Accenture buys Philly's IBB, helped Comcast, Verizon go digital

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IBB Consulting is located in 8 Penn Center on John F. Kennedy Boulevard in Center City.

Accenture, the $33 billion (yearly sales) management and technology consultant, says it has agreed to acquire IBB, the 160-person “deep strategy” Philadelphia firm that, since its 2001 founding, has helped counsel Comcast, Verizon, and their rivals on how to cope with and exploit the new digital media technologies. The partners won’t disclose terms of the deal.

“We are extremely pleased to have them on board,” Greg Douglass, senior managing director for communications, media, and technology at Accenture Strategy, told me in an interview. He said IBB’s founding team, including Imran Shah, a Columbia Ph.D. engineer, and Afzaal Ahktar, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant, helped clients learn to “use the new digital technology and services” — from digital video and internet protocol TV to the “internet of Things.”

For cable, wireless, and phone companies, IBB championed “the use of mobile applications to deliver services to clients, the use of ‘over-the-top’ (mobile and laptop) video services, the use of new networks, new IT systems, new means of storing large amounts of data, the idea of being able to watch video anytime, anyplace, any device,” Douglass added.

Accenture plans to use the IBB team to enhance its digital strategies to help companies “rotate to The New,” as the company calls the digital-first approach to media and communications. “They work with all the major tier one cable, wireless, and core telco providers.” The IBB group “will be a key part of our go-forward business” and will remain in Philadelphia, with satellite offices across the U.S. and Australia, Douglass said.