Consulting Powerhouse McKinsey has purchased QuantumBlack, a consulting firm that helps crunch the petabytes of data behind Formula One racing and other clients in an effort to help companies get their own edge when it comes to making real-time data speak. QuantumBlack, based in London, will keep its management team, and will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of McKinsey.
The deal is one of several acquisitions that the consulting company has made this year as it attempts to build the firm for an anticipated shift in how companies do business. These include acquisitions of design firm LUNAR, aerospace and defense analysis firm VisualDoD, and retail analytics firm 4tree. So what is going on?
McKinsey has anticipated that the Internet of Things, the upcoming wave of connected sensors that spew data constantly requiring analysis and new computing architectures, will lead to new business models and also $11 trillion in value. However, it also will render many businesses obsolete.
With this in mind, consulting firms like McKinsey are preparing for a glut of confused clients needing help understanding everything from the macro level of how their businesses will change to the nitty-gritty assistance in designing the right computing systems to put in place to handle the glut of data. QuantumBlack, with its expertise in mining data from Formula One, health care, and construction clients and then creating a product that others can use, fits somewhere in the latter category. It will help McKinsey clients establish a process around data in terms of people, but also build a product that clients can use.
This skill set is very much in demand. McLaren Applied Technologies, which spun out of the McLaren racing team earlier this year, signed a partnership deal with consulting firm KPMG to offer its insights to clients. The McLaren team also has deals with oil and gas companies to help them manage the wealth of real-time data coming in off oil platforms and to design processes around how to manage that.
Currently, many firms are talking about doing something with their data, but the line from idea to execution in this category is fraught with errors. It takes a combination of business skills and technical skills working in tandem, and most companies just aren’t set up that way. If McKinsey can buy a firm that has figured that out and loan it out to other companies, then QuantumBlack should be a good business indeed.
Watch Fortune contributor Jason Harper hit the track in a fully equipped McLaren P1 GTR race car:
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