The consulting business is a hard business to be in these days. With low barriers to entry and your primary assets (your people) susceptible to being poached by your competitors, consulting firms are constantly looking for opportunities that will be able to help cement them as industry leaders in their desired space. Navigant Consulting (NYSE:NCI) recently did just this by buying Cymetrix, a privately held revenue cycle management firm specializing in providing health care and hospital outsourcing needs. On May 14th, Navigant purchased the 600-employee company for $75 million, with an additional $25 million if the company meets certain post-closing performance targets. While the acquisition of Cymetrix may not come as a surprise addition to a diversified consulting company, it says quite a bit about Navigant's current position and where it sees itself going forward.

An ok first quarter
Navigant's Q1 net income dropped to $10.9 million (or $0.21 per share) from $13.8 million (or $0.26 per share) year over year. In a breakdown of its business segments, the only division to beat its 2013 levels was Healthcare, which narrowly grew Revenue Before Reimbursement (RBR) by 2.6% to $44.7 million. In fact, while Navigant's total year end RBR has steadily grown from $604 million in 2010 to $734 million in 2013, only its Healthcare division has consistently grown its share, growing from 18% of total revenue to its current position at 25%. Financial Risk and Compliance has grown from 13% to 21%, but management notes that a significant portion of their revenue came from four mortgage servicing review engagements, and with a $6 million dollar decrease from Q1 2013, it remains to be seen if this is something that they can carry forth in a sustainable matter. Thus, this acquisition seems to show that Navigant is looking to make Healthcare its newest flagship and is taking steps to make that the new reality.

Smart capital deployments
Navigant's acquisition of Cymetrix, along with a 2014 Q1 share buyback program (Navigant bought 408,992 shares at an average price of $18.07 per share) shows that the management team is looking to try focus on a new direction and make active moves to use its cash wisely. Cymetrix's client base spans over 200 hospitals and health care systems nationwide , adding to an already active Healthcare division. With new implementations like ICD-10 (a new classification system for diagnoses) and a shift toward pay-for-performance systems, Cymentrix can deliver Navigant new opportunities as hospitals are continuously pressed to reduce costs and begin to consider outsourcing certain elements to consulting firms.

Navigant has already projected that Cymetrix will contribute between $38 and $42 million in revenue to support a total top line of between $848 and $892 Million for FY2014. Management is looking to push adjusted EPS to between $0.94 and $1.06.

Final thoughts
While management is hoping that the Energy department work grows through the later part of FY 2014 and is looking to continue to expand and beef up its Financials department, it is nevertheless making an active decision to focus on the solid growth afforded by its Healthcare division. With an aging national population, increasingly complex legislation and an industry that is looking to reduce costs, it seems like a natural choice that Navigant should be looking to acquire companies like Cymetrix to give it more product offerings in the space that seems to be growing and growing quickly. With a long history of acquisitions, the management team believes that it can realize the synergies between the two companies to help strengthen its position and help boost some of its other divisions. This acquisition may be just the thing to help keep Navigant moving forward while its other sectors regroup.

Sean Dalton has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.