Cognizant boosts business consultancy arm with Hedera Consulting deal

04 May 2018

Cognizant has acquired Hedera Consulting, an advisory and analysis company. The deal strengthens the firm’s consulting arm, with a focus on management consultancy and digital transformation, across four European countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland.

“Companies are re-designing their business and IT operating models for the digital era,” said Santosh Thomas, President, Global Growth Markets at Cognizant. “Hedera Consulting expands our ability to help these European clients create agile and digitally transformed enterprises that can act and react to the oceans of data for deeper customer insight, new product development, and to innovate and exploit new business opportunities.” 

With the acquisition of Hedera Consulting – which is headquartered in in Kontich, Belgium – Cognizant adds a specialist in business consultancy and data analysis in various sectors – including financial services and utilities – to its portfolio. With around 220,000 employees worldwide, Cognizant is one of the largest IT consultancy firms in the world and a specialist in supporting clients with the (digital) transformation, operations redesign, technology and outsourcing.

M&A-driven consulting expansion

The bolt-on of Hedera Consulting builds on several deals Cognizant in the consultancy space Cognizant has closed in recent years. Last year the firm for instance acquired Australia-based Adaptra, a firm with about 100 professionals. In 2016, KBACE Technologies was picked up, a consulting and technology service provider specialised in Oracle implementation and integration services, while in the same year the firm entered the marketing/branding landscape with the addition of Denmark-headquartered ReD Associates and Netherlands-based Mirabeau. Earlier transactions include the purchase of Cadient Group (2014) and Equinox Consulting (2013), a French financial consultancy firm.

Cognizant boosts business consultancy arm with Hedera Consulting deal

With the takeover of Hedera Consulting, Cognizant will, according to Santosh Thomas, be able to bolster its pan-European consultancy and data analytics offerings. Hedera has over 70 consultants, the majority of which are located in the Benelux, operating from offices in Kontich and in Zeist. The clients of Hedera Consulting are international: the firm’s consultants and data analysts serve organisations across Europe, spanning Italy, Switzerland, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, but also work in the Middle East. The services portfolio spans advisory and implementation support for issues relating to growth strategy, innovation, marketing, sales and customer service.

Leveraging the expertise and scale of Cognizant – Hedera Consulting will be integrated into Cognizant's consulting arm – the Belgian-origin firm will be better equipped to serve its customers, explained Philip Lahey, Partner at Hedera Consulting. “The most successful companies are the ones that reduce the time from informed insight to action. By joining forces with Cognizant, we are even better positioned to help clients define their strategy, transform their businesses and gain insight and competitive advantage in their fast-changing, highly competitive marketplaces.”

Philip Lahey is one of the four partners of the privately-held firm – the others are Patrick Fransen, Dimitri Leemans and Wim Moons. Lahey, Fransen and Leemans previouly worked for Accenture, while Moons served RealDolmen.

Lahey further points to the complementary knowledge and experience of both consultancies: “Our combined industry and local knowledge and experience, as well as our strong joint team, will better enable our customers in the Belgian and Dutch markets to extract meaning from their data and use it to effectively shape their products, services and experiences.”

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. Globally, Cognizant generates revenues of $14.8 billion.

Consulting M&A

In another consulting deal in Belgium’s consulting market, BDO last month acquired Ideas at Work and Crossroad – both digital consultancy companies. Meanwhile, the merger between France’s Argon Consulting and UK’s Crimson & Co announced earlier this week, created one of the larger consulting firms in Europe specialised in operations, procurement and supply chain.


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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.