Accenture + Acquity is about The CEM Imperative
Friday’s announced acquisition of Acquity Group by Accenture is impressive in both dollar and surprise value. But in fact, it is merely a high-profile manifestation of the changes racking the service provider (SP) landscape as they reposition to support customer experience management (CEM).
For example, fellow suit-and-tie consulting firm Deloitte picked up Übermind in January 2012 and formed Deloitte Digital last May, a response to Accenture’s own Accenture Interactive.
Accenture itself acquired design consultancy Fjord on May 7, and avVenta Worldwide, a provider of “digital production services” in October 2012. These moves prompted AdAge to warn agencies that “Accenture’s invading your turf.”
WPP and other agencies are fighting back by creating and marketing technology and software services, such as Razorfish’s Fluent platform. (Created in association with Adobe, by the way, so maybe it’s no coincidence that Accenture’s Friday press release specifically called out the Acquity Group’s expertise with Adobe (and Hybris) as benefits of the acquisition.)
Finally, the vast majority of the 45+ service providers we interviewed for our upcoming report stated they are building out new skill sets, resources, technologies, partnerships, strategies and/or business units to address new demands from clients.
It’s all about the requirements for effective CEM. Pick your favorite definition of customer experience, they all involve the totality of a consumer’s interactions with a product or brand. CEM is therefore by definition, and inescapably, hostile to (and damaged by) virtually any siloed activity, technology, analytical insight, or strategy.
The right brain (creative agencies) and the left brain (management consultants or coding shops) have figured out that digital calls for a Unimind. Shocked and awed by the scale and complexity of CEM, companies will increasingly turn to service providers for assistance. (Or, in abdication: BMW has assigned Accenture near-total responsibility for managing its digital marketing campaigns in 100 markets worldwide.) The competition for such clients will expose any gaps in a service provider’s pretentions to holistic, end-to-end support.
A fusion reaction is triggered when matter is squeezed together by the (literally unearthly) pressure resulting from an atomic fission explosion. Digital has the same effect on all of the resources that touch upon customer experience, whether among service providers or corporate organizations. The CEM Imperative will inform and transform the technologies you use, how you compose and empower your workforce, what kinds of partners you need, and the minutiae of strategies and tactics that you create, execute, and optimize with them.
Please let us know what you think! For more information, look to our pending report on The Role of Service Providers in CEM and plan to attend the newly-created Digital Pulse conference in October. (Stay tuned!)