Verizon, Ericsson, and Qualcomm Boast DSS Advancements

“The technology is still, at least partially, theoretical because it remains under development and hasn’t been commercially deployed at large. Nonetheless, ‘DSS is a big deal and I think it’s underrated,’ said Chris Antlitz, telecom principal analyst at Technology Business Research. DSS is a software feature that can be baked into the radio access network (RAN) platform or added via remote provisioning, he explained. It’s a big deal for network operators because it’s going to save them a lot of money by removing previous requirements to completely refarm spectrum for new network technologies, Antlitz added. ‘You can run out of the same spectrum band, out of the same radio, two technologies simultaneously and the traffic can be dynamically orchestrated depending on how much capacity is being asked from the system,’ he said.” — SDXCentral

Traditional management consultancies continue evolving toward the digital transformation future

This week TBR will publish recent insights on two of the management consultancies we cover: The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and McKinsey & Co.

Regarding BCG, Analyst Kelly Lesiczkanotes, “Earning consistent rankings as a top employer and avoiding negative publicity enable BCG to attract and retain employees and to support innovation efforts and delivery of emerging technologies. As BCG works to increase brand recognition for its subsidiaries, such as the opening of a BCG Platinion center in Poland, it improves its value proposition to bridge new capabilities and offerings within clients’ legacy environments. Enhancing its core operations consulting services will continue to bolster BCG’s ability to develop and deliver solutions, particularly in mature vertical markets, such as financial services.

On McKinsey, Principal Analyst Patrick Heffernan puts a recent surprising physical storefront development into context of the firm’s larger strategy and vision, stating, “Clients’ expectations for transformation, including analytics, cloud, AI and other emerging technologies, match the capabilities and offerings McKinsey has developed in recent years, though the firm may need to begin offering implementation services along with its strategy consulting to withstand peers’ efforts in the space. In the wake of recent controversies, however, McKinsey is touting more internal transparency while exploring new ventures in verticals such as retail, specifically with its opening of a retail space in the Mall of America.”

Additional assessments publishing this week from our analyst teams

“AI will likely be the most controversial yet opportunistic emerging technology to impact the digital transformation continuum. There will be jobs that will decline as a result of automation, but more in toil as opposed to decision making or customer engagement. Overcoming the skepticism around the public perception that automation eliminate jobs is an ongoing task demanding enterprises and vendors increasingly educate the market on the broader ROI from the use of AI, including increased productivity, improved accuracy and compliance.” Senior Analyst Boz Hristov, Digital Transformation Insights Report: Emerging Technology

“While TBR estimates T-Systems revenue growth will be flat through 2021, the company’s profitability will follow a positive trajectory. As T-Systems undergoes transformation efforts, including the establishment of one unit that will join Deutsche Telekom’s Business Customer segment and T-Systems’ Telecommunication services and Classified ICT businesses as well as the establishment of independent Security and IoT businesses, the company aligns its portfolio with client demand tied to higher-value services. Partnering with technology vendors provides T-Systems with digital and cloud platforms that scale its growth area offerings as well as lead to new opportunities. Building its offshore talent will help T-Systems sustain its portfolio improvements in the long term, benefitting from lower-cost delivery. While T-Systems historically is slow to execute and transform business operations, the company could potentially lose opportunities to competitors as transitioning businesses hinders its ability to generate consistent growth.” — Lesiczka

“Despite weak performance in 3Q19, Sprint is taking steps to become more valuable to T-Mobile ahead of the proposed merger’s closing. Sprint is optimizing costs through deeper digitization of retail and customer service channels as well as implementing more efficient network technologies. Inheriting Sprint’s evolving IoT portfolio would enable T-Mobile to become more competitive in the IoT market, while Sprint’s growing 5G footprint would augment T-Mobile’s coverage in major markets.”  — Analyst Steve Vachon

HCL Technologies’ onshore centers provide entry points for larger-scale upselling opportunities tied to cloud, AI and cybersecurity

Vendors are strengthening offshore and low-cost talent, particularly in India, to offset investment costs related to infusing digital into their portfolios as well as to supplement delivery and innovation efforts. For example, Atos opened a delivery center in the city of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, India, that is expected to house 2,300 software engineers, and Capgemini opened two Digital Academies in India. As HCL Technologies (HCLT) has an established network of delivery and production facilities in India, the company has invested in developing its presence in EMEA and APAC during 2019.

