Last week was a momentous one for everyone here at Zone, as we announced that we have been acquired by Cognizant, one of the biggest professional services businesses in the world.
We’ve spent the past few days talking to our staff, our clients and the media. The deal received widespread coverage in the trade press – see this Drum interview with our founder, James Freedman (pictured with Vivek K Daga, head of Cognizant UK and Ireland, and Sanjiv Gossain, head of Cognizant Digital Business, Europe), and this analysis in Campaign for a good overview.
When we shared the news with our team, they were excited and intrigued. Naturally, they had lots of questions. But as I talked to people around the office after the announcement, everyone was doing the same thing: typing ‘Cognizant’ into Google, browsing the Cognizant.com website and trying to find out more about our new owners.
So who exactly are Cognizant – and why have we chosen to partner with it for the next stage in Zone’s evolution?
First up, some facts. Cognizant employs around 260,000 people globally, working from more than 100 development and delivery centres all over the world. The company is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, is a Fortune 500 business, and only last month was ranked #17 in Fortune’s Future 50 ranking of the companies best positioned for breakout growth.
So it is a business with huge scale. But as the reaction of our team showed, it doesn’t necessarily have the same brand recognition as some of its competitors.
Or, as Keith Hunt from Results International wrote in Campaign: “You might imagine it’s difficult for a huge multi-billion dollar organisation to keep a low profile, but while all eyes have been on the likes of Accenture, Deloitte Digital and IBM iX, Cognizant has been quietly building its teams in the digital marketing space.”
And that goes a long way to answering the next question – why did we choose Cognizant?
It might be big, but at heart it shares the same entrepreneurial spirit that has always been part of Zone. It has built a global business on the back of deep and long-standing client relationships built over many years – just as we have aspired to. And the more time we spent with the senior team at Cognizant, the more we liked their integrity, quiet confidence and commitment to delivering great work for clients.
So what happens next? In one sense, nothing much will change. We’ll continue to operate as Zone with the same brand, the same clients, the same people and the same offices.
But now we’ll have the backing of a global organisation with deep technical expertise in areas like artificial intelligence, IoT, big data and blockchain. We’ll be able to better serve the needs of our clients as they adapt to a constantly changing digital landscape. We’ll be able compete with the biggest agencies for the most ambitious briefs. And by creating new opportunities for clients, we’ll create new opportunities for our people.