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Intelligent supply chain and ports: Atos on the present and future of digital transformation in port operations

Applying emerging technologies to supply chains  

In a wide-ranging discussion, Atos Technology and Innovation Lead Erwin Dijkstra and his colleague Bas Stroeken, Scrum Master & Pre-sales Consultant – Intelligent Supply Chain, shared a few key insights into their company’s strategy on integrating emerging technologies, such as AI, blockchain and IoT, into maritime port ecosystems, highlighting Atos’ current clients and use cases. Noting that Atos’ client base includes airports as well as traditional supply chain solutions buyers (such as manufacturers), Dijkstra and Stroeken described Atos’ differentiation as its ability to integrate across an entire enterprise and ecosystem, optimize around delivery times, and build a platform for intelligent supply chain management, which Atos then manages as a service to the client. A critical factor for Atos’ clients, according to Dijkstra and Stroeken, has been the company’s in-depth examination of actors and roles within an enterprise and how those actors will engage with the platform. Various roles require different information and options in the event of an out-of-plan event, making the ideal platform more than simply a collection of data points and alerts. As Stroeken explained, real-time insights are meaningless if everything is going according to plan (think Homer Simpson working at the nuclear power plant — all good, until it is not). When something deviates from expectations, multiple actors need to be alerted, informed and given options for remediation. With multiple actors involved, real-time information becomes critical as one person’s decision nearly always impacts options or needed actions for others in the ecosystem.

Bringing the discussion back to the broader enterprise level, Stroeken made two observations that resonated with TBR. First, professionals tasked with managing supply chains within many enterprises are not deeply experienced in AI, which necessitates Atos acting as the bridge between the technology and the humans who need to understand it, deploy it and benefit from it. Second, as Stroeken said, “Collaboration begins with the proper sharing of data,” which may be a perfect mantra for digital transformation and emerging technologies.

Atos provided two additional use cases, both tied to port operations, specifically customs, an area in which Atos has expertise. In the first, natural language processing and AI contribute to understanding the text in customs forms, improving and expediting the classification process. In more colorful terms, Dijkstra explained how a drone could be classified as a toy, a military use item, or a camera, all with different tax implications, creating a need for assistance among customs agents to get the classifications correct. In a second use case, Atos helps cargo screeners operate more efficiently and with fewer random checks by scanning containers with X-ray machines and using AI to match the images to the manifests. In both cases, Atos operates as the integrator, bringing together various emerging technologies and providing the platform for clients’ continued operations.

TBR and Atos also discussed blockchain as a tool across the maritime shipping and supply chain ecosystems. While the well-known benefits of increased transparency and a more level playing field appeal to enterprises across the shipping world, including manufacturers, ports and shipping operators, Atos’ role primarily comes through facilitating adoption and overcoming the human barriers, such as lack of trust in the technology and uncertainty around data-sharing (see the collaboration mantra above). In TBR’s view, blockchain solutions apply more readily to supply chain than nearly any other use case outside of bitcoin. Atos’ approach — which assumes the technology has been proved secure and reliable, but the humans need coaching — reflects what TBR believes will be the long-term reality for blockchain.

We continue to be intrigued by ports as test beds for emerging technologies and as starter kits for large-scale smart cities. Following a presentation on IoT by Dijkstra, TBR analysts discussed intelligent supply chain solutions, ports and emerging technologies with Dijkstra and Stroeken, including details about Atos’ use cases and current offerings. The following reflects that discussion as well as TBR’s analysis of the consulting and IT services opportunities around emerging technologies, including insights from TBR’s Digital Transformation portfolio and Management Consulting Benchmark.