In October HCLT announced the opening of an innovation center in Paris to support its emerging technology offerings and increase interactions between local clients and data scientists and engineers. The company also opened an innovation center in Hamilton, New Zealand, focused on blockchain, cybersecurity, cloud and AI services.

Earlier in the year, HCLT opened a digital transformation center in The Hague, Netherlands (February), and established a Google Cloud Platform Center of Excellence within its existing Cloud Native Labs in London (April) to bring skilled experts to the region and help increase adoption of the company’s Mode 2 services and solutions, particularly cloud- and digital-based services.

All of HCLT’s centers help the company strengthen its global brand, increase its proximity to clients and enhance its relationships, leading to upselling opportunities. HCLT brings cloud, cybersecurity and AI offerings to clients in a collaborative and innovative environment that enables the company to drive business value for clients and provide long-term revenue streams. However, as European vendors such as Capgemini and Atos hold market presence in the region, HCLT could face challenges in expanding its addressable market, forcing the company to focus to look for additional selling opportunities within its existing client base.

Note: More detail can be found in TBR’S 2Q19 IT Services Vendor Benchmark.

According to TBR’s 2Q19 IT Services Vendor Benchmark, total headcount growth for the 29 vendors tracked in the benchmark continues to expand, with low-cost headcount accelerating ahead of onshore and total headcount to support offshore delivery and innovation efforts. Onshore headcount is also increasing as vendors use their emerging technology portfolios to expand client bases.

Federal IT vendors capitalizing on a growth-friendly spending environment expected to see healthy top-line expansion

Senior Analyst  John Caucis reports on three federal IT services providers this week, each delivering robust, double-digit revenue growth amid the strongest federal technology market witnessed in many years. “The strongest performance was tendered by CACI, whose revenue rose 16.9% year-to-year to $1.36 billion in 3Q19, showing the tight alignment of its differentiated solutions with high-priority spending areas in the defense and intelligence markets. CACI is beating incumbents on large-scale program recompetes and defending its incumbency on its own legacy engagements, while the strength of its fiscal performance points to a high-value solutions mix highly relevant to its core customers. CACI’s $1 billion in acquisitions in 1Q19 is also boosting revenue, adding between $115 million and $120 million in inorganic sales in 3Q19 (by TBR estimates), though also generating margin pressures.

Booz Allen Hamilton’s (BAH) revenue rose 12.7% year-to-year to $1.82 billion in 3Q19, consistent with the company’s plan to aggressively execute on its FY20 growth objectives during the first half of the fiscal year (calendar 2Q19 and 3Q19). BAH is realizing balanced growth across its government-focused business lines. Growth in BAH’s Global Commercial business has been more variable but has stabilized and is on solid footing for continued expansion in 2020. Finally, Leidos’ revenue rose 10.1% year-to-year to $2.84 billion in 3Q19. The company’s backlog continues to surge to new highs owing to a strong sustained pace of net-new contract bookings across the defense, civilian and, particularly, healthcare areas. Leidos also successfully defended its position on a handful of large projects, including the $2.9 billion, 10-year NASA End-User Services & Technologies (NEST) program and the $927 million IT and logistics support contract with the Transportation Security Administration.”

Additional assessments publishing this week from our analyst teams

“With the Syntel acquisition fully integrated globally, Atos’ next step is to explain Syntel’s capabilities to its internal sales and delivery teams and existing clients to successfully cross-sell its solutions and to effectively deliver services for cloud revenue growth and improved profitability. TBR does not expect the stepping down of Atos CEO Thierry Breton on Oct. 31 and appointment of Elie Girard, previously deputy CEO and CFO, to change the company’s strategic direction or negatively impact Atos’ performance. Girard will continue to steer the strategic direction of the company over the next two years around delivering business outcomes for customers utilizing Atos’ technology and services expertise in cloud and cybersecurity.” — Elitsa Bakalova, Senior Analyst

