Cognizant to beef up digital practice with acquisition of Zone

Continuing the trend of IT outsourcing companies topping up their digital practice with targeted acquisitions, Cognizant said it agreed to acquire Zone, a digital agency specializing in customer experience, digital strategy, technology and content creation.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to satisfaction of certain closing conditions, it said.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Established in 2000, Zone is headquartered in London.

The company’s clients include adidas, Aviva, Barratt Homes, Deutsche Telekom, Maersk, Marks & Spencer, and Unilever.

“Zone’s capabilities in application development, user experience and content strategy will enhance Cognizant’s established digital interactive expertise in experience design, human science-driven insights, and analytics,” Cognizant said.

With Zone, Cognizant will expand its capacity for delivering digital interactive solutions to a broader base of C-suite decision-makers throughout the UK and Europe, it added.

Cognizant’s competitors like Infosys and Wipro too have been making acquisitions of design and digital experience companies.

Earlier this month, Wipro said it will acquire Cooper, a company that provides User Experience (UX), for an undisclosed sum, a move that could strengthen its capabilities in this emerging segment.

Cooper would add capabilities in professional design education, as its customer increasingly look at design as a differentiator for their products or services, it added.

In August, Infosys said it will acquire Brilliant Basics, a London-based product design and customer experience (CX) company, for an undisclosed sum. Brilliant Basics provides an ad agency-like digital service to companies such as BNP Paribas, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

Cognizant said Zone’s 220-plus experts will become part of the Cognizant Digital Business practice.

Zone will retain its offices in London and Bristol, as well as in Cologne, Germany, it added.

“Effective digital strategy and implementation is mission critical for business today. We are seeing unprecedented demand for digital expertise from clients across every industry and every market. By joining Cognizant, we can significantly enhance the depth and breadth of our offering to better serve the needs of both existing and future clients in the UK and beyond,” said James Freedman, Founder and Executive Chairman, Zone.

Outsourcing companies are seeing a drastic decline in their traditional areas of business — such as deploying, customizing and maintaining enterprise software — and are engaged in repositioning themselves as providers of digital services such as design, social media and analytics.

Cognizant has announced that it would have to layoff some of its legacy employees as it makes the transition.

“The digital economy is all about content and context — the right content, to the right person, at the right time, via the right channel — to create meaningful experiences,” said Santosh Thomas, President, Global Growth Markets, Cognizant.

“CMOs and CIOs everywhere see how technology is increasingly central to their marketing efforts, and they are seeking a partner who can help them innovate and transform, using digital technologies to evolve their brands, foster customer loyalties and drive growth. Combining Zone with Cognizant strengthens our end-to-end capabilities and provides more localized access for clients in the UK and across Europe. This acquisition will be another powerful step forward as we grow our capabilities in the digital interactive space. We look forward to welcoming Zone’s digital specialists and their expertise to our team.”