Layoffs, AI and Optimization: Exploring Top Trends of the Chaotic Digital Landscape

Tech sector layoffs, generative AI (GenAI) and digital optimization are the three big trends generating excessive confusion and fear in a macroeconomic climate that has already been befouled by inflation smog and a potential debt default. Let’s walk through each separately, then tie them all together and close with a positive message about emerging technologies and economic growth.

Three Trends Explain the Messy Digital Landscape

Layoffs in Tech: News Noise Obscures the Fact that We’ve Landed Where Expected

In the Q&A portion of a recent TBR webinar, participants asked three principal analysts about implications from the recent rounds of layoffs, in both the tech sector and more broadly across the market, particularly in the U.S.


TBR’s Boz Hristov noted that hiring ramped up considerably during the pandemic and that the recent layoffs, while newsworthy, reflect a net increase in headcount over the last four years. Taking trends from as far back as 2017 and extending them to the first half of this year, you can see the pandemic hiring spike as an aberration and current staffing levels as what could have been expected in late 2019. Not great for the tens of thousands let go by the tech giants, but not a sign of the tech sector’s impending collapse.


Further, current layoffs provide a huge opportunity for enterprises to hire experienced IT staff, taking advantage of their skills and expertise as many enterprises push into the next wave of digital transformation (more on that below). TBR’s Chris Antlitz has noted that telcos have been constantly looking for automation and outsourcing opportunities, quietly restructuring their talent while also seeking more specialized skills.


Those specialized skills should now be more abundant in the market. So, for the short term, tech giants like Meta, Microsoft and even Accenture can fine-tune their margins by reducing overhead and headcount. In the longer term, enterprises might be better staffed with IT talent, forcing tech giants to hone their value propositions.


And inevitably generative AI will be part of every technology player’s value proposition: If generative AI is not top of mind for your business leaders, it should be.

Robots Aren’t Hiring Robots — Yet

Let’s start with Boz’s most disruptive observation (yes, even just an observation can be disruptive): Why does an enterprise need to deploy a robotic process automation (RPA) solution if ChatGPT can write code? Why pay for any of the RPA vendors or their consulting partners if generative AI leapfrogs what RPA tools can do while eliminating the middle steps between identifying what can be automated and going full speed ahead? Within the IT services and consulting space, RPA vendors may provide the best examples of adapting to — or failing to adapt to — emerging realities around generative AI.


From the time you started reading this blog post to now, another company has launched its AI-enabled solution. Hype, greed and fear cloud the marketplace right now. Over the next six months, TBR expects to see quiet markers of clarity and sensibility, relentless marketing, and, eventually, some clear leaders in the early days of generative AI. What’s happened with digital transformation provides a useful road map for where GenAI could be headed.

Tell Me About Optimization, Not Transformation

Digital transformation evolving toward digital optimization has emerged as a persistent theme in TBR’s Voice of the Customer research. Enterprises that undertook digital transformation initiatives pre-pandemic now need iterative — not transformative — change and expect IT services vendors and consultancies to help with optimization, aka cost-cutting and faster return on investment.


IT budgets won’t contract in the latter half of 2023, but the money will be spent keeping the (technology) lights on, securing the enterprise, and making incremental improvements that reduce costs. That isn’t exciting or agile or disruptive, but it’s the reality for most enterprises in the current macroeconomic environment. And for enterprises slow to the digital transformation game, they can now hire experienced tech talent (recently laid off by Meta, Microsoft and others) and use generative AI and automation to accelerate their time to digital transformation value. Like how we pulled all those trends together?

It’s All Good as Long as There’s a Little Chaos and a Lot of High Expectations

Here are the real positive notes: 1) confusion and uncertainty fuel consulting, 2) everyone expects their tech to work and everyone has had at least one suboptimal experience with AI, so 3) growth opportunities will abound for IT services vendors, consultancies, tech vendors and telcos.


