Cognizant buys stake in ReD Associates, aims to meld digital with social science

ReD Associates will specialize in bringing social science to help enterprises understand customer behavior. Cognizant will take care of the tech details in digital transformation efforts.

Cognizant said it has acquired a 49 percent stake in ReD Associates, which is a consulting firm that specializes in understanding customer behavior.

The two companies will also create an exclusive strategic partnership. Cognizant and ReD will focus on using human sciences to model digital strategies. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Cognizant plans to fold the ReD Associates expertise into its Digital Works framework for corporate transformation efforts. ReD will focus on social science and understanding humans while Cognizant will stick to the technology and implementation details.

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ReD, based in New York and Copenhagen, counts Ford, Intel, Samsung and Adidas as customers.

Companies involved in digital transformation projects are increasingly using social sciences to inform decisions. Cognizant and ReD are planning to use behavioral economists, anthropologists and sociologists and combine them with designers, technologists and data scientists.

Cognizant's Gajen Kandiah, executive vice president, Cognizant Digital Works, noted that "while it may sound counterintuitive, 'being digital' also means being more human."

ReD will keep its existing management and customer base and operate independently.