Cognizant snaps up UK-based AI and Analytics specialist Inawisdom

IT Services firm Cognizant spent the last 12 months on one of its largest shopping sprees, with CEO Brian Humphries staying true to his pledge to build out capability in the firm's designated digital battlegrounds. Capping off the 2020 acquisition binge, Cognizant announced its latest purchase - UK-Based AWS consulting partner Inawisdom - bolstering Cognizant's cloud and AI talent pool, with operations in the UK and the Netherlands. 

Inawisdom’s core offerings focus on delivering cloud-native, full-stack solutions leveraging consulting methodologies and an analytics and machine learning platform built using AWS. The firm’s clients include the retailer Co-op, infrastructure group Balfour Beatty, and the Post Office.

The logic behind the acquisition is sound, business leaders are under more pressure to use AI and analytics technologies to make better decisions and improve outcomes – an area the firm specialises in. To this end, Inawisdom worked with Energy firm Drax to boost customer experience by embedding AI and Analytics technologies to understand customer habits and model how they would consume energy in the future, helping to locate exceptions that required further investigation. The firm also helped Ipswich Building Society build an anomaly detection solution to help the mortgage provider meet anti-money laundering regulations – a move which enabled the firm to focus the time of compliance staff on the highest risk accounts. 

Further, Inawisdom’s partnership with AWS ties up with Cognizant’s broader cloud ambitions – Inawisdom’s solutions are built on AWS enabling the firm to bring unique experience from working alongside one of the most common hyperscale cloud environments in the market. Which, when deployed alongside Cognizant's existing talent pool of over 8000 AWS professionals, bolsters the arsenal available to the firm as the competition in the cloud market intensifies. 

The acquisition also aligns well with another area of significant investment from Cognizant – Digital Engineering. A focus point which has seen the firm make other significant investments, including digital consultancy, Contino (also an AWS partner). Both Contino and Inawisdom power delivery with agile consulting methodologies – approaches that considerably shrink mean-time-to-value timelines on projects. As a result, placing Inawisdom alongside Contino in Cognizant’s Digital Business Group is a shrewd move, building on the group’s growing pool of skills and experience, as well as providing a suitable cultural home for Inawisdom’s highly valuable talent pool.

At a broader market level, the acquisition touches on two critical trends. First is the growing importance of Europe as an IT Services growth engine. Cognizant isn’t alone in sharpening its focus on the region, with several of its closest competitors announcing a renewed appetite for the market. Through strategic regional investments, however, Cognizant has both signalled its intentions clearly and bolstered delivery capability. And that’s without mentioning the importance of harnessing additional talent in one of the most competitive digital labour markets on the planet. Needless to say, acquiring a firm with both highly prized AI talent, and operations in core European markets is an intelligent strategic play.

Second, the firm recognised before the COVID-19 pandemic that cloud – and the high-value solutions it powers, including AI and Analytics – will play an important role in the modern business. A fact the global pandemic accelerated significantly. Building out broader cloud capabilities with other acquisitions helps to meet demand for cloud solutions, but with Inawisdom there’s a more valuable destination to aim towards. Many enterprises now find themselves well into migration projects as a result of the unique operating environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next few months, they will want to explore opportunities that help them get more from the technology - a firm that can offer solutions that complement evolving cloud strategies and align with enterprise appetite for AI will be a popular partner.

Simply put, the Cognizant leadership team were right to highlight cloud as a core digital battleground. But so too have many of their core competitors. The future, then, is one where cloud technologies are an assumed part of transformation projects, with the real differentiator the capabilities providers can deploy to glean more value for clients. This latest acquisition from Cognizant goes a long way to supporting them on meeting this next market evolution.