Fujitsu has acquired the Australian operations of Atos Origin in a bid to strengthen its business application and IT outsourcing services offering.
The acquisition follows six months of deliberation on whether to pursue an organic or inorganic strategy to strengthen the company's ERP implementation, maintenance, support and hosting capabilities.
"Fujitsu has been trying to project an image as an end-to-end provider for consulting, application, infrastructure and lifecycle services and the opportunities were outpacing our ability to bring on and train people," the company's Australian chief executive officer, Rod Vawdrey, said. "Atos also wanted to focus on its European market, so it was a very good opportunity to acquire a strong customer base, an award-winning SAP implementation shop and to fast track our capabilities in that area."
As a result of the buy, Fujitsu would also pick up extra business from the French information technology services company.
"Atos has been very successful in the past few months, gaining six or seven new customers that happen to complement our industry focus and give us additional depth to cross-sell," Vawdrey said.
"We also formed an alliance with Atos, so if they have any European-based clients with subsidiaries here, we will support them."
According to Vawdrey, the decision to strengthen its offering was a product of strong demand from the marketplace.
"Several years ago there was a theory in the market that consultants had to be independent," he said. "Then you saw IBM acquire PwC, and EDS acquire A T Kearney, and customers realised that there really is no such thing as independence.
"Now customers want the people giving the advice to stand behind it and participate in the implementation, and that makes perfect sense."
With the acquisition, Fujitsu would also be able to better compete against IBM, EDS and Accenture through Atos' state-of-the art data centre, Vawdrey said.
A common business culture was also a major plus, he added.
"When you buy a services company you are primarily buying knowledge and the intellectual property of the people, so their retention and the cultural fit is very important," he said. "European and Japanese IT services companies, like Fujitsu, are culturally a better fit in the sense that they are looking at growing with their customers, whereas in the US, they are focused on their business unit."
Fujitsu would watch for future acquisition opportunities based on a strategic fit rather than consolidation or revenue gain, he said.