EY continues technology consulting push with Plaut IT acquisition

04 February 2019 Consultancy.com.au

Professional services firm EY has continued its push into technology consulting with the acquisition of Plaut IT, growing its Australian Technology unit to more than 1,100 people. 

The deal is EY’s fourth digital acquisition in seven months, as the firm beefs up its digital capabilities amid a booming market. According to the latest data available, digital transformation now accounts for nearly one quarter of Australia’s US$5 billion management consulting market.

Lynn Kraus, Advisory leader at EY Oceania, said that the bolt-on aligns with EY’s strategy to build a practice capable of providing “end-to-end delivery” to clients. “Historically we had a deep understanding of processes, but we've had to bring someone else on board to deliver on the technology part of the transformation. My ambition is to shift from being an advisory business to being a true transformation partner.” 

Founded in 2000, Plaut IT specialises in ERP and cloud consulting services. The company works for large private sector groups, such as Amatil, BHP Billiton, Coca-Cola, SCT Logistics and Toyota, as well as state and federal government departments. The firm’s footprint consists of offices in Sydney, Canberra, Wollongong, Melbourne and Newcastle. Plaut IT also has a subsidiary in Malaysia, trading as Baseliner – together the group employs 130 professionals and generates revenues of around $32.2 million (FY17). 

“With the purchase of Plaut IT, EY is now positioned to compete in the larger end-to-end SAP sector, while the Baseliner entity also provides EY with the ability to provide cloud enterprise solutions in Oceania. We expect these additional capabilities will accelerate the digital transformation opportunities available to the business,” Kraus said.

Plaut IT is now part of EY in Asia-Pacific

Just three months ago, EY’s Australian Advisory arm also bought Adelphi Digital Consulting Group, a digital consultancy with around 170 employees in Australia, Singapore and Thailand, and Articulate Consulting, a Sydney-based change management consultancy. 

Meanwhile, across the Asia Pacific region and particularly Malaysia, the Plaut IT deal complements EY’s 2017 acquisition of Brightree, and the pickup of cybersecurity firm Xynapse in September last year. By joining forces with existing operations, EY enhances the expertise and credentials of its SAP center of excellence for Asia Pacific clientele, while better positioning the firm to compete for larger end-to-end SAP deals in the sector.

A logical move

The takeover builds on an extended period of collaboration between the two consulting firms. According to newspaper AFR, EY had regularly partnered with Plaut IT on contracts for more than five years, with an acquisition a logical step for both firms, said Kraus. Asked about why EY opted for buy-and-build over an in-house grooming strategy, Kraus said: “Plaut IT has experience doing large-scale SAP transformations for clients and that's a skill that's very hard to find in the marketplace and it's very hard to grow organically.”

David Prior, Chairman of Plaut IT, remarked, “The acquisition provides our team with a well-rounded set of capabilities and skills and provides the potential for us to work on large scale business transformations. We are excited about the work we will now have the opportunity to participate in.”

The integration sees Plaut IT’s businesses in Australia and Malaysia rebrand as EY, with Prior becoming a partner in EY’s Technology service area in Sydney. 

EY is not alone in its foray into digital. Large rivals are also making major investments in this area. In January, Accenture bought Australian Oracle consultancy PrimeQ in a deal worth $31 million. Of the Big Four firms, Deloitte has been the most active poacher in recent times, having purchased speech analytics business KnowledgeSpace, SAP partner Nesoi Solutions, IT consultancy JKVine, data science consultancy Connected Analytics, software developer Well Placed Cactus, and Amazon Web Services specialist CloudTrek.

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Deloitte bolsters digital capabilities with The Terrace Initiative

19 April 2019 Consultancy.com.au

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.”