Highlight Report

Accenture acquired umlaut to bolster product engineering capability

July 21, 2021

In June 2021, Accenture acquired umlaut, Germany-based engineering consulting and services company. As a part of the acquisition, umlaut will be part of Industry X practice and will join the long list of acquired companies by Accenture (Callisto Integration, ESR Labs, PLM Systems, Myrtle Consulting, Pollux) to augment its Industry X capabilities (22 acquisitions since 2017). The acquisition will increase Accenture’s engineering capability across digital and emerging technologies including cloud computing, AI, and 5G among others.

umlaut is the biggest acquisition of Industry X business unit so far. It will add significant scale and scope for the overall practice

In previous acquisitions, Accenture focused on targeted technology-centric (for example, industrial robotics, PLM, MES) and industry-oriented companies (Automotive, Industrial) with typically less than 1,000 professionals. But umlaut is a large-scale acquisition both in terms of scale and scope. Though the financial figure is not declared officially, we believe that it’s close to a billion-dollar or more than a billion-dollar acquisition.

umlaut has a broad range of digital engineering capabilities across industries including automotive, aerospace & defense, telecommunications, and energy verticals. This capability along with the existing engineering expertise of Accenture will offer clients more in-depth and broad services offerings across engineering functions, factory floors, and plant operations. As a part of the acquisition, umlaut’s 4,200 engineers and consultants across 17 countries will join Accenture’s Industry X business.

Manufacturers are relying on emerging technology like IoT to take advantage of new business models

With the advent of IoT, we are observing increasing applications of the connected product, connected process, and connected system, resulting in operating model transformation, and deployment of new business models among others. COVID-19 has accelerated the necessity of digital engineering due to remote operations. The scope of digital engineering is not only limited to shop-floor operations but also expanded across the value chain i.e. from R&D, production, supply chain to after-market operations. As a result, manufacturers need a more broad portfolio of technology capability that includes matured manufacturing technology (such as Industrial Automation, MES, PLM, Robotics, etc.), supporting technology (such as Manufacturing SCM, Cloud computing, etc.), and emerging technology (such as IoT, 5G, Digital twin, 3D printing, etc.).

Service providers already have good capability across supporting and matured manufacturing technologies. So, the rationale of acquisitions is to target niche companies that have specific technology capability development. We have also observed industry-specific acquisitions in the engineering services in automotive, aerospace, and semiconductor, among others.

Bringing world-class digital engineering and manufacturing expertise to our clients helps them rapidly scale, accelerate growth, improve productivity and safety, and embed sustainability across their operations. From consumers to R&D to the supply chain and factory floor, and back again, companies that use the power of data and digital to build value will become — and remain — relevant, resilient, and responsible.
– Nigel Stacey, global lead of Accenture Industry X

Due to smart and connected products in manufacturing the role of software is becoming very critical for data collection, control, and real-time insights. In recent times, Accenture’s competitors are also enhancing their software product engineering capability through an inorganic route. For example, in 2020, Infosys acquired Kaleidoscope Innovation, a full-service insight, design, and development firm present across medical, consumer, and industrial verticals. In 2021, LTI acquired Cuelogic Technologies, India-based digital engineering, and outsourced product development company.

The Bottom Line: umlaut acquisition will put Accenture in a higher orbit in terms of digital engineering capability in the manufacturing sector.

Accenture clients will benefit from the end-to-end advisory and engineering services expertise of the company including strategy, process, and organizational consulting; development, testing, and validation of smart connected products; and software product development. Helping manufacturers continue to develop and expand a broad range of technology capabilities will be critical in the increasingly hyper-connected economy.

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