Cognizant Snaps Up Marketing Agency Cadient To Boost Life Sciences Business

Cognizant has made its second move in the healthcare and life sciences space with its acquisition of digital marketing agency Cadient Group for an undisclosed amount, the company said Tuesday.

The deal comes less than a month after Cognizant, No. 10 on CRN's SP500 list, said it's paying $2.7 billion for TriZetto, an Englewood, Colo.-based company that helps healthcare clients enhance administrative efficiencies and care.

The Cadient Group is a full-service marketing agency adds sales and marketing capabilities to Cognizant's extensive life sciences practice. While these types of offerings are not new to Cognizant, the agency adds two major capabilities to the solution provider's line up, Shankar Narayanan, global lead, life sciences business, said. First, it expands the brand strategy across many digital footprints and second it adds creative capabilities around campaign design.

[Related: 10 Recent Healthcare Acquisitions In The Channel]

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The overall opportunity in the $1 trillion global life sciences market is huge, Narayanan said. Cognizant's own healthcare and life sciences division is $2.5 billion and growing. The life sciences industry, in particular, is a dynamic market, Narayanan said, with factors such as the Affordable Care Act changing the way drugs are being reimbursed and new diseases driving change.

"The life sciences industry is going through a period of fairly intense change. Obviously we want to be at the forefront of those changes," Narayanan said.

Branding is particularly important in the life sciences space, Narayanan said, as the brand is the "core" of any life sciences company. The companies are now actively looking to transition from more traditional branding techniques to tackle web, mobile and social mediums. However, branding in the life sciences space is tricky, Narayanan said, as there are strict regulations around branding and strategies. The Cadient Group already had experience in that area, he said, and will bring a lot to the portfolio.

"Together I think what we're able to do is go to the client with an end to end solution and straddle technology execution and analytics and really provide that end to end experience with the brand markets," Narayanan said.

There are applications for the Cadient Group acquisition beyond branding solutions for the life sciences division, Narayanan said. He said the acquisition gives Cognizant the opportunity to go broader with the use of digital technologies across other areas of life sciences such as research and development, medical affairs and more.

"I think there's definitely an opportunity to ride the digital wave, if you will, into R&D, into medical affairs, into manufacturing and supply chain, and all of the critical functions that are core to the life sciences organizations. I think that's something that we're betting on here," Narayanan said.

As a whole, the acquisition signifies another step by Cognizant to "stretch beyond to other stakeholders" and "bridge the gap between business and IT," Narayanan said. With the acquisition of a digital marketing agency, Cognizant can better approach CMOs and other executives outside of IT with their solutions, he said.

"That is definitely a conscious decision we're making across the board. I think, especially as you look at the whole [social, mobile, analytics, cloud] stack ... [it's] becoming more pervasive in offering across the whole IT architecture of a company. I think what we're finding is the level of interest and engagement is increasing among the business leaders and communities in terms of how they can use those technologies to drive forward their business," Narayanan said.

As Cognizant continues to expand its life sciences and healthcare business, Narayanan said that it was hard to pinpoint any one area that would be the next target for expansion. However, he said that the company will continue to focus on the vertical as it continues to build out its portfolio of talent, solutions and vendor offerings.

"We continue to look for specific areas to complement the well-known IT solutions that are already out there," he said.