To learn more about the impact these trends are having on the digital landscape, watch our recent webinar “How the Latest Trends in IT Services & Telecom Influence the Evolving Digitally Enabled Ecosystem” for free now


Informatica IDMC Innovations: Transforming Data Utilization in a Cloud-First Landscape

In two years, Informatica Data Management Cloud (IDMC) has grown from a platform with only a select number of products to a complete, comprehensive portfolio spanning Integration, Data Catalog, Data Quality, Master Data Management (MDM), 360 Applications, Governance & Privacy, and Marketplace. Rapidly closing in on the $1 billion mark in cloud annual recurring revenue (ARR), Informatica has undergone a major transformation with IDMC and continues to expand the platform to an emerging set of use cases beyond traditional integration and data warehouse modernization. Informatica has over 5,000 customers in more than 100 countries and roughly 6,000 employees worldwide.

TBR Perspective

Like other enterprise software companies born on premises, Informatica has embarked on a transformative journey to the cloud over the past few years. Leveraging the IaaS and PaaS assets of its strategic partners, Informatica has transitioned its business model from selling disparate, legacy products to a unified cloud platform — IDMC — that can support a broader set of use cases and ultimately speak to a maturing audience of customers who are moving away from bespoke integrations.
With the company now on track to exceed $600 million in cloud ARR by the end of 2023, it is fair to say that Informatica’s cloud-based platform approach is resonating in the market. However, the company faces the task of moving legacy PowerCenter customers to IDMC.
Although PowerCenter currently has thousands of customers, the number that will migrate to IDMC will ultimately be determined by Informatica’s ability to convince them that the quality of IDMC matches what they received on premises with PowerCenter.
To fast-track these migrations and unlock additional cross-selling opportunities once customers are in the cloud, Informatica has been investing millions of dollars in R&D to build out IDMC with enhanced capabilities and greater functionality, such as elastic serverless, additional prebuilt data classifications and auto generation, across the cloud product’s seven core modules.
While the current macroeconomic environment is stalling some customers’ cloud projects, Informatica will benefit long-term as customers consolidate multiple data solutions and start to look at data as their greatest business asset. These secular tailwinds, combined with a methodical product focus and partner execution, will help Informatica upgrade its customers to the cloud and better position IDMC as unique in the evolving data landscape.

Informatica Is Helping Customers Modernize PowerCenter at Their Own Pace

Through its Modernization Program, Informatica continues to offer customers a series of self-service products, partner services and support models, and financial incentives to fast-track customers’ adoption of IDMC in the cloud. In one of its latest updates, Informatica announced Cloud Data Integration for PowerCenter (CDI-PC), which essentially allows customers to use their PowerCenter assets in the cloud without migrating any actual metadata.
While Informatica would like to get its legacy customers on IDMC in the cloud, the company, despite no longer selling new licenses, will not end-of-life PowerCenter. Committing to these on-premises customers and not enforcing any sort of migration deadline is notable, and the new CDI-PC offering, available in 2H23, is designed to help customers modernize PowerCenter at their own pace — something that will be highly valued by customers.


Informatica Expands the Scope of IDMC with New Capabilities, Integrations and Industry Data Models

Given its Early Lead in AI for Data Management, Informatica Is Well Positioned to Address the Budding GenAI Opportunity