IT services vendors react as the pandemic persists

TBR perspective

The first theme to emerge in TBR’s discussions with industry participants — coping with COVID-19 — centered on the maturation of approaches, solutions and ongoing concerns across the IT services space. Vendors continue to prioritize employee safety while increasingly looking to employee productivity measures, and continue to prioritize sales and go-to-market motions around retaining existing clients. Not surprisingly, some vendors have seen the pandemic’s sustained presence as an opportunity to organize offerings and solutions around pandemic-dedicated business units. The second theme, based on extensive discussions with IT services and consulting leaders over the last six weeks, focused on positioning for 2021 and recognizing that this annus horribilis must end before enterprises can truly return to growth. While IT services vendors and consultancies have seen some profit and growth pockets, notably in cloud and security, the overall sentiment can be summed up as, “Survive and operate now; grow next year.” The final theme, emerging from the vendors’ earnings releases last quarter and in-depth discussions with subject matter experts in areas such as supply chains, healthcare IT and outsourcing operations, was scale. Many people TBR spoke with believe scale matters more now than ever, in large part because sustaining operations and retaining talent through what will be a chaotic end to 2020 and a likely rocky start to 2021 require sound financials, the ability to pivot resources to new areas, and the wherewithal to acquire talent and serve new clients when smaller vendors collapse. TBR expects this last theme to carry well into 2021 as federal, state and local budgets begin to feel the pinch of dramatically reduced tax collections caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns. With the overlay of these themes, TBR sees the following six topics as key for 2020.

COVID-19: Coping with employees

Having managed or muddled through the shift to all-remote working and delivery, IT services vendors and consultancies have now begun to face challenges around reopening their offices, including establishing newly defined roles and restructured physical spaces, with variations across every region and country. Companies need to wrestle with setting new work-from-home policies, right-sizing real estate and addressing lingering worries around the virus. In this transitional phase, IT services vendors and consultancies can test their own technology solutions and change management even as they roll out return-to-workplace offerings for clients. For the most aggressive companies, IT services will encompass areas as basic as connectivity and as pandemic-specific as biometrics, telemedicine, enhanced IoT and contact tracing. As vendors do begin allowing employees to return to their offices, some are looking to embrace a hybrid approach with employees working both remotely and on-site, which requires further adapting to remote-working tactics.

Coping with clients

Retaining clients and securing a larger piece of a shrinking budgetary pie continue to be IT services vendors’ and consultancies’ primary concerns with respect to clients as the pandemic continues depressing economic activity, particularly in hard-hit industries, such as transportation and retail. Further disrupting traditional sales motions, attracting and landing new logos has become vastly more difficult in an all-virtual environment, challenging IT services vendors and consultancies to develop novel ways to promote new offerings to existing and potential clients. TBR expects to see changes in marketing spend, particularly as companies begin learning what promotional efforts do and don’t work in an all-virtual reality.

Moving into a third quarter of pandemic-caused disruptions across the entire IT services and consulting space, TBR has spoken with vendors and clients across three broad themes — coping with COVID-19, positioning for 2021 and scaling — leading us to focus our 2H20 intelligence gathering and analysis on six topics.

Device market disruptors

AR, VR, smart speakers and AI chips are part of the digital transformation story

New technologies have driven growth in the consumer device market. Smart speakers are ubiquitous, and adoption of these devices has grown faster than for any new product since smartphones. AR and VR adoption is growing more slowly but the technology is important in entertainment and gaming. Most new smartphones include specialized AI chips. TBR believes all of these technologies are beginning to affect the enterprise and that their influence is growing. Join Ezra Gottheil as he discusses how these new technologies are playing an evolving and growing role in the commercial market.

  Don’t miss:

  • How the conversational interface of smart speakers will drive data utilization          
  • How AR and VR will improve training and performance
  • How new AI chips will spread machine learning in business

TBR webinars are held typically on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ET and include a 15-minute Q&A session following the main presentation. Previous 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].

HPE’s CMS unit reemerges as a software-centric contender in the new network architecture

TBR perspective  

TBR believes HPE’s CMS unit has the potential to become a significant disruptor in the telecom space. CMS, which had been marginalized in prior years while Hewlett Packard Co. split into HP Inc. and HPE and as HPE executed divestitures, restructurings and developed a new strategy, has received new life after obtaining corporate sponsorship from HPE’s relatively new CEO, Antonio Neri, and CFO, Tarek Robbiati, who was formerly the CFO at Sprint (NYSE: S). CMS leadership reports directly to Robbiati. With the C-Suite and board of directors providing corporate support, the telecom vertical will become a key growth pillar for HPE going forward, given the technology transformation and business model transformation that is being prompted by 5G, edge computing, AI and automation. 

