Big Four accounting and consulting firm EY has announced that it in the coming years will invest $500 million globally to bolster its Data Analytics and Big Data capabilities. At the heart of the multi-year investment lies the setup of a Global Analytics Center of Excellence (COE), in addition the firm expects to complete a number of acquisitions in the analytics space.
Big Data is earmarked by analysts as one of the most promising consulting segments for the coming years, with near double-digit growth rates expected yearly up to 2018. As a result consulting firms are quickly ramping up their capabilities and footprint in the field. They do this for instance through the acquisition of specialist firms*, the bundling of expertise into separate ‘Digital’ practices** and the setup of specialised (global) research units***.
The latest to announce massive plans in the analytics landscape was EY – the global advisory firm has unveiled that it has reserved a budget of $500 million to expand its capabilities in the domain. The overlage part of the money will be spent on three key areas. At the centre lies the setup of a Global Analytics Center of Excellence (COE), an organisational unit that will be responsible for areas such as thought leadership, expertise and for training & development of employees. Secondly, EY will launch a recruitment drive aimed at attracting talent in areas such as data sciences and advanced statistical modeling to complement, with the objective of significantly growing its global talent base, which currently consists of 3,500 analytics professionals. Thirdly, EY has put capital aside to acquire Big Data specialists, as the firm understands it will be unable to build the cross-functional expertise and meet its growth ambitious target just on the back of organic growth.
* Recent examples of deals in the analytics segment include the acquisitions of i4C Analytics and Acquity Group by Accenture, PwC’s takeover of US firm BGT and Millward Brown’s acquisition of InsightExpress.
** For example, Accenture launched Accenture Digital, Deloitte operates with Deloitte Digital, PwC recently launched PwC Digital Services, and BCG’s separate Digital label has been dubbed BCG Digital Ventures.
*** Recently Capgemini launched a dedicated innovation lab in Australia that focuses mainly on analytics, while for instance McKinsey & Company for a few years now has been operating a dedicated ‘Big Data’ research centre in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.