Sopra Steria launches Next Consulting

Sopra Steria, the ninth largest IT services provider in Europe, has launched a new consulting wing under the “Next” brand.

The move is designed to give greater visibility to the vendor’s existing consulting capabilities, at a time when business stakeholders are increasingly prominent in leading digital transformation programmes. Domain experts are also becoming crucial to spearheading opportunities at new and existing accounts and in helping to shape their prospects’ strategies and roadmaps as traditional sourcing models are increasingly by-passed in many sectors.

SopraSteria Next brings together an army of 3,400 consultants across Europe, including 1,900 in the group’s native France. The company has successfully filled out its consulting ranks through aggressive recruitment in the last three years (including some individuals we know very well indeed!), but can also draw upon the capability gained through consulting-centric acquisitions such as German trio IT-Economics, Bluecarat and – going a bit further back – Mummert + Partner.

SopraSteria has not followed the path of Capgemini or Accenture in acquiring out-and-out design agencies to target the consulting opportunity around customer experience modernisation. But it has strong platforms of consulting expertise on which to build in industry sectors such as financial services, evident in its current role on transformational projects at clients including Germany’s Sparda Banking Group and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.

Helping clients to build on their early initiatives in areas such as agile development and process automation, from the edge of the business into the heart of the organisation, presents a big opportunity for vendors that can combine vertical and technical expertise with delivery at scale.  The Next division’s top executive Jean-Claude Lamoureux also highlighted the area of digital ethics as an important focus area, and it will certainly rise in prominence as businesses start to ramp up their initiatives in artificial intelligence. 

The creation of Next will help to shine a light on some of SopraSteria’s often hidden expertise, and it will be interesting to see if it can develop into a new growth engine for the group.