The CMS unit represents only a small percentage of HPE’s total revenue, but the unit is a key gateway into emerging opportunities that are impacting the telecom vertical. CMS is reestablishing itself in the market as a growth engine for HPE corporate and is receiving the funding and support required to drive its portfolio, particularly in the management and orchestration (MANO), 5G core, and digital identity spaces. TBR believes CMS is positioned to be a key vendor in the new network architecture, which will be microservices-based, cloud-native and distributed.

CMS faces some notable hurdles, including the negative perception of its capabilities that followed the bad press it received as a supplier and the prime systems integrator for Telefonica’s (NYSE: TEF) software-defined transformation initiative back in 2015. The company was eventually replaced by several other suppliers. TBR believes the lingering effects of this situation have hindered CMS’ growth over the past few years, but notes that CMS has put the incident in its rearview mirror and is making significant headway moving forward.

CMS’ mindshare and credibility are moving in a positive direction, and the unit is gaining significant traction in CSP accounts, particularly for its Service Orchestrator and NFV Director MANO offerings. CMS has an impressive roster of CSP customers and has played a behind-the-scenes role in several significant network transformation projects, including SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM) and Vodafone (Nasdaq: VOD). These reference wins will be critical to positioning HPE as a contender in new RFPs, particularly in disruptive areas such as MANO and 5G core.

CMS is challenged by OSS domain incumbents like Amdocs (Nasdaq: DOX) and Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC), which CSPs will be reluctant to move on from due to possible migration and integration issues. This hesitancy could also prohibit the majority of CSPs from altering their procurement models to adopt more modular solutions, as webscales have done. CMS’ portfolio is increasingly aligned to this trend. The most difficult challenge may be delivering on helping CSPs become more than the connectivity provider or “dumb pipe” in a 5G world. Vendors will be jockeying to deliver this dream, but HPE may be better served focusing on providing the solutions that will enable CSPs to run the most efficient, cost-effective networks possible.

HPE (NYSE: HPE) hosted its first ever North America Communications and Media Solutions (CMS) Analyst Summit in Boston, bringing along top leadership from the company’s CMS business, who delved into CMS’ strategy and portfolio as well as key customer wins and success stories. Following executive presentations, which were interactive in nature, with industry analysts able to pose questions to presenters, analysts received one-on-one time with CMS VP and General Manager Phil Mottram, CMS Chief Technology Officer Jeff Edlund, CMS VP of R&D and Delivery Mark Colaluca, and CMS VP of Product Strategy and Lifecycle Management Domenico Convertino.

With CMS recently emerging from the shadows of HPE’s Pointnext business and retooling its portfolio to align with demand from communications service providers (CSPs), executives were upbeat about CMS’ ability to take market share and compete with highly entrenched incumbent vendors and startups alike.

Investments in acquisitions and startups enrich Capgemini’s next-generation solutions portfolio and improve its competitive position

Capgemini has taken multiple steps to enhance its portfolio to drive transformations through next-generation technologies and create business value for clients. The acquisition of Altran to deliver digital transformation in the industrial sector, enhanced relationships with Microsoft around Microsoft Azure solutions and with SAP around certification of industry innovation accelerators in manufacturing and retail, and investment in startups and joint commercial activities exemplify Capgemini’s recent activities to advance its competitive position,” said Senior Analyst Elitsa Bakalova. “Offering deep industry expertise improves Capgemini’s ability to address clients’ business-specific challenges. The company will continue to experience momentum in cloud services, with cloud revenue driven by offerings in the Capgemini Cloud Platform portfolio that support clients when building, migrating and managing applications and infrastructures in cloud environments. Offering each client its entire portfolio of solutions enables Capgemini to provide holistic transformational solutions and effectively compete with peers. The expanded partnership with Microsoft around Microsoft Azure solutions will enable Capgemini to increase cloud professional services activities, especially around cloud application development and maintenance.”

