Financial services giant EY strengthened its digital muscle this week with acquisition of Society Consulting, a Seattle-based analytics consultancy focusing on digital analytics and big data platforms. 

Founded as the JobMob in 2008 by five friends, Society Consulting helps companies create infrastructure to aggregate, organize and visualize their customer data. The company, which also designs marketing strategies for multiple channels and touch points, joined Ernst & Young LLP in the US.  It has more than 250 employees.

EY Wants to Leverage Data

Ernst & Young — which began trading as EY in 2013 — noted in a statement that its clients want to leverage their data, make sense of it and drive consistent, sustained value by becoming a more data-driven businesses. 

Last November, EY bought NorthPoint Digital and took in its 91 employees. NorthPoint Digital, based in New York City, partners with web content management and digital marketing providers such as Acquia, Adobe, Sitecore, EPiServer, Hippo, Pantheon, Insite Software and Elastic Path. Headquartered in London, EY has about 212,000 global employees.

Society Consulting described its typical clients as companies interested in improving the customer experience across a variety of media channels, and creating scalable, actionable analytics solutions that span all customer touchpoints. Company officials cited, as an example, an outdoor clothing, gear and footwear company that uses data to identify users across online and offline channels. It learned which segments were highest value to build personalized online browsing and shopping experiences, they explained.

Society Consulting also counts Microsoft, Uber, AT&T, Sephora, Salesforce, T-Mobile, Fox and Verizon among its more than 200 customers. Its services include web development, dynamic content strategy, content management, personalization, segmentation and campaign execution.

EY officials said they will leverage the Society Consulting team’s experience to help clients design, build and deploy experiences for customers, employees, providers and other stakeholders.

Becoming Data-Driven

Saj Usman, EY Americas Advisory Data and Analytics Leader, said in a statement that the Society Consulting team will help EY enhance clients’ digital experiences "by harnessing world class technology delivery, data science and data architecture capabilities.”

Chad Richeson, former CEO of Society Consulting, said companies today need "a business strategy that’s built to operate in a digital world." 

"By joining EY," he said, "we can reach out to more clients, helping them to reach knowledge-based, insight-driven decisions and make the most of their troves of data to improve experiences across the board.”

Steve Watson, EY Global Performance Improvement Leader for Advisory Services, added that the Society Consulting acquisition builds off existing acquisitions and partnerships including Seren, NorthPoint Digital, Intuitive Company, Bedrock Consultants, Bluestone Consulting and C3.

"EY has developed a wide breadth of services in the digital space," Watson said.

Learning Opportunities

OpenText Partnership

Last month EY also announced an alliance with Waterloo, Ontario-based enterprise information management (EIM) provider OpenText. The deal expands EY’s digital and analytical services and addresses information management issues in connected workspaces, particularly for EY’s clients leveraging SAP software. 

Kimberly Connors, partner, Ernst & Young LLP and Canadian National IT Advisory Leader, told CMSWire many of EY's clients leverage SAP for their enterprise resource planning (ERP). OpenText’s bolt-on solutions like OpenText Vendor Invoice Management and Extended ECM for SAP Solutions can help solve information management issues, she said.

"We’re linking EIM and ERP together," Connors said. "This is where we’ll initially focus our efforts. For us, a better working world means helping clients solve big, complex industry issues and capitalize on opportunities to grow, optimize and protect their businesses. Our alliance with OpenText will help them address information management issues more effectively in a connected workspace. Leveraging the power of EIM, we’ll work with clients to optimize the efficiency of the structured data in their ERP, while leveraging their content to create exceptional customer experiences and improve strategic decision-making."

EY worked with OpenText for a few years. "It was time," Connors said, "to formalize the relationship."