IBM’s latest acquisition is creative agency Aperto. What might they need them for?
They’re by no means the first IT consultancy to try to enter the space typically dominated by the WPP, Publicis and Omnicom triumvirate, either by acquisition (probably the most successful example, Sapient’s reversal into Nitro, while Accenture has bought Fjord , and the likes of Deloitte and Valtech have entered the market in more recent years)
What drives this is that, for many of the established IT consultancies growth opportunities are limited, IT driven Business Process Optimisation is getting about as optimal as it can get, and with every business using IT based ERP, HR and accounting systems, the upgrade cycle is not enough. IBM, like their competitors before them, is forced to seek out new territory and that’s territory normally reserved for big agencies – the last mile between a brand and their customers.
IBM has further challenges than their cohorts – the need to align with their own Websphere product suite, which fares badly in analyst comparisons to rival products from Adobe, Sitecore and Acquia.
The problem IBM will face is, like Accenture and other new entrants who have struggled to make an impact, is that for them, the technology comes first. Digital agencies on the other hand, understand that it’s the humans who come first, and technology is simply a means to an end.