While currently the foundation of IDMC, CLAIRE has been key to Informatica’s strategy for years, initially supporting the company’s traditional product portfolio with more routine data management tasks like data discovery. Today, the AI engine has scaled to 23 petabytes of metadata and 54 trillion transactions per month, making it well suited to more emerging cloud-ready use cases such as data set recommendations and entity matching, while placing it squarely in front of the next big wave of IT automation: generative AI (GenAI).
Upon its general availability in mid-2023, analysts will be able to ask CLAIRE GPT questions directly through IDMC to automate not only unique data management tasks but also entire data workflows. For example, during the live demo of CLAIRE GPT in the opening keynote session, we were given the scenario of two banks needing to integrate their data sets, housed in different systems, such as Salesforce and SAP, for cross-sell analysis. In this scenario, a user can ask CLAIRE GPT to create a data pipeline that brings data from Salesforce and SAP into Customer 360.
In this scenario, it is clear how CLAIRE GPT can save data teams time, as instead of creating the data pipeline manually themselves, they can go directly to Customer 360 to analyze the newly consolidated data. Currently, we see data pipeline generation as the most critical use case, although it would not be surprising to see CLAIRE GPT extended to more intricate use cases such as data cataloging in the coming years. With the advent of generative AI, it is also easy to speculate about some of the longer-term opportunities.
For example, Informatica could put its own governance capabilities around large language models (LLMs) to help customers understand where the models are being used, their direct purpose and perhaps where model data is being used in training versus production. However, we contend these governance initiatives would require a large reliance on the Big Four advisory partners to complement Informatica’s technology-level expertise with the business governance capabilities required before these LLMs can, or should, be established.
Nonetheless, it is very early days for generative AI, and Informatica, along with the rest of the industry, is still waiting for the enterprise use cases for the LLMs frequently referenced by Amazon Web Services (AWS) (Nasdaq: AMZN), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Google Cloud (Nasdaq: GOOGL) to be more clearly established.
Once the market has a better grasp of the practicality of these models, the long-term opportunities for a company like Informatica around generative AI will become clearer. What we know now is that GPT technology can unlock new efficiencies for data teams, and Informatica’s early lead in AI for data management and vast ownership of intelligent metadata are reasons to be optimistic about the company’s use of generative AI as a vehicle for IDMC adoption.

As New Sustainability Regulations Take Hold, Informatica Helps Customers Make Sense of Their ESG Data

In its latest industry cloud push, Informatica announced IDMC for ESG, which offers fit-for-use data models to help customers make sense of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) data and comply with regulations. This includes the ESG reporting proposal from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which could take effect in early 2024, requiring publicly traded companies to disclose certain metrics such as climate targets and greenhouse gas emissions.
As the regulatory environment changes, particularly across G7 countries, businesses will be faced with the additional burden of meeting government standards, presenting inroads for Informatica to help customers collect, discover, tag, profile and catalog ESG data. IDMC for ESG follows other industry customizations for the platform, including retail, financial services, and healthcare & life sciences, and we expect Informatica will continue to expand in other industries and subverticals with additional data models, custom user interfaces and data quality rules to appeal to highly regulated customers.

In a Three-pronged Approach, Informatica Aligns with Hyperscalers and GSIs to Help Customers Modernize Data in the Cloud

The data cloud opportunity is best viewed through an ecosystem lens, recognizing that hyperscalers, pure play platforms and global systems integrators (GSIs) all play an equally critical role in supporting customers’ data strategies.
When a company like Informatica comes into a customer engagement, there is already a pre-existing hyperscaler-customer relationship, where the customer has identified portfolio gaps and opportunities to improve data management processes in the cloud. Leveraging this existing relationship, Informatica goes to market with GSI partners that understand the architectures of both Informatica and the hyperscaler to help navigate the relationship and address integration and implementation challenges.
In this model, it is clear to see how all parties benefit: the hyperscalers welcome Informatica customers who deploy solutions that maximize their underlying IaaS resources, while Informatica taps into the hyperscalers’ vast base of customers who have moved to the cloud and are looking for ways to turn data into a monetizable asset.
The GSIs are starting to build out their Informatica practices, and Informatica reports over 15,000 certified professionals across Accenture (NYSE: ACN), Deloitte, Capgemini, Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH), Wipro (NYSE: WIT), Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and KPMG. These partners will play an increasingly important role in not only driving IDMC implementations but also supporting advisory-level use cases, such as change management, and helping customers adopt data-first strategies.
Two partnership dynamics for platform vendors to consider:

