Innovation consultancy UDKU acquired by KPMG Australia

31 July 2018

KPMG has snapped up the Sydney based innovation and consulting agency UDKU or U Don’t Know Us for an undisclosed sum. The consultancy is aptly named as it helps its clients embrace the unknown.

UDKU has joined the KPMG Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory (CBMA) business bringing all 11 staff along with it. This acquisition is the second for the Big Four professional services firm after it created its CBPA practice mid last year.  

The consultancy was born out of the desire to kickstart the creativity process. Jumpstarting and driving innovation is a core factor of UDKU’s business model. “UDKU was founded because certainty in business no longer exists. Change is constant. Embracing the unknown is an essential philosophy as business grapples with disruption and the need to change, fast,” said creative strategist and Partner, Colin Jowell. 

“Because we work across such a diverse range of categories, we can bring clients unexpected ideas that transform their business. The opportunity for us to be part of KPMG is just brilliant, allowing us to scale up the customer experience innovation offer at this critical time,” Jowell continued. 

The acquisition exemplifies KPMG’s intention to bolster its CBMA practice. Having only been created a few years back, KPMG’s customer, brand & marketing advisory services have been built off the acquisition of Acuity Research & Insights last year. Since then the firm has appointed former Publicis CEO Andrew Baxteras a senior advisor. 

Innovation consultancy UDKU acquired by KPMG Australia

The firm’s CBMA practice has grown to over a 100 people in the past year. According to KPMG’s Partner in Charge of CBMA, Paul Howes, the practice is working on projects for some of Australia’s most forward-thinking and progressive organisations. The purchase comes almost exactly a year after the firm’s CBMA practices inception.

“UDKU is a bit of a birthday present for our venture. It is just over a year since CBMA was formed, off the back of our acquisition of Acuity Research and Insights. And it’s been a massive success. CBMA is producing some stellar results for clients, and enjoying strong double digit growth.” 

“Our solutions address specific business issues through the lenses of customer and staff experience. We provide holistic customer experience problem-solving, with the security of fact-based evidence and the ability to practically go to market,” said Colin Jowell. “And this kind of targeted creative thinking has delivered game-changing results for clients. Take Airtasker, for example. Our successful work with Airtasker has helped it transform from start-up to a household name!” he said. 

Gary Wingrove, CEO of KPMG Australia commented: “Over the next five years, almost 90 percent of companies expect to be competing on the basis of customer experience alone. The world according to the customer will define organisations’ design, processes and technology changes. UDKU beautifully complements CBMA’s expertise by deepening our customer experience and digital design capabilities, as well as adding a new dimension of physical design skills.”



Deloitte bolsters digital capabilities with The Terrace Initiative

19 April 2019

Global professional service firm Deloitte has bolstered its capabilities in the cloud computing domain through the acquisition of management consultancy The Terrace Initiative, which is based in Perth. The acquisition gives Deloitte access to Alchymy, which is a insight-driven digital portal. 

The Terrace Initiative was established in 2013 as a management consultancy, offering a wide range of services including organisational change management, project management, risk management and business analysis. The firm is based in Perth, with an additional office in Sydney.

The firm offers support with digital transformation and is adept at dealing with services in the Industry 4.0 domain, making it an enticing prospect for Big Four accounting and advisory firm Deloitte. Specifically, Deloitte is aiming to acquire capabilities in Alchymy, which is an insight-enabled change management platform.

Alchymy was devised to cope with the high-speed environment that is characteristic of the contemporary business environment. The firm is hosted in the digital domain, and delivers data-driven insights that are computed in real time on a singular dashboard for organisations.

Deloitte bolsters digital capabilities with The Terrace Initiative

Leaders have an overview of the progress being made in different areas of their organisation, with simultaneous identification of any barriers being faced in any domain. Alchymyst offers visual representation, which enables the quick deciphering of progress and issues, allowing for speedy action. 

The platform will significantly enhance Deloitte’s capabilities. Conditions of the transaction dictate that the joint CEOs at The Terrace Initiative – Melissa Bell and Corrie Scheepers – will join Deloitte at a Partner level, and will lead a new change management division. All roughly 50 The Terrace Initiative employees will also join the big four accounting and consulting giant.

The acquisition comes amid a period of expansion for Deloitte Australia. Since the start of this year, the firm has made a foray into the New Zealand market with its digital vertical, in addition to the acquisition of risk consultancy Converging Data Australia.

Managing Partner of Consulting at Deloitte, Kaylene O’Brien, said of the acquisition, “The digital age is driving organisational change at an unprecedented rate. Managing the human aspects of these changes is incredibly complex and generates large amounts of data that has traditionally been hard to capture and interpret.”

David Brown, Leader of Human Capital at Deloitte added, “The world of work is rapidly changing. The future of work, workers and the workplace are all being disrupted by technology, in a myriad of ways. Successful change initiatives and inspired cultures rely on agile, flexible and innovative leaders, and the effective use of data will become increasingly important.”