SAN FRANCISCO — If you thought EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) was just an accounting firm, think again.
The company widely known as one of the “big four” accounting firms has aggressively pushed itself to go beyond just tax and auditing, becoming a digital consulting service powerhouse in recent years.
Now the company boasts an array of digital consulting services from cybersecurity and manufacturing to data analytics.
“Part of our strategy is helping our customers get that holistic view of the whole system digitally,” Scott Dixon, EY executive director of digital supply chain and operations practice, told Business Insider.
To illustrate his point, Dixon demonstrated a new software called the Manufacturing Energy Management Solution (MEMS), which tracks all energy and water consumption in real-time to give manufacturers a full view of energy usage across different sites. It’s aimed at helping companies reduce costs while preventing waste from being generated inside a manufacturing facility. He talked about the software, which came out of its alliance with GE earlier this year, at GE’s Minds + Machine conference in San Francisco this week.
“We’re trying to understand how do we take new emerging technologies and apply it to our customers to help them meet their businesses goals,” Dixon said.
$100 billion market opportunity
EY’s move into the digital consulting space started about a decade ago, and now represents nearly half of the company’s business, according to Jeff Liu, EY’s global sector head of Transaction Advisory Services. The business includes everything from consulting to software development, and spans every industry from the oil and gas to aviation sectors.
These efforts have opened up a huge new market opportunity that could be worth as much as $100 billion, according to IDC’s global research director Michael Versace.
“To capture a bigger piece of the almost $100 billion cross-industry digital consulting opportunity, EY is growing an ever-evolving global ecosystem of consultants, external experts, and alliance partners,” Versace wrote in a recent report.
As part of this plan, EY has made 26 acquisitions and signed 7 new partnership agreements in this year alone. The acquisitions covered a number of different areas, such as cognitive engineering, consumer web design, and app development. EY also plans to hire over 2,500 people in its global consulting service by 2020.
All this is starting to gain the recognition of the industry as well. IDC MarketScape named EY as a “worldwide leader” in the digital strategy consulting services space last year.
“Among buyers of digital enterprise strategy consulting, EY is regarded as among the most capable of all firms at helping clients evolve to include better use of digital capabilities in improving the customer experience,” Cushing Anderson, Vice President of IDC’s Business Consulting Services, said in a statement.