One of the world’s weirdest developments is the way accountants have morphed into global business movers and shakers. They may cock up their audits on numerous occasions but their consultancy businesses grow and grow (maybe the two aren’t unrelated).
One of the biggest such firms is Deloitte and now its Deloitte Digital Practice has bought its 11th agency, San Francisco’s Heat which has a long list of Cannnes award winners to its name. It also produced trailers for the latest Star Wars movie (below). Last year Deloitte Digital turned over $1.2bn, which is enough to make even WPP blink.
Deloitte Digital CEO Andy Main says: “Adding Heat’s extraordinary and award-winning creative capabilities is the perfect complement to our market-leading and long-established digital business.” Not that “long-established” Andy surely?
M&A firm Results International MD Keith Hunt says: “There’s a hint of something different in the air. Jason Warnes, former managing director of AKQA, was hired by Deloitte as a partner at Deloitte Digital towards the end of last year. A few months before that EY bought digital consultancy Seren. In 2013 Accenture acquired service design company Fjord and in 2012 PwC bought online analytics firm Logan Tod. And those are just the UK deals.
“They’re gathering momentum as the lines are blurring between technology, IT services and marcoms. The big consulting firms have historically been in the space with CTOs – and thanks to the increase in tech-enabled marketing activity CTOs and CMOs have come a lot closer together. Now there are enterprise-wide digital solutions rather than just for marketing or IT, and the consultants are building teams to reflect that.
“It’s a mixture of opportunity and threat: a very real opportunity for those companies that would be interested in being an acquisition target and a big threat to the major (marcoms) networks. The latter are going to find there are other organisations out there with very large headcounts, wide geographies and strong balance sheets that are muscling in on their territory.”
Indeed they are. Good news for those digerati of an ‘exit-driven’ mentality though.