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IT services advisory and research firm ISG has acquired competitor Alsbridge in a sign of the growing demand for robotic process automation services.
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The IT outsourcing industry is being transformed by technologies such as automation and cloud computing, and advisory firms and suppliers in the sector are investing in the skills they need, with ISG’s acquisition of Alsbridge a prime example.
The $74m deal gives ISG more capabilities in the growing robotic automation sector, on which Alsbridge has focused since reinventing itself in 2015.
In March 2015, Alsbridge launched an outsourcing advisory business in the UK after years of operating a franchise model. It has since developed a global focus on companies looking to outsource, implement robotic process automation and harness data analytics in the cloud.
A month later, it acquired boutique sourcing company Source to gain more robotic automation expertise.
The ISG-Alsbridge joint company will have 1,300 research and sourcing advisers globally.
ISG CEO Michael Connors said the merger gives it a stronger market position and a broader, more valuable portfolio of automation and digital services, market intelligence and advisory capabilities.
Vivek Daga, UK head at IT services giant Cognizant, said Alsbridge’s robotic process automation capabilities were a likely driving factor in the deal.
He said businesses in the IT services sector, including suppliers such as Cognizant, needed a broad range of expertise as digital transformation required the bringing together of “best-of-breed services”.
Automation is already embedded in infrastructure, applications and operations, and “now there is a lot of buzz around robotic process automation”, said Daga. Businesses need good advice in this area because it is not always obvious which processes to automate, he added.