IBM is picking up the pace of its acquisitions of Digital Agencies, with its intent to acquire three different digital agencies to bolster its IBM Interactive Experience arm during 2016.
IBM Interactive Experience describes itself as a company that "thinks bigger than an agency and more creatively than a consultancy". If you visit the IBM Interactive Experience website, you will be greeted with a high level of "design \ sales speak", but essentially, they deal with a broad range of digital and commerce products, to include website creation, branding.
IBM describe themselves as innovators, and it is evident from the examples of work they do (web design, commerce, apps for wearables such as the Apple Watch) that they cater to the more complex, large scale projects. Indeed, the size and scale of their Company demonstrate this. IBM currently has over 1,000 designers working with strategists, developers and consultants to combine all aspects of design and technology for their clients.
IBM Interactive Experience's expansion comes as they have identified a growing need for "digital, strategy and design skills," as businesses seek to deliver more sophisticated consumer-like experiences to their customers and staff. This is especially so, as companies strive to integrate future cognitive computing and analytics platforms.
Looking at the three different acquisitions:
Announced on the 28th January 2016, Resource/Ammirati would be IBM's first acquisition of a digital marketing agency. This acquisition, which is projected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016. Resource/Ammirati, unlike the two other acquisitions, is based in Columbus, Ohio in the US.
Paul Papas, Global Leader at IBM Interactive Experience commented:
Resource/AAmmiratihas built its own stellar brand and reputation on a long, distinguished record of advancing leading brands in every industry. hat portfolio of work and proven expertise is a perfect complement to the experience design capabilities of iX — where we bring clients a distinct fusion of industry insight, design thinking and end-to-end digital transformation, from the experience of the individual to the core processes of the client's enterprise.
Resource/Ammirati was first founded in 1981, with Apple being its first client and has over the years been responsible for some high-profile campaigns such as the infamous "breaking the internet" in 1999 with the Victoria's Secret Webcast Fashion Show during the Super Bowl, among many others. Other clients include Adobe, Coca-Cola, Nintendo and Microsoft.
Resource/Ammirati Founder and Chairman Nancy Kramer commented:
We see in IBM iX a reflection of Resource/AAmmiratis own mission to use creativity, technology and collaboration to make anything possible for our clients. Our associates and clients will all benefit from IBM’s global reach and resources, including access to additional strategic, design and development talent as well as powerful analytics and technology expertise in cloud, mobile development and systems integration. Additionally, IBM’s legacy of progressive, associate-centric practices is a perfect match for our company’s culture.
Announced on the 2nd February 2016, IBM announced that they have now signed an agreement to acquire Aperto, a digital agency headquartered in Berlin, Germany. Aperto will continue to serve its existing high profile clients which include Airbus Group, Volkswagen, and Siemens. Aperto currently has over 300 employees.
Dirk Buddensiek, CEO of Aperto, commented:
We pride ourselves on remaining at the forefront of the digital revolution. After 20 years in the industry, we’re proud to join forces with IBM iX, the largest global digital agency, to continue doing just that. Between the talent sitting within the iX team, and IBM’s transformative work in the cognitive space, as well as leadership in cloud, mobile and analytics, this opportunity will open many doors for both our team and clients.
The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2016. This is the second acquisition in Germany, hot on the heels of the launch of its Global headquarters for the Watson Internet of Things Unit in Munich last December.
Announced on the 3rd February 2016, this is IBM's third acquisition that will bring up to 200 employees specifically to IBM iX. Exx.io's particular expertise is with Adobe, Sitecore, and SAP Hybris, and is one of the few specialized companies that can implement services across all three.
Paul Papas, Global Leaser for IBM iX stated:
The customer experience has become a new priority in modern business strategy ... Together with exc.io’s distinct expertise, we’re raising the bar for experience-led, digital marketing and commerce.
Christoph Mause, CCO, and co-founder, ecx.io commented:
For the last 20 years, we’ve fostered an open, agile and collaborative culture with a dedication to quality and innovation. Joining forces with IBM iX will provide us with a global network of talent with expertise in strategy, analytics, cognitive computing and innovation that will not only compliment our services offerings, but allow them to become more personalized. Together with iX, we will continue to provide clients with superior services and platforms for exceptional customer engagement and experiences.
800 new designers added
Between the three acquisitions, IBM will add around 800 new designers to an existing 1,100 specialists, almost doubling the design expertise at the company. It is unclear at this stage whether more acquisitions are in the pipeline but we wouldn't be surprised if more announcements are made shortly.