The acquisition comes at a time when all the top consulting firms including the big four and the top four strategic firms are racing to integrate more of artificial intelligence and machine learning in their product offering—from consulting to auditing.
Spotmentor is an end-to-end skilling platform to help businesses identify skills required for the future of work, up skilling and reskilling talent and EY hopes to strengthen its people advisory portfolio of digital services through the acquisition.
Industry trackers say that the consulting firms are competing in an environment where artificial intelligence is becoming crucial to the way they offer services to their clients.
Increasingly the big four firms—EY, PwC, Deloitte and KPMG—have been attempting to get into management consulting and advisory work that is dominated by firms like McKinsey, BCG, Bain Consulting and AT Kearney.
“The acquisition of Spotmentor Technologies will boost our digital offerings, combining our strengths in strategic people consulting and seasoned experience in learning and skills development, now delivered to clients through an intelligent technology platform,” Rohan Sachdev, Partner and Consulting Leader, EY India told ET. The firm did not disclose the deal value.
Spotmentor Technologies, founded by Deepak Singh, Arpit Goyal, Shekhar Suman and Yash Pl Mittal in 2016 in Gurugram. The company has been focussing on large enterprises, government and industry bodies, helping them identify required skill and competency gaps through hyper-personalized learning and reskilling plans.
“EY Spotmentor”, the firm said, is the software-as-a-service based skills, learning and careers platform that can be deployed across an organization’s value chain.
Industry experts say that increasingly the firms have been on a lookout of startups that could speed them up with the growth trajectory.
Over the past year, EY was working with Spotmentor Technologies team to equip their clients with the right skillsets and they have benefitted immensely from this association. “This new technology solution further strengthens our People Advisory portfolio of digital services, enabling us to effectively harness our client’s people agenda as part of an integrated business strategy,” said Anurag Malik, Partner, People Advisory Services, EY India.
The acquisition also comes at a time when the consulting firms are struggling to keep their costs under control amidst Covid pandemic and pressure on their top lines. For most of the professional services firms till about 2015 the calculation was simple, add people to add revenue. However, after 2015, the firms in India have realised that they are unable to increase the revenues in a high percentage even while they keep adding people.
Most firms have now been investing in digital side of the business. “If the process is templatised, artificial intelligence can do it,” a senior partner with one of the firms said. Most firms have been running pilot projects to use more of machine learning in their tax work, which is largely based on pre set template—except the high margin tax advisory work where these firms face stiff competition from niche players.
Even in the auditing business the firms have been depending heavily on digital technology to verify millions of entries rather than basing their opinion on a handful of samples.