“Throughout 2019, Cognizant’s emphasis on evolving from its traditional roots to a digital transformation leader has resulted in multiple acquisitions and a flurry of restructuring efforts, such as the Digital Transformation Office. The Digital Transformation Office’s latest announcement is a two-year plan, 2020 Fit for Growth, which will result in additional layoffs and reskilling efforts around key technology areas such as data, IoT, digital engineering and cloud. The 2020 Fit for Growth plan is Cognizant’s furthest reaching plan so far in 2019, impacting 12,000 employees and resulting in the divesture of nonessential businesses to free up capital for digital growth and improve Cognizant’s cost structure. TBR believes the success of Cognizant’s restructuring and go-to-market realignment will require active involvement of its partner ecosystem to rapidly expand the scale of its new offerings and strengthen its positioning against competitors in the digital space.” — Kelly Lesiczka, Analyst

“Ongoing restructuring efforts to improve delivery and cost structure enabled Fujitsu Services to grow revenues and profitability in 3Q19 but could set the company back relative to peers. However, the speed of Fujitsu’s transition will dictate the extent to which its portfolio and delivery network can generate profitable growth in FY22.” — Lesiczka

T-Mobile will end 2019 on a high note, with the company’s annual postpaid net additions and adjusted EBITDA surpassing initial guidance expectations. T-Mobile’s momentum will continue in 2020 regardless of the outcome of the proposed Sprint merger, as the company’s widespread 5G coverage and expanding portfolio and service options will attract new customers.”  — Steve Vachon, Analyst

AT&T’s 3Q19 earnings highlight the challenges the company is experiencing as a result of extensive expansion over the past five years due to the acquisitions of Time Warner and DIRECTV and the launch of AT&T Mexico. Market challenges and shifting consumer preferences contributed to AT&T’s revenue declines in most segments, and the company remains debt-laden from its large-scale investments.” — Vachon  

Mavenir ready to prove it is possible to transform mobile network economics

TBR perspective  

Mavenir’s message is resonating with the market, and its reputation among CSPs is strengthening. In a few short years, the upstart vendor has gone from an M&A amalgamation of disparate businesses to a cohesive, relevant vendor that is now being considered alongside incumbent Tier 1 network vendors for projects at leading CSPs worldwide.

Mavenir is a legitimate contender to supply solutions that will comprise the new webscale-like network architecture CSPs are eager to implement to stay competitive and participate in new value creation in the digital era. The vendor’s greenfield play to provide cloud-native solutions is unique and is a key differentiator from incumbent OEMs that continue to push their relatively expensive, inflexible and closed systems. CSPs are intrigued by Mavenir’s virtualization offerings, not only with the low price points and total cost of ownership (TCO), but also with the performance of their systems in trials and now, with vRAN in some select commercial production environments.

TBR believes Mavenir will become one of the leading telecom network vendors in the digital era and will take measurable share from incumbent vendors during the 5G network build cycle, not only in RAN, but also in the mobile core and digital enablement-related platforms. Though Mavenir is a small fish in a sea of goliaths, the company is able to hold its own by trumpeting its software-first mantra as a means of redefining mobile network economics.

Mavenir’s assessment of where the market needs to go is spot on. CSPs must evolve to become more webscale-like in nature, adopting a network architecture that is dynamic, agile and able to support the demands of the digital era as well as new business models that can be scaled and supported at fundamentally different economics compared to the traditional architecture. More of the same will not work anymore, and CSPs must think and act differently to stay relevant and profitable in the digital era. CSPs are intrigued by the claims Mavenir is making pertaining to radically different mobile network economics and there is desire among CSPs to hear from the vendor about how it can deliver on those promises.

TBR believes Mavenir’s biggest, most impactful play is in the RAN space, which is an approximately $40 billion market and is ripe for significant disruption. RAN is the domain that will be the catalyst to transform Mavenir from a relatively small vendor by revenue (around $500 million this year) into a multibillion-dollar global powerhouse.

Mavenir provided a corporate strategy overview and updates on each of its business units at its third annual analyst day. The vendor is well aligned with underlying trends in the telecom industry, particularly network virtualization and open infrastructure. Mavenir now claims to have product offerings across several network infrastructure domains, including RAN, mobile core, IMS (particularly, VoLTE and RCS), Unified Communications & Collaboration (Mobile Business Fabric), network security and digital enablement platforms, such as for private networks, OSS/BSS and mobile advertising (Aquto). The company’s software-first, hardware-agnostic approach is timely as communication service providers (CSP) accelerate their transformations into digital service providers.

