The supply chain function is an area crying out for a digital platform or utility. In fact, I believe it’s ripe for digital disruption. Digital technologies such as automation, advanced analytics, AI, cloud and the IoT can make a huge contribution to rationalizing and managing the supply chain for companies in the North American market and globally, so it’s a prime candidate for transformation. Companies such as Amazon and Walmart are building logistics and supply chain digital platforms for themselves, but they seek to shape the space and disadvantage other companies. So, several vendors are pushing to provide supply chain platforms. It’s clear that especially Accenture and Genpact, also believe in the coming disruption, as they are making very big plays to compete against Amazon in the supply chain space.
Many industry analysts have a theory that digital transformation will happen rapidly. But I don’t believe that. I think it will happen over five to 10 years. While digital adoption grows, we’ll see dramatic consolidation in the IT and business process services markets based on the legacy labor arbitrage factory model. A plethora of arbitrage-based service providers remain in the market.
In 2018, we’ll see that some service providers will be able to transition to digital, but some won’t. Those that don’t manage to change will consolidate. But I believe we’ll even some consolidation among those that make the change to the digital world. We’re starting to see early signs of market consolidation in 2017.
The United States -based information technology firm Accenture Plc has started funding innovative ideas from employees on emerging technologies to drive faster growth in the digital segment. Aggressive innovation moves such as $2,000 for best ideas can outweigh Indian peers in gaining digital revenue.
The IT major has received 13,700 ideas from employees of its Indian technology delivery centres on digital technologies such as design thinking, machine learning (ML) and the best ones are being implemented for its customers across India and global markets. The two key themes for these ideas were disruptive businesses and Digital India.
Accenture has started offering $2,000 for 40-50 shortlisted ideas to turn them into prototypes.
“What sets them (Accenture) apart from their Indian competitors are not the programs, which companies such as Wipro, TCS and Infosys have also adopted and in some instances been even more aggressive, but when the early lead they gained by being the first mover and establishing industry credibility from this early mover role. The second big thing they have done is that they are far more aggressive in buying digital firms, which bring with them the IP and innovations,” said Peter Bendor-Samuel.
It’s a safe bet that most enterprises as well as service providers pay attention to Accenture’s market moves and investments. After all, Accenture is the world’s largest independent consulting and IT outsourcing firm, so who wouldn’t think it wise to learn by observing the firm’s strategies? Let’s look at Accenture’s recent acquisition of Genfour. Interestingly, the two major considerations that typically drive acquisitions are not at play in this case; so, what is Accenture’s strategy?
Based in the U.K, Genfour has fewer than 200 employees. It’s tiny compared to Accenture, which has 401,000 employees and 6,600 leaders. So, the acquisition won’t have any material impact on Accenture’s revenues. And the acquisition will add mostly mid-size enterprises to Accenture’s client base.
Accenture announced today that it has acquired Genfour, the pureplay automation integration and professional services company, for an undisclosed amount. Everest Group research indicates that Genfour is growing fast more than doubling revenue year on year but that is the norm in a growth market that is currently dominated by RPA technologies. Revenue mix includes annuity, run and operate as well as consultancy. The company head count includes a large developer pool. Genfour has a strong presence in the insurance and utilities sectors, as well as a few clients located in the US.
Genfour works with a number of Service Delivery Automation (SDA) technologies, Blue Prism, UiPath, and Celaton. It also has its own Genfour Autonomic platform with multi-tenant features and interfaces to third party workflow and reporting software. It not only develops and deploys automation for clients but offers on-going as-a-service operation and support services.
Automation skills are in short supply in the market, and Genfour brings Accenture expert personnel. This is likely to be the main reason for the acquisition.
Client acquisition is unlikely to have been a driver for this take over given that many of Genfour’s clients are mid-sized organizations that are not usually targeted by Accenture. However, Genfour’s presence in the insurance sector might have helped.
In terms of technology, the two companies’ capabilities mostly complement each other. Accenture has built extensive automation capabilities in recent years by following a strategy of partnering with leading automation technology vendors, Blue Prism and IPsoft among them. While the two companies share expertise in Blue prism, and to some extent, UiPath, Genfour adds Celaton and its own IP to the Accenture mix.
The market is moving towards increasing levels of domain and industry specific automation. Accenture is likely to follow this trend and build capabilities for specific domains and vertical expertise as well as increasingly more complex projects.
It is unsurprising that there is M&A activity in this market. We have predicted this, and there is more to come. This acquisition is unlikely to be the last in SDA in 2017.
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