Business process outsourcing (BPO), IT services, and customer support provider Sykes Enterprises (NASDAQ: SYKE) has agreed to pay roughly $69 million to fully acquire Symphony Ventures Limited, a London-based robotic process automation (RPA) implementation and consulting specialist.
The acquisition will help the Tampa-based firm streamline its customer interaction and other processes while expanding its digital offerings to clients looking to implement RPA, a tech tool often referred to as “intelligent automation” in industry parlance.
“The world of intelligent automation systems is approaching a tipping point,” said Chuck Sykes, president and CEO of Sykes.
The £52 million cash deal (with a pound-to-dollar exchange rate of £1-to-$1.32) will give Sykes 100% ownership of Symphony and “is expected to be funded through a combination of cash on hand and the company’s credit facility,” said Sykes in a statement. The company added the it expects the transaction to close by November 1.
Symphony has been continuing to expand its footprint over the past year in a push to become an industry leader in terms of helping companies take advantage of an RPA technology that has been increasingly gaining attention in a whole host of industries.
In a series of fast-paced moves that followed its fundraising of $4.5 million in a series A round in August 2017, Symphony opened offices in Argentina, India, and Dallas in addition to acquiring Mexican consultancy RPA4Excellence. This year, it also established a “robotic operations center” in Poland and its “Symphony Labs” innovation center in London.
Symphony’s main capability lies in helping firms implement the different RPA solutions offered by the likes of UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, Kryon Systems, and Thoughtonomy.
The various RPA solutions sold by these firms all effectively act as “bot” software and can be programmed to operate a computer as a “digital worker,” processing tasks in much the same way that an employee would — just much faster and working 24/7 with 100% accuracy.
The technology is receiving so much interest of late due to its ability to quickly show a return on investment and cut out a lot of busy work. But there generally remains a lack of expertise within most organizations to bring bots from the pilot stage to wider usage throughout the enterprise.
Companies like Symphony have sought to fill this market, which is also served by the big professional services consulting firms such as Deloitte, PwC, and EY.
“The acquisition of Symphony is another significant step in building our company’s capabilities,” said Chuck Sykes.
He added that “combining the power of RPA with human ingenuity enables us to help our clients modernize, optimize, and integrate key components of their digital operations to significantly improve their business.”
Symphony has gotten out to a quick head start compared to others in the field and already entered into implementation partnerships with most of the large RPA providers, including recent expansions of its relationship with both UiPath and Automation Anywhere.
“By joining the Sykes family, Symphony will be able to realize the next chapter of our vision to orchestrate the world’s work and drive value for our clients and employees,” said David Poole, chief executive officer of Symphony Ventures Limited.
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