Revving the engine in Stuttgart: Accenture in the heart of the German auto zone

In July, Accenture announced a new Customer Experience Center in Stuttgart, Germany, focused on working with automobile manufacturers and their partners to accelerate the future of connected cars. With seemingly every IT services vendor and consultancy rolling out initiatives around automobiles, TBR spoke last week with Accenture’s Axel Schmidt, senior managing director and industry managing director, Mobility, about the new center to better understand why Accenture chose Stuttgart, how this center will differ from others, and what will be the core competencies and additional value the company brings to clients by having this new space.

According to Schmidt, customer behavior trends across the automotive industry, including increased specialization, expectations around connectivity, and even the number of times a buyer visits a dealership, have further emphasized the need for automakers to enhance their marketing and sales capabilities, a core consulting strength for Accenture. In combination with its manufacturing and supply chain expertise, the company can help carmakers understand what is possible with emerging technologies and what clients are increasingly demanding. In answer to the question, “Why Stuttgart?” Schmidt explained that an Accenture acquisition, Mackevision, was founded in the city and had strong ties to the automotive sector there. Schmidt anticipates Accenture will expand the center concept to other car hubs, and possibly other related industries such as travel and transportation, based on the company’s engagements with other manufacturers.

When pressed on how Accenture and its automotive clients have responded to the changing market for cars, including an increase in car sharing and the (hoped-for) emergence of self-driving cars, Schmidt noted that Accenture recognizes that “brand strength alone will not ensure future success in mobility.”  As Accenture has advised, clients that “want to gain relevant market shares in the market of mobility services need to act now and reposition their brand by using their sales reach.” In even broader terms, traditional manufacturers, according to Schmidt, “need to embrace new platform- and customer-centric technologies in order to remain successful. Furthermore, car manufacturers need to pivot their business model wisely from building and selling cars to offering mobility.” For some time now, Accenture has advanced the idea of “the new,” to include promising “the customer a seamless mobility experience by offering him in a comfy and affordable manner that kind of mobility he needs.”

Our discussion with Schmidt ended with a look to the future, when automobiles are essentially “software with hardware wrapped around it” and they become the “ultimate mobile device.” (TBR wonders if BMW will update its slogan.) Schmidt said the current 150 million lines of code per advanced automobile will be closer to 1 billion lines of code in an autonomous vehicle. Given everyday experiences with software in other elements of life — and the trend toward “low code” in some IT environments — I think a niche market will grow for no-code, unconnected, software-free cars. Keep that red Barchetta’s motor in working condition.    

Fujitsu, digital trust and the future of technology

Strike a balance between the utilization of data and the protection of data

Opening the event, Hiroshi Tsuda, head of Security Laboratory at Fujitsu Labs, set the tone by acknowledging that every enterprise and consumer must understand the balance between the utilization and efficiency of data and the associated privacy and protection. Other speakers and panelists at the symposium echoed that theme of balance, each taking a different spin on how balance could be achieved and, most importantly, who bears the responsibility for striking and maintaining balance, as well as remediating any negative consequences caused by mistakes. Tsuda also presented the results of the Fujitsu Global Digital Transformation Survey Report, a survey of 900 business leaders in nine countries that provides insight into their process in digital transformation and to clarify how business leaders around the world perceive trust.

Delivering the Fujitsu Keynote, CEO of Fujitsu Labs Hirotaka Hara explained that the company’s long-standing slogan, “Reliability and Creativity” had been replaced with “Digital Trust and Co-Creation.” For Fujitsu, “digital trust” includes pushing for social acceptance of AI, which requires IT services vendors and technology companies to create “explainable AI” to overcome current reluctance among many companies and individuals to fully accept judgments made by algorithms, rather than humans. In TBR’s view, Fujitsu’s expressed appreciation of the challenges in AI adoption comes as a welcome relief from the hype heard from other IT services and software vendors. Further, the updated slogan reflects a clear evolution from basic reliability of technology and systems to more essential and compelling trust, while the shift from creativity to co-creation moves the conversation from Fujitsu acting alone in R&D to interacting with clients, creating together.

Advancing the trust theme, Hara explained that Fujitsu Laboratories “ensures digital trust through technologies, to include a wide range of solutions, ideas and competencies, such as smart contracts, authentication, compliance, data traceability management and cybersecurity — all with trust at the center.” Multiple IT services vendors and consultancies throughout 2019 have centered events, presentations and use cases around trust, but few have described the ecosystem and diverse elements as comprehensively as Fujitsu. And few have been as direct and succinct as Fujitsu, which stated, “Digital trust is the foundation to achieving digital transformation.”