  1. Partnerships in the data cloud space are multifaceted: With different vendors specializing in a particular area of the data stack, multifaceted partnerships are common and a vendor like Informatica can benefit from two of its own partners working together. Perhaps the best example is the AWS-Snowflake (NYSE: SNOW) relationship. Despite offering competing data warehouse solutions, both companies work together to offer Snowflake’s Data Cloud, which delivers a cloud-native data warehouse, on AWS infrastructure. We suspect the Snowflake-AWS relationship will be a growth driver for Informatica, as Snowflake brings new use cases that are highly reliant on data management, such as analytics, to AWS infrastructure.
  2. Coopetition is real, and pure play platform vendors need to understand where they overlap with their partners: Coopetition, where competition and cooperation overlap, is inevitable in the cloud industry and is easy for vendors to dismiss. However, AWS, Microsoft and Google Cloud — all of which are relied on by the platform companies to go to market — are using their unmatched infrastructure scale to build up the stack. For context, one customer TBR spoke to said: “At some point, and I don’t know when that point is, but PaaS solutions will become more commoditized in what Microsoft or what AWS has to offer, but it’s not there yet for large companies. It might be there for a small company. And I wouldn’t have said that three years ago. But if you’re a small company who’s not heavily regulated like we are, you probably could go pretty native and be quite efficient.” It is true that hyperscalers lack the featurerich capabilities of a company like Informatica, but we expect these vendors will continue to use their IaaS footprint and expertise in areas like data storage, querying and analytics to move further into areas like data cataloging, profiling and governance.


Webinar - Bringing Cloud to the Biggest Buyer: Insights into the U.S. Federal Government Cloud MarketTechnology Business Research, Inc.

Bringing Cloud to the Biggest Buyer: Insights into the U.S. Federal Government Cloud Market

Free webinar: Learn which trends in M&A, resource management and consulting will shape the U.S. federal cloud government market in 2023 and 2024; how AWS, Microsoft and Google are winning opportunities with U.S. federal government agencies; and how the largest federally focused IT services vendors are positioning as cloud professional services providers

As its Partner Strategy Goes From Breadth to Depth, Informatica Builds Tighter Integrations with Hyperscalers to Improve User Experiences

For a neutral platform company like Informatica, the ability to support the broadest set of platforms, tools and providers is a prerequisite. Compatible with data warehouses from the likes of AWS, Snowflake and Google Cloud up to the systems of record like SAP (NYSE: SAP) and Workday (Nasdaq: WDAY), Informatica has proved its ability to effectively partner across the data landscape.
Now, the company’s big focus becomes building better user experiences with partners by offering tightly integrated services natively through hyperscalers. One key example is Informatica making IDMC available as a native ISV service on Microsoft Azure. With this announcement, customers can access all of IDMC directly through the Azure console, using Azure Active Directory with single sign-on (SSO), thus eliminating the need for multiple credentials.
As one of only a handful of ISVs natively integrated with Azure, this announcement is a big milestone in the Informatica-Microsoft partnership, which remains unique as Informatica integrates not only with most aspects of Azure but also with the Dynamics 365 data model. We suspect the new integration will help Informatica further tap into the Microsoft base of customers who are going all in on Azure.
In addition to Microsoft, Informatica announced new integrations with Google Cloud, including MDM SaaS on Google Cloud as well as the launch of IDMC in Google Cloud’s Europe-based cloud regions to support customers required to keep data within European Union borders.
While it may be more difficult for Informatica to work with AWS due to how closely AWS integrates its services, which creates a degree of lock-in for customers, Informatica remains focused on offering customers seamless, native experiences as it does with other hyperscalers. At Informatica World 2023, Informatica launched Cloud Data Integration (CDI) Free for Amazon Redshift, providing customers with another integrated tool that can process up to 20 million rows for ETL (extract, transform, load) or 10 processing hours per month.
At first glance, one might assume AWS’ famed zero-ETL integration between Aurora and Redshift announced at re:Invent last year will box out third-party tools like CDI. However, we see “zero-ETL” as more of a marketing term, and the announcement essentially boils down to glorified data sharing, applicable within the AWS ecosystem. Therefore, there is still a clear path for Informatica to use tools like CDI to get data from outside AWS into Redshift, and once data is there, Informatica can offer additional data management capabilities.


