Last week, PWC announced the acquisition of Booz & Co as part of an ambitious expansion back into consulting businesses. For both PWC and Booz & Co., the transaction makes a lot of sense. PWC will gain access to expertise (e.g., strategy formulation, vertical domain, organizational studies, innovation) allowing speed to market as the firm bulks up its management consulting presence. For Booz & Co., the firm will find stability after separation from Booz, Allen & Hamilton, safety with a bigger organization and perhaps improved ability to compete against fewer, bigger, stronger consulting brands.
The past 2 decades have been rather confusing times with shifts in ownership and divestitures for both PWC Consulting and Booz & Co. The result is a PWC with unrealized ambitions for the consulting industry and a Booz&Co with a confusing position in the marketplace.
- PWC: In the wake of Sarbanes Oxley compliance, PWC Consulting was sold to IBM consulting; shortly thereafter, PWC decides to bulk back up on consulting services.
- Booz&Co: BoozAllen & Hamilton goes public then private in the 1970s; subsequently it operates as a consulting firm and system integrator – but only the latter for government agencies; after 2 decades, the company splits in two pushing the management consulting business off on it’s own, operating as Booz& Co.
Combining Booz&Co. history and culture with PWC will be challenging; over time, I suspect much of Booz’s venerable history and culture will become hard to identify. At a minimum, perhaps PWC will retain some of the strategic insights developed by Booz, including my favorite pieces — Industry Perspectives, Global Innovation, Global Technology Report.