In TBR’s June 2019 Digital Transformation Insights Report: Voice of the Customer, we quoted the CEO of a global healthcare company on trust and the various roles IT services vendors and their clients must play. Echoing Fujitsu’s sentiments around trust, that CEO said, “Responsibility needs to be an integral part of the overall business and technology landscape for any company, and I strongly suspect that we will see a resurgence of some of the other traditional roles and technology.” In all, Fujitsu, through Hara’s remarks and comments made throughout the day, demonstrated a grounded, hype-free understanding that the challenges of digital transformation do not come from the technologies, but from the ecosystem and the people. And the initial steps to transformation depend on digital trust.

Fujitsu Laboratories Advanced Technology Symposium (FLATS) 2019: Around 400 people gathered in Santa Clara, Calif., for a full day of presentations and panels centered on data security and the need to balance user and regulatory requirements around privacy with expectations around rich online experiences, leading to deep discussions about ethics, transparency and trust. Hosted by Fujitsu Laboratories and attended by more engineers than entrepreneurs, the event surprisingly stayed focused on applying technology for societal good, to build ecosystems of trust, and to protect consumers’ data and privacy. Fujitsu Labs showed off its ground-breaking technological advancements and innovations in an exhibit hall but kept main-stage conversation rooted in the application of technology in a messy and uncertain world.

IBM continues to separate itself from the pack

Senior Analyst Nicki Catchpole reports this week on IBM’s cloud and software practice, noting: “While IBM’s 3Q19 overall results continued to experience a downward slide, its Cloud & Cognitive Software sector experienced immediate positive effects from the much-anticipated $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat. Red Hat’s OpenShift technology and channel-driven approach have boosted IBM’s cloud growth, expanded the broader IBM portfolio, and opened doors to new customers and markets. Post-merger, IBM is focusing on emphasizing its value proposition at the PaaS layer, with the intent to capture enterprise IT spend in the lucrative hybrid cloud market and position itself as the industry’s only true hybrid multicloud platform. While IBM still faces strong headwinds post-merger, TBR expects that another quarter of executing a cloud-native portfolio approach will position IBM for differentiation and continue to yield positive growth results in this segment.”   

Additional assessments publishing this week from our analyst teams

Capgemini has sustained a midsingle-digit organic revenue growth trend over the past seven quarters, positively affected by strategic expansion into next-generation and industry-specific solution areas. Capgemini’s revenue growth will decelerate in 4Q19 due to potential softness in the banking sector and in the U.K. Capgemini indicated pockets of softness are developing, specifically in banking due to end-of-year budget management and in the public and private sectors in the U.K. due to uncertainty around Brexit. In September Capgemini’s board of directors chose Chief Operating Officer (COO) Aiman Ezzat to succeed Paul Hermelin as CEO in May 2020. While Ezzat will be responsible for the overall management of the company as CEO, Hermelin will remain chairman of the board. This will ensure a smooth transition in Capgemini’s top executive role. Ezzat has been with Capgemini for 20 years and has deep knowledge of the company from holding leadership roles, such as CFO and, most recently, COO.” — Elitsa Bakalova, Senior Analyst

Atos’ new CEO, Elie Girard, will continue to steer the company’s strategic direction in the next two years, with a focus on delivering business outcomes for customers utilizing Atos’technology and services expertise in cloud, cybersecurity and emerging areas such as IoT and edge and quantum computing. Revenue and cost synergies from the Syntel acquisition will enable Atos to achieve its financial goals in 2019. Atos is positioned well to support its expansion in North America by cross-selling solutions to existing clients. TBR expects Girard, who has been with Atos since 2014, to emphasize execution of financial targets, especially around improving profitability through productivity and efficiencies.” — Elitsa Bakalova

“With its marriage to United Technologies on the 2020 horizon, Raytheon is on the cusp of a game-changing merger that will impact the federal IT and global aerospace sectors for years to come. In TBR’s 3Q19 Raytheon Intelligence, Information & Services (IIS) report, we will begin to examine the implications of the blockbuster, multibillion-dollar consolidation on Raytheon’s government services business. Despite early disruptions from the looming mega-merger and the loss of the Warfighter FOCUS contract, Raytheon IIS continues to post robust fiscal performance, owing to a steady stream of new classified projects in cyber and space, particularly in its core U.S. market but also overseas with its long-established roster of foreign governments the company counts as clients.” — John Caucis, Senior Analyst