Leveraging partners and organically developing new horizontal and vertical capabilities are helping Informatica position IDMC as the leading end-to-end cloud platform for data management. IDMC and the more comprehensive modules it supports are not only helping Informatica focus on technical use cases but also helping customers realize business outcomes, from meeting service-level agreements (SLAs) to better managing downtime.
This business value was highlighted in numerous customer examples during Informatica World 2023, from Burton, which needed to better understand customer data upon shifting its business model from B2B to B2C, to KPMG, which is leveraging Informatica to deliver software-led offerings to clients as managed services. Informatica will continue to organically invest to keep IDMC relevant in an evolving landscape, addressing demand from customers favoring comprehensive platforms over best-of-breed solutions while warding off infringement from AWS, Microsoft and Google Cloud.

Bringing Cloud to the Biggest Buyer: Insights into the U.S. Federal Government Cloud Market

No single IT services or technology buyer compares to the U.S. federal government, and for more than a decade, cloud technology providers have partnered with global systems integrators to pursue massive government opportunities.
Join Principal Analyst Allan Krans, Senior Analyst John Caucis and Principal Analyst Patrick M. Heffernan Thursday, June 15, 2023, for an in-depth discussion on cloud within the U.S. federal government. This webinar will include exclusive insights from TBR’s upcoming U.S. Federal Cloud Ecosystem Market Landscape, which looks at the strategies, partnering priorities and go-to-market behaviors of the largest cloud players and the most influential IT services vendors serving the U.S. federal government.


In This FREE Webinar on the U.S. Federal Government Cloud Market You’ll Learn:

  • How Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google are pursuing and winning opportunities with U.S. federal government agencies
  • How the largest federally focused IT services vendors, such as Leidos and Booz Allen Hamilton, position themselves as cloud professional services providers
  • Which trends in M&A, resource management and consulting will shape the U.S. federal cloud market for the rest of 2023 and into 2024




Previous TBR webinars can be viewed anytime on TBR’s Webinar Portal. For additional information or to arrange a briefing with our analysts, please contact TBR at [email protected].

EY Puts People First: Navigating Growth with Human-Centric People Advisory Services

In early 2023, TBR met with EY’s Kim Billeter, Americas People Advisory Services leader, Jonathan Sears, Global People Advisory Services Technology leader, PAS US-East leader, and Simon Stanaway, Americas Mobility leader, to discuss progress EY has made in growing People Advisory Services (PAS) within a highly competitive market and during a pandemic. The following reflects that discussion, follow-up discussions and emails, as well as TBR’s ongoing assessment of EY and the broader consulting and IT services space.


For a few years EY has led engagements with the idea that “humans at the center” provides the best path to successful and sustained business transformations. For the firm’s People Advisory Services (PAS) practice, this approach has resonated well with clients, fueling an ambition that EY could be earning $5 billion by 2027 from advising clients on workforce and HR transformation as well as people experience and mobility.


As a practice that provides specific solutions to businesses’ talent management problems and incorporates a range of related services across the rest of EY’s offerings — as well as advising the firm’s own leadership on HR strategies and opportunities — EY PAS has steadily evolved from offering consulting-heavy services with complementary technology solutions to providing an extraordinarily comprehensive array of solutions and services, touching on — and accelerating time to value of — every aspect of talent within an organization. The full breadth of services and the depth of thinking through how every aspect of an enterprise can be positively changed through HR transformation necessitates focusing on a few elements.

Consistent, Steady Strategy — and Robust Results

In TBR’s discussion with Kim Billeter, Americas People Advisory Services leader; Simon Stanaway, Americas Mobility leader; and Jonathan Sears, Global People Advisory Services Technology leader, PAS US-East leader, some of the core principles around HR transformation and people management remained the same as when TBR met with EY PAS in October 2020:

  • When digital transformations fail to meet expectations, it is not because the technology failed, but because the people did.
  • For EY (or any similar consultancy) to serve its clients, the firm must combine a global mindset to address global clients’ cross-border issues (travel, tax, remote working) with local knowledge around culture and compliance.
  • Almost every client transforms iteratively — one step at a time — so success breeds more success, and dashed expectations diminish chances of doing more transformations.


A few quick numbers on EY’s PAS business:

  • 15,200 dedicated staff
  • Over $2 billion in global revenue (in 2022)
  • Will be part of the $10 billion investment EY has committed to “technology, sustainability, strategy, and audit” over the next three years, according to EY PAS leaders


Structurally, PAS includes four transformative solutions areas: Organization and Workforce Transformation, HR Transformation, People Experience, and People Mobility. Underpinning those areas are at least 16 components of an Org & People Platform, including digital assets such as the EY Skills Foundry, EY Global Payroll Strategy Accelerator, and EY Change Insights.


Turning to the business of PAS within EY, the firm’s leaders noted that while only 1% of PAS revenue currently comes from managed services contracts, the firm expects this figure to increase to 15% in the next five years. Consulting and systems implementation engagements currently contribute around 80% of PAS revenue — a figure that is projected to remain about the same in five years. “As a Service” commercial arrangements generate the remaining revenue.


In TBR’s view, expanding opportunities around managed services within PAS dovetails perfectly with the firm’s overall managed services strategy and reflects emerging buyer preferences for managed services pricing and contracts. EY’s PAS leaders also noted that geographic revenue splits have remained fairly constant over the last few years, with Americas around 44%, EMEIA at 39% and APAC the smallest at 17%.


TBR believes EY has the most comprehensive and structured set of offerings centered on what could be described broadly as people and workforce consulting. Big Four peers and HR-centric niche players may have more developed capabilities in specific areas, but no other firm combines an almost exhaustive range of offerings and solutions as neatly organized, managed and brought to market.

EY’s Cybersecurity Practice: Global, Local and Trusted

In TBR’s view, EY continues to operate through a global effort, complicated by regulatory and compliance requirements that vary by country as well as member firms’ different partnership structures. However, at multiple times during the discussion, EY leaders said the firm knew that cybersecurity services required being “local to be there with clients.”

Inspire, Lead, Care, Empower, Build and Collaborate

During the discussion with TBR, EY PAS leaders stressed the importance they placed on leveraging research the firm conducted along with Oxford University, particularly their findings around “six levers [that] should be brought to life through deliberate design from the start and reflection on progress across all phases of” a successful business transformation.


Billeter explained that EY’s Transformation EQ approach could include immersive sessions — preferably at an EY wavespace — during which the client would assess current standing across the six levers: inspire, lead, care, empower, build and collaborate. Billeter and her colleagues stressed the criticality of coming back to all six levers “during the transformation journey” and described successful transformations as being more iterative than huge leaps forward.


TBR questioned whether these six levers could be used as stand-ins for KPIs to measure success across a transformation engagement. Billeter explained that EY’s “value isn’t hitting exact KPIs but getting” to a successful transformation faster and using iterative changes to continually set up the client for the next transformation. TBR has frequently heard HR and digital transformation consultants stress various aspects embedded in EY’s six levers, usually with a heavy emphasis on the approach or idea that resonates most with that consultant’s strength.


With EY’s approach, TBR sees a more comprehensive thinking through of every aspect of change — from “clearly communicate to people why change is needed” to “use technology to quickly show what the vision means” to “work with the influencers in the workforce to cocreate new ways of working.” This approach, based on research and EY’s experience, also keeps humans at the center.

The Currency of the Future

EY PAS leaders discussed the firm’s People Mobility practice, starting with an ambition to reach $1.5 billion in annual revenue by 2027 across Immigration, Core Mobility, and Mobility Managed Services, building on a base of around $1 billion over the last year. The leaders noted fast growth in the Immigration practice and a desire to move more engagements toward Mobility Managed Services, echoing the larger firm’s overall managed services strategy.


In addition, the EY Mobility Pathway solution now has more than 1,000 clients, up from just 140 when EY PAS leaders briefed TBR in October 2020. Within the Organization & Workforce Transformation practice area, Billeter said the EY Skills Foundry platform, in collaboration with around 30 technology partners, had resonated with clients’ “number one [talent management] concern: align and future-proof skills,” which Billeter described as the “currency of the future.”


In TBR’s research around learning and development programs, few consultancies have consistently migrated their own training success to clients’ environments. If EY PAS can continue building on its early adoption by clients of EY Skills Foundry — particularly if the firm expands the kinds of clients into new verticals and develops a broad, but applicable, set of upskilling and reskilling training — this could become a vital anchor into clients’ talent management leaders and provide EY with additional insights into how clients are changing and what consulting and technology needs may be on the near horizon.


Reflecting on an initiative that attracted considerable EY leadership attention pre-pandemic, TBR asked about the current state of badges, an internal program to upskill and reskill professionals using training to become proficient in specific technologies, services, or related subjects. Absent frequent marketing mention of badges, TBR wondered if the effort had fizzled out.


Quite to the contrary, according to EY PAS leaders, who explained that, “Our badges program has gone from strength to strength in PAS, with over 13,500 badges awarded to PAS professionals globally since the Badge program’s inception, over 2,800 of them earned this fiscal year [July 2022 to now]. We have broadened our badge offering to our people to ensure they have the opportunity to upskill in areas that are directly relevant to their roles, such as Analytics, Design Thinking, Inclusion and Belonging and Sustainability, as well as heavily in demand future-focused technology skills in the market like Cloud and Quantum Computing.”


EY PAS leaders continued, adding that, “PAS also has a curated path to both the Tech MBA and the Sustainability MBA that we offer through Hult University, ensuring our people can see an achievable path through their work to this qualification. PAS has even created our own Change Management badge in partnership with Hult under the Transformation subdomain, which is owned and curated by our global leadership, and in its first year we’ve had 1,523 completions, and another 2,771 people initiate the badge.”


In TBR’s view, EY’s sustained commitment to this effort reinforces EY’s “humans at the center” ethos. Aside from financial compensation, few job elements rank higher for most employees than continued professional development and consistent recognition for work well done. Badges may have seemed like a simple gamification of learning and development when EY launched the program, but continuing to invest in and evolve badges demonstrates a substantial commitment to its people.

Powering Transformation Through Granularity

In a special session with Sears, TBR asked about EY’s Organization & Talent Hub (OTH), a SaaS-like offering that seemed, at first glance, to be more about EY’s technology than its consulting expertise. Sears set TBR straight. The OTH is a suite of “cloud-based tools to enable real-time access to data and insights to accelerate workforce decisions,” but is not sold through a SaaS engagement, although the EY proprietary software does stay with the client.


Sears explained that EY uses a variety of tools to scan a client’s various IT and organizational layers, scan client data, and then model out various scenarios on potential future states of the organization. According to Sears, the OTH suite “offers the granularity necessary for forecasting workforce needs, planning the new organization, selecting and retaining talent, while tracking workforce movements as plans are implemented.”


While OTH is unquestionably a software-enabled solution, Sears stressed the consulting underpinning every OTH deployment and added that the firm has seen success incorporating OTH into M&A consulting engagements. Like the rest of EY’s PAS portfolio, OTH is extraordinarily comprehensive: the governance elements alone implicate an enterprise’s transformation management office as well as HR, operations, finance and IT functions. In reviewing Sears’ presentation and reflecting on the discussion, TBR can confirm EY has seemingly thought of every angle needed to “power … organization restructuring, talent realignment, and cost-savings visibility.”

What Is and What Will Be

Based on the extensive discussions with EY PAS leaders, including a recent session on the implications of generative AI, TBR will be watching three developments over the next year:

  • EY’s Skills Foundry could set the standard to address growing demand for knowledge development in emerging technologies. Skills is the “currency of the future,” compelling EY and its Big Four peers and other competitors to focus on delivering around clients’ skills development, including measuring progress, recalibrating learning and development initiatives, and maintaining trust. In TBR’s Digital Transformation Voice of the Customer research, consulting clients have increasingly called for more assistance bringing their own people up to speed on emerging technologies, enabling the clients to fully leverage the technologies they purchase.
  • In-person immersive workshops return to set the stage for transformation initiatives. HR professionals have been perhaps the most stressed and overworked knowledge management employees in the past three years (an exaggeration? Consider the rush to all-remote working at the start of the pandemic, then back-to-office policies, followed by spiking attrition, and now a wave of tech sector layoffs, all managed by HR professionals). If any group deserves a couple days of understanding the art-of-the-possible in an off-site setting — maybe seeing the intricacies of the OTH — it is HR professionals. TBR anticipates a resurgence of investments in physical spaces for innovation and iterative transformation sessions, even if the 2023 wave does not match the pre-pandemic tsunami.
  • The focus on cost combined with AI and automation will severely challenge enterprises’ efforts to build employee loyalty. EY PAS may find a need to subtly position its value proposition around sustaining trust — across employees, leaders, and even ecosystem partners — as everyone worries about their own value in an AI future.


