This week Accenture quietly announced its acquisition of Australian predictive analytics service vendor ChangeTrack Research Pty Ltd, for an undisclosed amount.
The company offers a methodology and tool—called ChangeTracking—which helps organisations monitor, measure and optimise large scale change management programs, for example where an organisation is undergoing M&A activity, a company-wide ERP or CRM program, or a restructuring exercise. Initiatives of this nature tend to involve managing a complex array of factors and dimensions, including people, technology and processes that need to be continuously aligned and managed; so it’s no surprise that projects often go off track and don’t deliver the business outcome expected. ChangeTrack’s technology aims to address this challenge by providing more rigour and discipline to the measurement process surrounding a program, so managers can pick up on early warn signs and identify where action is needed while change is actually taking place, rather than doing this after the fact (as is often the case).
The notion underlying the offering is that change is not a random set of events, but is in fact a series of very predictable paths that an organisation can take depending on what decisions are made. At the heart of the ChangeTracking tool is a database comprising responses collected from over 600,000 people across more than 300 change programs—both those that have been successful and others less so. Using the insight and knowledge accumulated over the years, and by capturing survey-based performance information from the client, the tool is able to statistically analyse data—using its patented mathematical algorithms—and identify patterns and critical success factors to highlight what is normal and not normal in different types of change programs at different stages. This then forms the basis of an action plan used to help put a program back on track.
ChangeTrack’s methodology and offering has attracted a pretty impressive client list too, including BP, Nike, 3M, LloydsTSB, and Shell. Similarly it has worked with a number of large global consulting firms, including Accenture, with whom it worked as part of product development to help the company understand how consultants plan and implement change in their client organisations. Having a productive working relationship has obviously been an influential factor in Accenture’s decision to acquire the company. The consulting firm is expected to use its new purchase to complement its own set of methods, tools and capabilities for measuring and managing change programs. Longer term, however, we can also envisage the tool and its predictive analytics capabilities being used across a wider range of industries and geographies. The other benefit of being own by one of the largest global consulting firms is that the more clients that use the tool, the more data can be collected and analysed, and the better the tool can get at identifying issues and recommending corrective action—so all in all we see this as a good thing for ChangeTracker and its customers and prospects.