Digital consultancy Seren acquired by Ernst & Young LLP
Seren CEO Ben Langdon becomes chief executive of EY-Seren
Silicon Roundabout-based digital consultancy Seren has been acquired by Ernst & Young LLP (EY) in a deal which marks the Big Four accountancy firm’s concerted effort to provide clients with additional professional services.
Seren is an international customer experience and digital design consultancy that works with companies in the telecoms and financial services sector to “achieve digital business transformation through a customer-centered approach”.
The deal will see the company’s 60 employees remain at the current premises, with Seren’s CEO becoming chief executive of EY-Seren and co-founders Catriona Campbell and Terry Heath continuing as senior advisors to EY in the UK and the EY-Seren team.
EY-Seren will begin the development of its operations in the Middle East, building on the foundations that the two companies had previously developed in digital strategy and customer experience across the region.
The deal marks part of EY’s plans to grow its global strategy consulting services to more than 2,500 professionals by 2020 following similar acquisitions in North America and Australia.
As the companies’ combined report The Way We Bank Now found, a customer-centric, digital strategy is the key to gaining and retaining customers. It pointed to the quality of customer experience offered by banks becoming the main source of competitive differentiation, as consumers become increasingly expectant of instant, 24/7 digital experiences.
Additionally, with strong competition from financial technology start-ups and consumers more readily switching services as they seek to increase control over their personal finances, traditional banks will have to “become more cross-functional” to remain relevant in the contemporary market.
Langdon commented: “Seren and EY have been working together for the last year on a number of shared client projects. The success we have achieved as a combined team prompted both companies to consider how we can work together more closely and we’re really pleased to be joining forces formally.
“We’ve spent the last 14 years developing market-leading design for customer service; joining EY will give us the opportunity to apply our collective skills to a broad range of blue-chip clients around the world.”
Steve Varley, EY’s UK chairman, said: “This acquisition is a flagship transaction for EY in the UK. We’re already achieving considerable organic growth in the UK advisory business – it grew 15% last year – but we are also committed to looking for opportunities for inorganic growth, especially when we find firms with cutting-edge innovation and a really strong talent pool like Seren.
“London, and the wider UK, is fast becoming a global leader in technology and digital innovation. The acquisition of Seren brings together EY’s world-class brand and global reach with Seren’s leading digital consulting capabilities and innovation. I’m really excited about what we can achieve together.”