clients oversee such matters, with Storm Digital touted to play a chief role in the arm’s growth in the Benelux and Europe. In December last year, to underpin its intentions in this space, Accenture Interactive absorbed US digital media firm Adaptly (150 employees) into its ranks.

“With the addition of Storm Digital we can act faster and better in terms of local presence, scalability and expertise, and contribute to improved results for our customers,” remarked Anatoly Roytman, Managing Director of Accenture Interactive in Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Storm Digital’s circa 90 employees and offices in Groningen and Amsterdam will be fully integrated into Accenture Interactive. Two of Storm Digital’s co-founders – Jasper Dijkstra and Viktor van der Wijk – will transfer to Accenture and take on executive roles in the Interactive arm. The other two co-founders, Sander Prinsen and Haico Pols – have also sold all their shares, but were however no longer active for the digital marketing agency.

For Storm Digital, the joining of forces paves the way for larger and more complex projects. “Storm Digital is growing strongly,” said Van der Wijk, “but if we want to push ahead, we also need for example creation and design skills. While it’s possible to build this from within, this approach takes longer. We also want to grow internationally, together with Accenture this is now possible.”