“Leveraging its portfolio network to integrate cloud, digital and security capabilities as well as support delivery of software-driven services will help Cisco Customer Experience maintain growth and profitability. Additionally, Cisco’s increased acquisition activity will provide Cisco Customer Experience with access to a broader client base and enable it to more quickly develop cloud and IoT capabilities to bolster revenue streams in 3Q19.” — Kelly Lesiczka, Analyst

HCL Technologies’ (HCLT) alliance and acquisition strategy helps the company enhance its portfolio to embed vertical and technical expertise and positions it for profitable revenue growth in 2020. Additionally, HCLT’s investments in talent, including fostering its ‘Employees First’ culture, supports the development of a digitally versed talent bench and will allow HCLT entryways into emerging markets.” — Kelly Lesiczka

“DXC Technology made several changes to its management team, including its CEO, following the retirement announcement of its current chairman, Mike Lawrie. New leadership across DXC will bring a fresh perspective and could help turn around its perpetual restructuring initiatives and financial underperformance. During the quarter, the company appointed Mike Salvino as president and CEO, and TBR believes his vision for the company complements DXC’s strengths and will align with much of his predecessor’s values, minimizing disruption, as Lawrie was involved in the selection process.” — Kevin Collupy, Analyst

Azure has become a consistently strong revenue driver for Microsoft, but it is also notable that Microsoft has been able to sustain growth of its licensed Server software products by stressing hybrid IT environments and high-value use cases like expansive IoT deployments.” — Meaghan McGrath, Senior Analyst 

Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) days of unrivaled public cloud PaaS and IaaS dominance may be numbered as key competitors such as Microsoft and Oracle rally together to unseat AWS. AWS is fighting to stem their progress, sacrificing margins to win customer workloads.” — Meaghan McGrath

Comcast’s Cable Communications business remains in an enviable position in the U.S. telecom industry as it continues to sustain solid revenue growth despite increasing competitive pressures and shifting consumer trends. Central to Comcast’s success is the high subscriber growth spurred by the accelerated speeds of its DOCSIS 3.1 broadband services while being free of the burden of maintaining a legacy network portfolio, which is hindering wireline revenue growth for rivals such as AT&T and Verizon.” — Steve Vachon, Analyst

“The fruits of Verizon’s restructuring initiatives, which focus on eliminating nonessential costs while renewing emphasis on the strength of the company’s wireless business, were evident in Verizon’s improved subscriber growth and consolidated operating margin in 3Q19. Verizon’s emphasis on improving the value proposition of its unlimited data plans led to the company gaining its highest third-quarter wireless phone gross additions in five years, but churn is also rising due to stronger competition from T-Mobile and Xfinity Mobile.” — Steve Vachon

IoT continues to contribute moderately to vendor revenue growth, as vendors embed IoT in their offerings

IoT is becoming more deeply embedded in vendors’ offerings and messaging

IoT continues its moderate revenue and gross profit growth as vendors and customers become more familiar with what IoT is and how it can be applied. Increasingly, IoT is an expected part of vendors’ offerings, one of a set of tools that can be used to solve business problems and address business opportunities. IoT continues to be viewed more as a technique than a specific market or technology, but increasingly familiar use cases and more mature packaged solutions and components have made it easier to work with.

TBR expects the IoT market to continue to grow, gradually accelerating over at least the next five years. This means IoT will constitute an increasing percentage of vendors’ revenues. Because IoT is just one tool, however, less attention will be paid to its role. It is embedded in messages as well as in products and services, and customers have come to expect its availability.

Customers are increasingly addressing the costs of moving and storing data and are therefore beginning to migrate to a hybrid edge-cloud architecture

IoT has the potential to generate enormous amounts of data, depending on what is being measured, how often, and how precisely. Without data life cycle policy and management, data accumulates without limit and project costs increase over time. An edge-cloud hybrid architecture processes data near the edge and transmits a limited amount of summarizing data to a central data center or cloud service for further analysis and long-term storage. The hardware and software tools for this approach are available but will become much easier to implement going forward.

