Disrupting, but not disrupted: Accenture pivoted to become a solutions broker through innovation

No single vendor can do it on its own, not even Accenture

While maintaining a workforce bench that can operate in hybrid IT environments remains key to Accenture’s long-term success, managing relationships with core technology partners also adds another building block to the company’s foundation. As seen with talent-based conversations, discussions around Accenture’s ecosystem were part of almost every single presentation during the two-day conference. While Accenture maintains relationships with over 200 technology partners, SAP (NYSE: SAP), Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) and Workday (Nasdaq: WDAY) are the top five platforms that truly move the needle for the company, helping it generate approximately 40% of services revenue.

From codeveloping solutions to engaging in joint go-to-market and sales efforts, Accenture recognizes the need to prioritize solutions with specific partners to operate in a more agile way, as the company rapidly departs from being truly technology agnostic. TBR does not necessarily think this is a bad move considering that the majority of Accenture’s clients operate in one or more of these technology environments, which alleviates the pain points around migrating applications workloads from on-premises only to hybrid IT environments. Additionally, according to TBR’s digital transformation insights research, the majority of DT buyers are in the “extension” phase, which entails buyers adding disruptive technology that allows for significant improvements to an existing ecosystem.

While Accenture, like many of its consultancy peers, often approaches client discussions with business outcomes in mind, maintaining functional expertise around a particular technology usually tips the scale in Accenture’s favor, considering that the IT buyer still maintains an active role in the DT services purchasing cycle.

Accenture Industry Analyst Conference 2019 was held at Accenture’s Innovation Hub, located in the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. Accenture’s relationship with Salesforce, one of the top five platforms contributing to Accenture’s sales, has evolved over the years, especially as Accenture has made eight Salesforce-centric acquisitions, enabled by the Accenture Salesforce Business Group, to reach its current status. The two partners are well intertwined, evidenced by the fact that Accenture is the only partner that works on product and service cocreation with Salesforce as well as the global scale and commitment to training Accenture resources on Salesforce technologies including over 16,500 Salesforce-skilled professionals, 17 global hubs and over 55,000 training hours last year, among other attributes.  

TBR does not discount the importance of SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Workday or any other partners — the first three of which were highlighted heavily during the conference through myConcerto for SAP and Oracle and Accenture Microsoft Business Group as well as through client use cases. However, we think the opportunity around Salesforce is somewhat unique considering it is born-on-the-cloud technology delivered in an “as a Service” model, toward which Accenture is moving its legacy and new business.  

During the two-day Accenture Industry Analyst Conference 2019 in early May, Accenture (NYSE: ACN) hosted close to two dozen analysts at its recently opened flagship Innovation Hub, which is strategically located in Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. As part of the event’s “Leading the epic disruption” theme, key topics, including Accenture’s investments in the new “new,” its partner ecosystem and its talent, were widely discussed, solidifying TBR’s view of Accenture as a market leading vendor but also raising questions about what is next for the company and what kind of disruption Accenture is facing and anticipating.     

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