AI consulting venture PS Hummingbird expands into Australia

27 March 2024 3 min. read
More news on

Launched at the end of last year, Publicis Sapient and Tquila’s Microsoft AI joint venture Hummingbird has now expanded to Australia.

Former Deloitte partner Rodney Barrell has been appointed to oversee the Australian expansion of Microsoft-focused AI consultancy PS Hummingbird – a recently-launched joint venture between Publicis Sapient and technology firm Tquila.

The move into the Australian market follows Publicis Sapient’s purchase of Tquila A/NZ twelve months ago, which specialised in Salesforce, along with the buyout of a separate joint venture AI Labs.

AI consulting venture PS Hummingbird expands into Australia

Barrell crosses to the budding consultancy after spending the past two years as a partner at Deloitte, where he led the Big Four’s Microsoft Finance and Operations ERP practice, prior to which he served as the regional Victoria lead for Microsoft cloud & data specialist Empired ahead of its $233 million acquisition by Capgemini in 2021. Earlier, he spent close to three years with Dimension Data, with international ICT experience dating back to 90s.

“We’re chuffed to welcome Rodney Barrell as our Aussie leader,” the firm stated on Linkedin. “A virtuoso in Microsoft Dynamics and a maestro of transformation, Rodney is unparalleled in guiding clients through their business challenges with finesse. With the backing of Publicis Sapient and our partnership with Microsoft, we’re all geared up to innovate with Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and Copilot, unlocking new horizons of opportunities.”

Headquartered in Chicago, Hummingbird was only established toward the end of last year but continues a successful recent partnership between Publicis Sapient and Tquila – the latter which predominantly acts as a business accelerator on technology product builds for professional services firms, which are then given first option upon pre-agreed triggers.

Established in 2010, the company first tasted success in a Salesforce JV sale to Accenture in the UK.

Since then, Publicis Sapient and Tquila have collaborated on a number of projects, three of which have been transferred to the digital consultancy for outright ownership, including another Salesforce entity Sapient i7 in addition to Tquila A/NZ and most recently AI Labs – the latter which was established in just 2020. Tquila founder and chairman James McHugh however described Hummingbird upon its launch as the two partners most ambitious project to date.

According to the company spiel, PS Hummingbird – which operates as an independent entity but will support Publicis Sapient clients while also servicing its own – offers end-to-end services including strategy and planning, UX and process design, data analysis, and testing and implementation, leveraging Microsoft Copilots to unlock tailored AI-powered solutions for businesses across their major sales, service, marketing, supply-chain and finance functions.

Earlier this year, Publicis outlined its second-century strategy to become the “industry’s first AI-powered Intelligent System”, backed by a €300 million three-year investment into training and tech and the introduction of CoreAI, a centralised knowledge platform across the group’s entities which connects trillions of consumer, content and media data points to Sapient’s more than three decades worth of business transformation intelligence and expertise.