Deloitte to acquire Belfast tech firm to expand AI and data practice

9 Feb 2022

From left: Etain director Martin Goss, Deloitte lead consulting partner in Northern Ireland Danny McConnell, and Etain director Peter Shields. Image: Deloitte

Deloitte said the deal with Belfast-based Etain will create Northern Ireland’s largest AI and data practice.

Deloitte has announced plans to acquire Belfast-based data and digital transformation specialist Etain.

The consultancy firm said it has entered an agreement with Etain, in a move that will double the size of Deloitte’s AI and data presence in Belfast and create Northern Ireland’s largest AI and data practice when completed.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 1999, Etain – formerly known as EG Information Consulting – has around 70 employees who deliver data and digital applications, along with bespoke software for clients.

The business has completed more than 400 digital transformation projects for a wide range of organisations in both the private and public sectors. The acquisition will lead to the Etain team joining Deloitte’s consulting practice.

“Since launching Etain more than two decades ago, the number of organisations turning to us to create bespoke solutions to solve their most pressing challenges has continued to grow,” Etain director Peter Shields said.

“Working as part of Deloitte will allow us to grow the scale of the projects that we undertake, bolstering our team’s skills in building intricate software solutions with rich data expertise and an extensive global network.”

Deloitte said it has been growing its technology-focused hubs across the UK to meet a growing demand for digital support. It added that its Belfast hub is playing a leading role in the development of AI, data solutions and analytics in the UK.

“Doubling the size of Deloitte’s AI and data solutions practice in Belfast by adding Etain’s deep technical expertise will allow us to grow the scale and sophistication of the projects that we deliver,” said Jackie Henry, senior partner at Deloitte Northern Ireland.

“Ultimately, this will equip UK organisations with unrivalled expertise in AI and data, sparking new innovation and bolstering business resilience within fiercely competitive global market conditions.”

Deloitte said its Belfast practice employs more than 1,000 people overall across two offices in the city centre. The company has plans to open a new office in the Linen Quarter of the city in spring of next year.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic