Move over McKinsey

We are in the middle of the third major economic revolution, the Information Revolution. The fuel stoking this fire is the digitisation of society and change has been fast and scary. Governments and institutions are grappling to keep up, understand the impact, and regulate.

The same has been the case in the business world - and in particular for the biggest brands in Western society. For too long the major incumbents have not kept up with the pace of digital change and the dynamism of their consumer base, increasingly polarised between baby boomers and millennials.

These brands are turning to consultancies to help them through this digital Information Revolution. There are many out there who claim to be able to help big business through this shift, whether it’s innovation, new product development, back office systems & infrastructure, or the customer interface. It’s big business - but who will the winners be?

The best consultancies now understand that to win in the digital world, they need to seamlessly marry technology and creative.

The large management consultancies, and newer tech consultancies (read: system integrators and BPOs) have realised they only have one half of this jigsaw and to build their consultancy practices they need to acquire the best creative skills in the marketplace. And so far, Accenture has been better at this than anyone else.

Accenture was the first consultancy to realise its heritage was the Left side of the brain (logic / science / maths) and to win they needed to introduce Right brain thinking – creativity and the arts. This began with their acquisition of Fjord in 2013 and they have been on the march since then, acquiring 100+ businesses in the last six years – many in the creative space.

They announced this week the acquisition of ?What If! – a stand-out innovation consultancy advising the world’s biggest brands at the highest level on their most serious problems– rooted in creative thinking. Adding these Right brain skills to the technology prowess of Accenture is going to create a very powerful offer.

That volume of acquisitions creates its own problems and at some point Accenture will need to stop, consolidate and assimilate these business into a seamless integrated offer. Easier said than done with creative businesses that jealously guard their unique cultures and ways of working. But if Accenture can overcome the ‘Cultural Dilemma’ it will have fundamentally shifted its business over the last six years and set itself up to be the go-to consultancy for the next 10 to 20 years. Move over McKinsey.