While IoT revenue and IoT projects are growing, IoT is less prominent in vendors’ marketing communications

IoT is transforming from a product or service line to a capability or a product or service extension. Marketing IoT as a capability or extension allows vendors to scale back marketing and sales costs to a level commensurate with lower-than-first-expected IoT revenues. Successful vendors have repositioned IoT to support their main product or service line and to reinforce, rather than confuse, their main message. This results in a simpler message that is easier for salespeople and customers to understand and evaluate. It has also resulted in more differentiated IoT offerings, because the offerings are specific to each vendor’s overall strategy.

TBR’s Commercial IoT Benchmark is a semiannual publication that highlights current commercial IoT revenue and gross profit for a select list of 28 vendors. The benchmark leverages financial models and projections across a diverse set of IT and operational technology (OT) components. In addition, it outlines the major vendor-based drivers and trends shaping the market. The benchmark examines multiple IoT segments, including business consulting, IT services, ICT infrastructure, software, security, cloud services and connectivity.

Betting on business model transformation through appointment of new leaders

As companies must manage multidisciplinary and
multigenerational workforces, maintaining properly
trained leaders, with visions closely aligned to the
organization’s DNA rather than investor expectations,
will provide a strong foothold in a largely disrupted IT
services market. The impact on employee culture,
morale, purpose and other organizational behavior
largely depends on the CEO of the company, particularly
if a new one needs to be selected. Promoting from
within typically inspires employees, as is often the case
when a company is performing well, such as with
Accenture; external candidates are often brought in for
fresh, new ideas and are associated with a last resort
measure for companies in distress, similar to Conduent,
DXC Technology (DXC)
and Cognizant, to an extent.
While changing a company’s DNA overnight is
impossible, with many examples of leaders who have
tried and failed, embedding new ideas to drive change
must start with a solid foundation. As the decade wraps
up and many ICT vendors place bets on appointing
and/or hiring new CEOs, the question about new ideas
and their execution has yet to be answered. CEOs who
can execute on their initiatives at scale, beyond the
marketing hype and PR, will most likely succeed.

A few recent highlights:

  • In TBR’s view, the CEO changes at Atos and Capgemini will not impact performance. They are both planned, and for Capgemini, the former CEOs will remain part of the board. Both companies will have former CFOs leading, so there will be very strict execution based on numbers. TBR does not expect the stepping down of Atos CEO Thierry Breton on Oct. 31 and the appointment of Elie Girard, current deputy CEO and CFO, to change the company’s strategic direction or to negatively impact Atos’ performance. Atos has been working on a CEO succession plan since the beginning of 2019, when it appointed Girard as deputy CEO. While Girard became CEO on Nov. 1 and will be responsible for the overall management of the company, the chairman of the board position was separated from the CEO’s responsibilities and filled by Bertrand Meunier as nonexecutive chairman of Atos SE’s board of directors. In September Capgemini’s board of directors chose Chief Operating Officer Aiman Ezzat to succeed Paul Hermelin as CEO in May 2020. While Ezzat will become CEO and be responsible for the overall management of the company, Hermelin will remain chairman of the board. This will provide a smooth transition in Capgemini’s top executive role and avert potential execution challenges if a future CEO was to step down completely. Ezzat has been with Capgemini for 20 years and has a deep knowledge of the company from holding leadership roles, such as CFO and, most recently, chief operating officer. TBR expects Ezzat to continue to implement Capgemini’s strategic plans in the coming quarters.
  • Accenture appointed Julie Sweet as CEO effective Sept. 1, 2019. Previously Sweet led Accenture North America operations, where Accenture Technology is a key contributor to revenue performance and the company has successfully executed on its 2017 initiative to recruit 15,000 employees and open 10 innovation hubs across the region by 2020.
  • On April 1, 2019, Brian Humphries took the reins as a CEO of Cognizant, succeeding company co-founder Francisco D’Souza. Shortly after the former Vodafone Business lead stepped in to head Cognizant, the company announced plans to provide voluntary separation to 300 top-level executives in late May. The layoffs, which are part of Cognizant’s efforts to improve its cost structure, have primarily been focused in the U.S. and India.
  • DXC Technology elected former Accenture Operations lead, Mike Salvino, to take over from Mike Lawrie as the company’s CEO. We expect Salvino’s background in operations and DXC’s recent purchase of Luxoft to further expand the company’s opportunities within the BPaaS space.