Aperto’s 300-plus employees will continue to serve its roster of clients, which currently includes companies such as Airbus Group, Volkswagen and Siemens.
“IBM iX is a global market leader in experience design, which is emerging as an essential element in all business strategy,” said Paul Papas, global leader of IBM Interactive Experience, in a statement. “We’re honored to be joining forces with Aperto and look forward to reshaping the future of business and digital innovation with our clients in Germany and beyond.”
According to Advertising Age, IBM iX is the largest global digital agency, providing clients with a fusion of services spanning strategy, analytics and systems integration for digital, commerce, mobile and wearable platforms—including consumer apps for the Apple Watch. Its consultants co-create solutions for clients, including Nationwide, Jaguar’s Land Rover, Citi and Wimbledon, in its 25 global IBM Studios.
“We pride ourselves on remaining at the forefront of the digital revolution,” said Dirk Buddensiek, CEO of Aperto, in a statement. “After 20 years in the industry, we’re proud to join forces with IBM iX, the largest global digital agency, to continue doing just that. Between the talent sitting within the iX team, and IBM’s transformative work in the cognitive space, as well as leadership in cloud, mobile and analytics, this opportunity will open many doors for both our team and clients.”
IBM has identified a critical and growing need for digital, strategy and design skills at the edge of business strategy. Demand for experience design is expected to accelerate as clients in all industries seek to deliver more consumerlike experiences to their customers and employees, and integrate the power of cognitive computing and analytics platforms, IBM said.
A blog post penned by Aperto’s Buddensiek and Matt Candy, vice president and European leader of IBM iX, said both companies have “passionate employees who use strategy, creativity and technology to transform clients’ businesses and craft amazing experiences grounded in deep empathy for the end user.”
Yet, each company brings something unique to the table, the post added. “Aperto has distinctive features and strengths that will help IBM iX grow in Germany, the DACH [Germany, Austria, Switzerland] region and throughout Europe,” the post said. “While Aperto will continue to be led and run by the founders of the company—who for over 20 years have gained the long-term respect and appreciation of their clients and the industry—it will have access to expanded strategic, analytic, technology and innovation talent from IBM iX. … When the right opportunity presents itself, we will combine teams.”
This is IBM’s second creative and digital agency acquisition in a matter of days. It follows last Thursday’s announcement of IBM’s intent to acquire U.S.-based agency Resource/Ammirati and demonstrates continued investment in Germany. In December 2015, IBM launched its global headquarters for the Watson Internet of Things (IoT) unit in Munich.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016. Financial details were not disclosed.
In other IBM news, IBM also today announced InspireOne Technologies and TEXTIENT as the first two India-based partners to join the IBM Watson Ecosystem. The companies will begin developing cognitive computing solutions in the region.
The announcement comes out of the IBM Watson India Summit in Bangalore, which focused on how cognitive systems are transforming businesses and customer outcomes, and ways in which India is well-positioned to usher in this next wave of technology innovation. According to a Gartner report from November, India has the fastest growing IT market in the world—IT spending in India is forecast to reach $71 billion in 2016 and grow to $85.28 billion by the end of 2019.
IBM Buys Aperto, Takes Watson to India
InspireOne Technologies is using IBM Watson cognitive APIs in its professional development app to empower employees to develop their leadership skills, and TEXTIENT is a marketing insights platform tapping Watson to develop real-time brand perception reports.
“The creativity and passion of Indian businesses to introduce cognitive-infused apps to the market is overwhelming, and the region is poised for incredible growth,” said Stephen Gold, vice president for IBM Watson, said in a statement. “As the first Indian partners to join the Watson Ecosystem, InspireOne Technologies and TEXTIENT are excellent examples of how cognitive technology will help transform the region and the world.”
InspireOne and TEXTIENT are already making strides in bringing their powered by Watson solutions to market in India. Based in Haryana, India, InspireOne is embedding Watson in its Supernova application to empower employees to develop their leadership capabilities. Supernova uses Watson’s Sentiment Analysis and Natural Language Classifier APIs to analyze corporate emails, enabling Supernova to deliver evidence-based insights so managers can refine their own leadership capabilities and areas for development.
Supernova can capture and quantify to what extent an employee applies leadership competencies such as collaboration or strategic thinking and also explain how to further develop such skills. For example, an employee who does not demonstrate collaboration frequently might get specific pointers, such as asking more questions from team members during interactions. HDFC Life, a large insurance company in India, has been using InspireOne’s Supernova solution powered by Watson.
According to Rajendra Ghag, senior executive vice president and chief human resource officer at HDFC Life, “We used InspireOne’s Supernova solution as a post program follow up and online coaching application across our executive talent pool. The new development in Supernova, powered by IBM Watson, will generate enormous value for organizations looking to sustain their growth and invest in developing leaders. Not only do leaders get insights on how they applied behaviors that are essential for high performance, but they also get insights on their sentiments expressed, which is a huge plus point for any leader to fully assess the impact he or she can make in the workplace.”
TEXTIENT, based in Chennai, India, is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for brand, marketing and customer insights. It enables marketers to quickly gain strategic and actionable insights from social media posts about the impact of a marketing action or the competitive differentiation of their brand.
TEXTIENT uses Watson’s Personality Insights API along with sentiment analysis, entity extraction and concept extraction to automatically generate a comprehensive Brand-Essence Report in a matter of minutes. The report reflects dimensions influencing a brand’s strength and equity such as dominant brand personalities, emotional and sensory brand experiences, customer engagement and brand credibility. The intent is to supplement traditional market research, such as focus groups or surveys, with a cognitive solution that allows marketers to gain strategic and actionable insights in real time that can help them act faster and maintain a competitive edge.
Meanwhile, to tap into the momentum sparked by InspireOne and TEXTIENT, IBM is working with dozens of startups and businesses across India to begin embedding Watson in their businesses across many industries. IBM also expanded within the Indian health sector late last year by announcing Manipal Hospital in Bangalore as the first client in India to deploy Watson.
The Watson ecosystem now represents more than 500 ecosystem partners across 17 industries and disciplines, more than 100 of which have already introduced commercial cognitive-enabled apps, products and services to the market. These partners join the more than 80,000 developers globally who are tapping into APIs via the IBM Watson Developer Cloud on Bluemix to pilot, test and deploy new business ideas.