Executive change at Accenture portends changes for the market leader

With Julie Sweet appointed the next CEO of Accenture and David Rowland named the executive chairman of the board, the company doubles down on its proven go-to-market strategy and delivery frameworks. However, as Accenture strengthens its core as a technology organization and Accenture Technology plays a pivotal role in North America’s performance (Sweet was previously CEO of Accenture North America), TBR Senior Analyst Boz Hristov says a couple of questions remain:

  • Will Sweet bring a clear vision and execution strategy for the company’s IP, in particular around monetizing it?
  • Should Accenture consider spinning off its Accenture Software business as a separate entity and launch a mature startup-like software organization?

We do not expect major changes in Accenture’s strategy and/or performance in the short term; however, as with any new CEO, one should always expect some degree of change. Only time will tell if that change will be minimal or involve a 180. As TBR recently noted, Accenture delivered record-breaking quarterly revenue, with growth increasing 3.8% year-to-year in USD (8.4% in local currency) to $11.1 billion in FY3Q19, as the company’s aggressive investments in “the new” are paying off, as the segment now contributes over 60% of total sales and expanding at double digits in constant currency. While many of the new opportunities for Accenture stem from investing in innovative offerings (e.g., Industry X.0) and building out relationships with new buyers, demand for application services in connection with adopting intelligent ERP systems, enabled by key partners such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce and Workday, drove double-digit revenue growth in local currency, with the segment generating 40% of sales.

Additional assessments publishing this week from our analyst teams

Ericsson has made significant progress in its latest restructuring initiative, leading to higher margins and a more focused go-to-market strategy. The company has also lately been helped by the ongoing deployment of 5G and 5G-ready networks in the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, South Korea. U.S. spend on 5G will accelerate as operators aim to gain a competitive advantage, and Ericsson is positioned to capitalize. In our 2Q19 Ericsson Initial Response, we will examine Ericsson’s continued restructuring progress and monitor its status as a leading 5G RAN supplier. — Michael Soper, Senior Analyst

TBR will publish its 2Q19 Oracle Cloud report on Thursday, discussing where Oracle sits in its quest for cloud dominance, the status of autonomous database adoption and the expected impact of Oracle’s alliance with co-AWS-rival, Microsoft Azure. — Meaghan McGrath, Senior Analyst

Application software vendors continue to realize healthy growth of subscription revenues, accompanied by accelerating declines in licensing, as reported in the upcoming Applications Software Vendor Benchmark. Application vendors aggressively pursue cross-selling of subscription solutions to generate scale and protect operating margins as the cloud sales mix increases. This is particularly true for multiline vendors with substantial legacy license bases, though these vendors are well positioned to upsell existing customers to cloud alternatives by emphasizing the value of deploying managed, unified suites between the front and back office. — Meaghan McGrath

SAP will release its 2Q19 earnings on Thursday, uncovering the near-term impact of its highly transparent restructuring effort. TBR will discuss this, as well as portfolio developments related to C/4HANA and Qualtrics application releases, in our SAP Cloud Initial Response, which will publish on Friday. — Meaghan McGrath

IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat officially closed on July 9 and will impact the trajectory of the business for the remainder of 2019 and beyond. TBR’s Initial Response report will touch on this and other developments at IBM in 2Q19, including within the company’s Systems Hardware business. — Stephanie Long, Analyst

IBM Services continues with its portfolio realignment initiatives to deliver higher-value and higher-margin services that integrate technology and industry expertise and enable clients’ digital reinventions. While IBM Services’ activities around advising, building, moving and managing next-generation technology solutions are increasing, it will take time before the shifting business mix returns sustainable revenue growth. — Elitsa Bakalova, Senior Analyst

On Friday TBR’s 2Q19 IBM Cloud Initial Response is publishing, detailing the company’s last full quarter without Red Hat. Recent and ongoing portfolio investments, particularly at the platform layer, are expected to help boost IBM’s cloud revenue in the second quarter. — Cassandra Mooshian, Senior Analyst

TBR’s 1Q19 Hosted Private Cloud Benchmark discusses how vendors with hybrid PaaS and IaaS portfolios that span vendor and customer data centers are well positioned to capture additional hosted private cloud market share. IBM and Google continue to enhance their Kubernetes-based platforms to be increasingly infrastructure and environment agnostic while Amazon Web Services and Microsoft focus on hybrid cloud stacks, with emphasis on the IaaS layer. — Cassandra Mooshian

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