Accenture and the future of consulting

AdAge reported last week that Accenture is buying Fjord a leading design agency. They concluded that Advertising Agencies should be worried.

I don’t think so. Not just yet.

But I think Accenture’s consulting competition should be terrified.

I don’t see this as Accenture just moving into the space of advertising. Instead I see it more as Accenture injecting itself with a shot of IDEO, mainlining Razorfish and doping with FROG. What Accenture is doing is something much more fundamental then adding some design skills. It is defining a new type of consulting business.

The consultancy and system integration skills are still there, but it now strengthens its design and innovation muscles, takes a big step away from from the pure technology consultancies and system integrators and starts to make life very difficult for its competition. This isn’t simply expansion of skills – but vertical integration and the design of a new value proposition.

Anything involving design is notoriously challenging to manage, and balancing the innovative culture of Fjord with the execution focus of Accenture will never be simple, but if does manage this, then the consulting world is going to start looking very different. This should just worry the technology and business consultancies, but also the design companies who also now face a massive potential global competitor.

The good news for the best design companies is that you are likely to start getting into some interesting partnership conversations in the coming weeks and months. Personally I’d be talking to Engine Service Design … service design is an area that is in its infancy, has massive potential and these boys are some of the best.

Accenture are the first to bite the design cherry, they certainly won’t be the last.



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