Agile project managers must find partners with the brains and brawn to deliver—Cognizant acquiring Contino certainly bolsters its capabilities

These days, everything is agile—even if it isn’t. The drive for Agile and DevOps has rapidly expanded the pools of contracts we see where executives are throwing money at modernizing IT infrastructure and capabilities. It’s a lucrative market for the providers that have the goods. And it’s finding those with real capability that’s proving the toughest part of the process for keen buyers; simply put, they must scrutinize providers to ensure they have the brains and brawn to deliver on agile engagements. Cognizant’s acquisition of Contino, a DevOps and cloud transformation consultancy, certainly brings in more capability to the firm’s already potent blend of agile talent, frameworks, and technology.


Contino brings with it a strong track record of delivering DevSecOps and cloud transformation services to G2000 clients


It’s always tough for analysts to gauge the potential success of an acquisition, although, with Contino, it seems like money well spent. It helps bolster Cognizant’s considerable push toward a digital engineering mindset and fuels a cultural alignment between the two firms, which has been the missing ingredient for similar acquisitions in the broader provider market.


Matt Farmer, the CEO of Contino, highlighted this cultural affinity when the acquisition was announced. He advised that “joining Cognizant enables us to expand and scale our offerings globally, build on our tremendous success, and provide an even richer portfolio of cloud strategy and engineering capabilities. We are thrilled to be joining an organization that shares our rich expertise in cloud technologies, DevOps, digital engineering, and data analytics. Our focus has always been on supporting the enterprise and their transformation using the ‘Squad Model.’ With this approach, we support our enterprise clients at every step, from engineering through to communicating the benefits of their journey, all for ultimate success.”


Among Contino’s public clients are multiple major G200 enterprises, including Barclays, Allianz, Vodafone, and Adidas. The firm has a treasure trove of client success stories, including supporting a global airline to deploy next-gen data analytics platforms and helping a national retailer migrate a billion-dollar ecommerce operation to AWS.


The acquisition of Contino follows a series of significant investments to bolster Cognizant’s growing business of helping enterprises modernize their IT infrastructure and replatform their businesses. In 2018, Cognizant acquired Softvision, a large firm with an extensive history delivering Agile development services, which has since played an important role in Cognizant’s ambition to become the leading firm in the agile development space.

A successful provider-led agile transformation requires commitment from all levels within the client, which is tricky to achieve without good change management and the correct approach that inspires everyone to go with the change. The supportive approach Contino takes to this process should help round out not just the technical part of the agile process but also the cultural alignment requirements.


Contino also brings considerable experience working in complex cloud environments, and it has core partnerships with several of the major hyperscale cloud giants, with multiple success stories demonstrating expertise in migrating complex businesses into AWS environments and helping fast-growing disruptors leverage the cloud to facilitate rapid growth. It is a useful addition to Cognizant’s expanding cloud business.


The Bottom Line: In the hyper-competitive agile software development market, finding providers with the right talent and tools is vital to success.


Brian Humphries, CEO of Cognizant, said, “We look forward to welcoming Contino’s talented team to Cognizant. The DevOps approach to cloud migration, core modernization, and cloud security is reshaping how enterprises in all industries are building their infrastructures. This new set of holistic cloud capabilities from Contino will enable us to offer and more readily deploy transformative cloud-based solutions.”


The continued efforts from Cognizant to rationalize internal delivery to refocus on a digital engineering model, supplemented by multiple significant investments over the past two years, puts the firm in a competitive position in a challenging market. Enterprise buyers would do well to carefully examine a provider’s track record of investments in the space, and, in a market dominated by marketing materials professing ubiquitous agile superiority, finding the firms with real capabilities and a track record of delivery is key to success.

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