Accenture adds GIS expert Realworld OO Systems to Utilities arm

02 November 2016

Accenture has acquired geographic information systems provider Realworld OO Systems. All employees of the Dutch firm, around 50, join the Utilities practice of Accenture in the Netherlands.

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in the Netherlands, Realworld OO Systems specialises in helping utilities digitise and optimise their electricity, water and natural gas networks. The firm provides a range of geographic information system (GIS) and smart grid services solutions – two areas which are playing a fundamental role in the utilities sector. 

GIS, a technology that stands at the heart of spatial asset management, is fundamental in automation, sensors and the integration of information technology and operational technology. It enables the exchange of data between GIS, operations and enterprise resource planning systems. The use of smart grids is key for a range of reasons, from enabling distributed energy networks and providing customers with the means to drive energy efficiency to allowing utilities companies to better monitor and manage their assets.

Accenture adds GIS expert Realworld OO Systems to Utilities arm

With the acquisition, Accenture adds significant technology expertise and solutions to its Utilities arm in the Benelux. “Realworld OO Systems brings new skills and capabilities to Accenture’s smart grid services portfolio with talented professionals who have invested years in mastering geographic information system solutions for utilities,” says Stephanie Jamison, Global Managing Director of Accenture Smart Grid Services. The move, according to Jamison, provides the firm the added capacities to serve as an end-to-end adviser to utilities on hardware matters: “Our Utilities practice boasts an end-to-end portfolio of smart grid services and we are now even better positioned to help clients to optimise and manage digital assets and intelligent grid operations.” 

Frank van Ham, Chief Technology Officer of Realworld OO Systems, adds, “The joining of forces will support our clients’ digital transformation with the latest technologies and services. Our people have an outstanding role to play by combining the deep GIS knowledge of Realworld OO Systems with Accenture’s smart grid services.”

For Realworld OO Systems, the integration into the global consulting firm (384,000 employees in 120+ countries) will also bolster its financial muscle to realise its international growth ambitions. “Accenture’s robust international presence at most large utilities companies, provides Realworld OO Systems an opportunity to quickly ramp up our long-held goal of growing our business in Europe.”

The operations of Realworld OO Systems outside the Netherlands, including offices in the US, Germany, South Africa and the UK, have been left outside the deal. The UK operation launched in August this year with an office in Cambridge, where it has a team of just under ten experts, led by Gillian Kendrick. 


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SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019

UK consulting firm SQW Group has completed its first acquisition since it completed a management buyout in January 2019. BBP Regeneration joins the company having collaborated with SQW for more than 20 years.

Established in 1983, SQW Group now operates all over the world. Comprising SQW, Oxford Innovation, Oxford Innovation Services – one of the UK’s leading innovation centre operators – and Oxford Investment Opportunities Network, the organisation’s origins can be traced to Britain’s two ancient university cities: Oxford, through Oxford Trust founders, Martin and Audrey Wood, and Cambridge, through SQW’s work in producing The Cambridge Phenomenon.

The consultancy specialises in public policy, working with entities from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions. It now employs over 250 people across regional offices in London, Oxford and Edinburgh, and provides business support to over 4,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. At the start of 2019, SQW secured its independence in a management buyout, advised on by M&A experts from Liberty Corporate Finance and Penningtons Manches.

SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

SQW has strengthened its position as a provider of services across the business spectrum with the acquisition of BBP Regeneration. Founded in 1994, the consulting firm specialises in land and property-based regeneration and growth schemes, and is a leading social and economic development consultancy. 

The two firms first worked together over 20 years ago, when SQW and BBP collaborated to develop the first Regional Economic Strategy for the South East. More recently, they developed an economic strategy for Thanet and are now working together in locations stretching from Cwmbran via Oxfordshire to London.

With the addition of BBP, SQW can now provide an integrated advisory service for organisations developing property schemes which deliver economic benefit to their local area. By joining SQW, meanwhile, BBP hopes to further enhance its ability to support clients in delivering property and place-making ambitions. 

Speaking about the deal, SQW CEO David Crichton-Miller commented, “The UK more than ever needs solutions to the challenges of places – of high streets under threat, of meeting housing delivery targets, and of both economically over-successful and economically challenged towns and cities – and the combination of SQW and BBP is uniquely suited to developing those solutions. [This deal] brings together critical and complementary services relating to places to serve our clients with leading edge and practical advice.”

Andy Smith, Director of BBP Regeneration, added, “SQW shares with BBP the same values of seeking to provide outstanding, practical, real world advice that helps get buildings built and places developed.  We greatly look forward to the opportunities that come from joining our two organisations together.”