Update: This blog post was updated June 5, 2023, to reflect the change from The Big Six, the 150, and the Future of Accenture’s Alliances, originally published in November 2018, to The Big 10, the 200, and Accenture’s Ever Successful Alliance Strategy.
Accenture Masters the Value of Relationships
The ecosystem proves invaluable for participants to explore, especially as vendor consolidation and technology stack simplification become top of mind for buyers that are increasingly pivoting their digital transformation programs toward digital optimization. Demonstrating value requires trust within the ecosystem, and Accenture’s success in recent years provides a robust framework for what it takes to earn and maintain that trust.
What Has Changed?
- Accenture has grown from being a $40 billion company in 2018 to an almost $63 billion company today.
- Ten of Accenture’s top alliance partnerships currently generate 50% of the company’s business. In 2018 Accenture’s top six relationships enabled it to capture 25% of the company’s business.
- Workday, ServiceNow, Adobe and IBM have joined SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, Google, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft as Accenture’s top strategic partners.
What Has Stayed the Same?
- Accenture claims to maintain a technology-agnostic strategy, with the company’s roster now spanning over 200 alliance partners.
- Accenture Ventures remains the conduit to forging innovation-centric relationships with startups, thus providing a system of checks and balances for Accenture’s portfolio without the additional risk that comes with investing in R&D at scale — an important move, especially during economic downturns.
- Because Accenture maintains its household-name status among IT buyers, many IT services peers and tech vendors seek to emulate or pursue a relationship with the company.
How to Partner with Accenture
Who Does Accenture Partner with?
Technology providers, both large and niche, compete for Accenture’s attention when seeking to establish long-term alliance relationships.
What Types of Clients Does Accenture Target?
Accenture is primarily focused on servicing the large enterprise first and expanding its roster of Diamond clients, which help the company generate over $100 million in annual sales. While Accenture also targets the upper midmarket, these clients are often looking for better-priced solutions.
What Should Partners Bring to Accenture?
Deploying price-competitive “as a Service” offerings is key for partners to maintain the interest of both Accenture and targeted clients as Accenture tries to offset the use of premium-priced consultants with the use of automated project management solutions.
How Do Culture and Organizational Structure Impact Partnering?
Accenture also focuses on service execution through its well-oiled command-and-control culture, which shapes the company’s expectations — best commercial construct possible, executed with rigor and discipline — of its partners. Further, Accenture comes from a position of strength and often sets the terms of its relationships with smaller vendors. Lastly, joint ventures and business groups are frameworks Accenture pursues with key alliances.
How Can Partners Separate Themselves From the Pack?
While Accenture manages such relationships, mostly with large technology providers to demonstrate trust within the ecosystem, vendors seeking to capture Accenture’s attention can approach the company by taking on additional risk and investing — from both a human and financial standpoint — in establishing business groups. These relationships are often set through top-down executive and management oversight.
What to Expect in the Next 5 years
- Accelerated adoption of generative AI in portfolio development and service delivery will force Accenture to align the company’s expectations with its partners’ sales and go-to-market motions.
- Accenture will increasingly rely on standardized offerings to move into the midmarket and upper-midmarket spaces, thus creating opportunities for smaller vendors to partner with the company.
- Twenty of Accenture’s more than 300 alliance partners will enable it to generate over 80% of the company’s revenue. TBR believes Accenture will likely grow at a 5.87% CAGR from 2022 through 2027 to reach $83 billion in annual revenue, with the range between the lower and upper confidence intervals, all things being equal, expected to be between $70.1 billion and $106 billion.
The bottom line: Even for a behemoth like Accenture, success depends on being a good player in the technology ecosystem. Maintaining service quality backed by internal knowledge management and skilled staff retention will remain key to protect trust within the ecosystem.