Published: March 7th, 2017

The system integrator is expanding its reach in the Microsoft enterprise ecosystem with the purchase of global software engineering, design, and digital strategy firm Infusion.

The acquisition by Avanade, which is majority owned by Accenture LLP, comes at a time where both companies are experiencing rapid growth, with both Avanade and Infusion expected to experience 20 per cent growth this year independent of one another. With Avanade finishing the year as Microsoft’s International Partner of the Year, and Infusion following as the Canadian Partner of the Year, this is more so a case of two strong organizations coming together.

“What was really interesting and intriguing, as well as attractive, is despite the fact that we both are in the Microsoft ecosystem, in many ways, where we have strengths as individual organizations are very complementary to the other organization,” said Jeff Gilchrist, Avanada Canada’s general manager, over the phone with CDN.

For instance, one of Infusion’s primary strengths is in mobile design, with skills in additional platforms such as iOS and Android. “In Canada specifically, [those] are not a competency that we have a lot of depth in,” said Gilchrist.

For the foreseeable future, Infusion president Alim Somani and his leadership team will continue to run Infusion as it is. Integration will occur on the back-end, but Avanade does not want to interfere with the “magic” that Infusion has created, or get in the way of the growth the company is expected to see.

“Alim and his team for the [for now] will continue to operate as a sort of entity in and out of itself as part of the Avanade family,” said Gilchrist.

This doesn’t mean that the former Infusion team will work completely independently, however. As an example, Gilchrist spoke of a conversation he had with Infusion leadership about a client in Alberta that both companies have been working with to see how they could leverage that opportunity.

“We don’t want to subsume the whole organization and change the brand and the whole organization immediately. It’s a process and we have to strike the appropriate balance. We look at what the appropriate way to integrate them is. We don’t want to break the DNA and connectors between the Infusion offices. For example, the Canadian office does a lot with US clients, so if we just say okay, you’re now part of just Canada, we lose that connectivity to the US client,” said Gilchrist.

Gilchrist also called out the geographic diversity that Avanade gains with this acquisition since Avanade tends to be more West Coast-oriented while Infusion is much more Canada, specifically Toronto, and East Coast-oriented. Avanade will be absorbing Infusion’s 600 global employees from offices in New York, Raleigh, Houston, London, Poland, and Toronto.

Infusion’s office in Toronto of about 165 employees is a brand new innovation centre and digital studio that the company moved into over a year ago with the knowledge that the company would be expanding in the future. Due to the extra space allotted, the Avanade Canada team based in Toronto will be moving into the Infusion offices over the next six months.

Another example of this acquisition expanding Avanade’s reach into areas the company was previously not involved in within the Microsoft ecosystem is the HoloLens. In January, Avanade gave CDN a peek into what the company was developing with the HoloLens for the retail space, and with the Infusion addition, the Canadian team was able to see what the Infusion Canada team has been doing with the HoloLens in pharmaceuticals.

“It’s surprisingly similar to what we are doing with the retail space, so this is another example of expanding into different verticals with technology we are already working with,” said Gilchrist.

The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed at this time.

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