EY acquires Australian cybersecurity firm Open Windows IDENTITY

22 August 2017 Consultancy.uk

Big Four firm EY has bolstered its Asia-Pacific cybersecurity services offering with the acquisition of Melbourne-based Open Windows IDENTITY. The acquisition sees former Open Windows CEO Simon Adler lead the new EY Identity Management Advisory Services arm. 

Established over twenty years ago, Open Windows is a Microsoft GOLD Application Development Partner, having also previously won the Microsoft ‘Innovation Partner of the Year’ award. A subsidiary focused on contract management software, Open Windows IDENTITY quickly grew into one of Australia’s largest providers following its 2012 launch, supplying a modular procurement suite which is presently used by over 150 of the country’s largest organisations and government departments, both in the cloud and on premise. Having built a significant client base of top tier organisations over the past five years, along with a strong team of identity specialists based all over Australia who are engaged in some of the largest and most complex IAM projects in the country, the company became targets for acquisition by Big Four consulting firm EY, with discussions concluding in Summer 2017. 

IDENTITY hopes its purchase, which will not affect Melbourne-based sister company Open Windows Software – continuing to operate under the Open Windows brand name as providers of eSourcing and Contract Management software – will enable Open Windows IDENTITY to access the support and resources required to continue to grow the business.

EY's acquisition of Open Windows

The acquired business will meanwhile form the central platform for the new Asia-Pacific EY Identity Management Advisory Services offering. The new service will be led by the former Open Windows CEO, Simon Adler, and will provide “Identity-as-a-Service” (IDaaS) in addition to existing EY identity governance capabilities. The deal meanwhile enables EY member firms to offer an integrated suite of cyber advisory services across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, from strategy through to assistance in implementation capability across Asia-Pacific.

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services, as one of the Big Four accounting and professional services firms alongside Deloitte, PwC and KPMG. Each of the major rivals have been engaged in large-scale campaigns of diversification in recent years, through acquisition and investment, particularly in the fields of Digital Consulting, FinTech use, and cybersecurity. In 2014, KPMG bought both P3 and Qubera Solutions to strengthen their cybersecurity capacity, while Deloitte backed a new cybersecurity MSc programme at DMU in 2015. PwC Ireland meanwhile launched a cyber-centre aimed at protecting clients from hacking in 2016.

The insights and quality services EY aim to deliver will hopefull help build trust and confidence in the capital markets, according to the firm’s release following the deal for IDENTITY. Earlier in 2017, EY released a six step programme for companies to insulate themselves from hackers following the global WannaCry cyberattacks which hit the NHS among many other global institutions.

Richard Watson, EY’s Asia-Pacific Leader for Cybersecurity, said, “The need for organizations to protect infrastructure such as financial systems, power grids, telecommunication lines, transportation, commerce and health care systems from cyber threats has never been more important. Connected infrastructure, growing networks and internet-enabled devices mean our communities are increasingly vulnerable to risk of attack from sophisticated cyber criminals, who often use weak identity management controls to compromise systems. With an end-to-end cyber advisory and assistance in implementation capability, EY member firms are even more well-positioned than ever to help clients protect critical systems.” 

Simon Adler, former Open Windows CEO, meanwhile said, “This combination puts us on enterprise footing, which opens up significant new opportunities for the team and our clients.”


SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

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.”