According to TBR’s 4Q22 Global Delivery Benchmark, which tracks 14 IT services vendors’ resource management strategies: “Finding bright spots that are not simply tactical and short term, but rather facilitate a long-term transition toward becoming a platform-enabled business in times of crisis, has compelled vendors to double down on their investments in AI. For a while, vendors’ AI investments have been largely geared toward adding skills and capabilities in areas such as data science and data engineering through acquisitions, as it remains highly ineffective for vendors to invest in and groom AI-ready talent internally. At the same time, there are many business decisions that depend on more than just managing structured data. To extract the most value from AI investments, vendors must consider addressing the economies of change management internally and offering it ‘as a Service’ while taking incremental steps toward adopting sophisticated automation systems such as GenAI.


“Carefully integrating AI skills and IP will be critical to vendors’ ability to secure future investments. As buyers expect GenAI to help them generate better customer insights and improve employee productivity, vendors must carefully manage buyer expectations, as simply adding another, more sophisticated technology to a broken process will likely skew results.”


One final note: EY’s PAS practice may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the firm’s decision to forgo a split (see the upcoming TBR special report on the end of Project Everest). EY PAS leaders repeatedly told TBR that PAS professionals work across all of the firm’s practices and benefit from doors opened by colleagues in EY’s strategy consulting, tax, audit and cybersecurity practices. In TBR’s view, the firm’s ability to pull together a truly holistic set of services for enterprise clients strengthens EY’s brand and value. And if humans are at the center, PAS is at the center of that value proposition.

PTC Liveworx Showcases Evolving Alliances and Trends in Partnering

A look at the three alliances trends noted during PTX Liveworx in Boston: Selling, trust and engineering DNA

SoftwareOne Brings Intimate Knowledge of Clients to Meet Software and Services Needs

In late April, TBR attended SoftwareOne’s inaugural Global Analyst Summit in Milwaukee for two days of presentations, break-out sessions, and — because it is Milwaukee — baseball. The following reflects the presentations and discussions in Milwaukee, as well as TBR’s ongoing research around SoftwareOne and its peers in the IT services, cloud services and VAR markets.

SoftwareOne Acquires Beniva in ServiceNow Expansion Play

In a discussion with TBR, SoftwareOne’s regional vice president & transformation leader, explained that the acquisition of Beniva would help SoftwareOne move more expansively into the ServiceNow space, but in a manner that plays to two of SoftwareOne’s strengths: value-added software reselling and ITAM services.

Telecom Infrastructure Services Market Expectations Through 2027

Free webinar: Learn key growth drivers and detractors expected in the telecom infrastructure services (TIS) market through 2027 as well as how government spend and geopolitics will influence the TIS market and which vendors are positioned to capitalize on market trends

Accenture and SAP Amplify the Value of the Ecosystem Through the Lenses of Compressed Transformation

Compounding the emphasis on the services and technology capabilities of Accenture and SAP at the Accenture SAP Leadership Council was a parade of client presentations that reinforced the ecosystem theme in large part through its ecosystem’s diversity, with clients representing the high-tech, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, telecom and utilities industries, among others.

What Is Driving Wireless Revenue Growth for U.S. Operators?

Despite the relatively mature smartphone market, the majority of U.S. telecom operators were able to sustain year-to-year wireless revenue growth in 4Q22. Though inflation is limiting discretionary spending, operators are withstanding these pressures as wireless connectivity remains essential to most consumer and business customers. However, operators are being impacted by certain customers seeking lower-priced service plans to accommodate their tighter budgets, which is spurring operators to introduce new entry-level service plans, such as Verizon’s Welcome Unlimited plan.