Deloitte agrees deal to acquire Belfast-based data specialist Etain

Outside Deloitte’s new offices in Belfast are (from left) Martin Goss, director of Etain, Danny McConnell, lead consulting partner for Deloitte in Northern Ireland, and Peter Shields, director of Etain. Picture: Kelvin Boyes/PressEye
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BUSINESS advisory firm Deloitte has agreed a deal to acquire Belfast-based data and digital transformations specialist Etain in a move which will double the size of its AI and data solutions practice in the city.

It will create Northern Ireland's largest AI and data practice and will enable Deloitte to devise, deliver and run more ambitious data and digital transformation programmes across the UK.

Founded in 1999 by Martin Goss and Peter Shields, Etain has 70 employees, including data engineers, cloud developers and technical solution architects who deliver data and digital applications as well as bespoke software solutions.

It has completed more than 400 digital transformation projects for a range of private and public sector organisations.

Jackie Henry, senior partner for Deloitte in the north, said: “From advancing healthcare discoveries to transforming well-worn legal processes, AI and data solutions are allowing businesses to break incredible boundaries.

“Doubling the size of our 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.

“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.”

Peter Shields, director of Etain (, added: “Since launching more than two decades ago, those turning to us to create bespoke solutions to solve their most pressing challenges has continued to grow.

“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.”

The announcement underlines Deloitte's commitment to invest in the growth of technology-focused hubs across the UK.

In addition to Belfast, the firm has opened hubs in Bristol, Edinburgh and Reading over the past seven years to meet the growing demand for digital support.

Deloitte's regional technology hubs act as beacons for data and digital innovation across the UK, with its Belfast Technology Studio playing a leading role in the development of AI, data solutions and analytics.

Danny McConnell, lead consulting partner for Deloitte in Northern Ireland, said: “Belfast has established itself as a dynamic hub for innovation, with a strong reputation for business, technology and new software development, in particular.

“We're continuing to invest in the rejuvenation of the city, which is among the fastest growing technology capitals in Europe.

“Growing our Belfast technology studio with the acquisition of Etain, at completion, will enhance the culture, capability and creativity of this team and ensure that we are working with the very best talent within the city's burgeoning technology community.”

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