Additional assessments publishing this week from our analyst teams

Apple continues to pursue both service and hardware initiatives to maintain growth. The company is leveraging services and its wide install base to grow continuous revenue streams as device refresh activity wanes amid lengthening device life cycles and slowing hardware advances. While services are growing as a cornerstone strategy for Apple, the company also remains focused on maintaining its market perception as the most advanced smartphone producer. TBR expects the iPhone 11, which is slated to be released later in 2019, to have steady sales, but Apple will likely not see breakout sales like that of the iPhone X until the release of the 2020 model, which will deliver larger hardware upgrades such as 5G enablement. — Dan Callahan, Analyst

Google doubled its revenue over the past six quarters, surpassing $2 billion in 2Q19 as the vendor migrates customers to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and attains particularly strong revenue growth from selling analytics. Google’s PaaS business will continue to drive revenue growth as enterprises integrate their hybrid environment with Anthos and leverage Google’s analytics, AI and machine learning offerings. In addition, Google supplements growth with G Suite as the company’s growing sales base brings industry-specific versions of the collaboration suite to market and cross-sells G Suite into GCP-oriented customer engagements. — Jack McElwee, Research Analyst

Cognizant has reworked its corporate strategy to emphasize the criticality of digital technologies to its growth plans. Pursuing acquisitions, such as that of Meritsoft, enables Cognizant to diversify its revenue mix, fostering new sources of digital revenues within key verticals. We expect Cognizant will maintain steady revenue growth year-to-year, largely led by demand around its digital operations capabilities.    — Kelly Lesiczka, Analyst

An integrated sales structure, paired with investments in price-competitive AI solutions and on-site presence, will help Infosys transform its brand identity. At the same time as Infosys builds a healthy pipeline, the company may need to calibrate stakeholders’ expectations around margins to sustain trust. — Boz Hristov, Senior Analyst

Reinforcing Verizon’s reputation as a premium wireless service provider will be essential for the operator to sustain revenue growth in the 5G era, as competitive pressures from T-Mobile will intensify, especially given the pending Sprint merger. Though Verizon will continue to trail T-Mobile in postpaid phone net additions over the next several years, Verizon will be able to sustain revenue growth by attracting customers willing to pay a higher price for the operator’s network coverage and premium unlimited data plans. Steve Vachon, Analyst

Sprint continues to undercut its rivals as the operator remains reliant on competitive pricing to attract subscribers given its subpar network coverage, though the company is moving away from more aggressive promotions, such as its previous Cut Your Bill in Half offer, to improve average revenue per user (ARPU). Sprint will continue to struggle to balance ARPU and subscriber growth, however, as many customers are unwilling to pay higher prices for the company’s network quality and Sprint is experiencing high churn rates from customers rolling off promotional pricing offers. — Steve Vachon

Public sector IT services spotlight: The U.S. federal earnings season continues the week of July 29 with three services-led defense contractors — Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), Leidos and ManTech — releasing their fiscal results for the second calendar quarter of 2019.

As reported on Monday, July 29, Booz Allen Hamilton delivered 10.8% year-to-year growth during 2Q19, the first quarter of its fiscal 2020, and 100% of BAH’s growth was organic as the company continues to eschew acquisitions. BAH’s strong performance in 2Q19 reflects how ideally positioned the company is to serve its federal clientele, as well as a growing number of commercial entities, with a high-value, differentiated solutions suite spanning the strategy, mission and critical IT needs of public and private sector clients alike. As a result of its strong 2Q19 year-to-year growth, BAH is also likely to be the top-performing organic growth vendor in TBR’s upcoming 2Q19 Public Sector IT Services Benchmark (publishing in early October). BAH’s growth and margin performance (operating margin of 9.8%) in 2Q19 mostly outstripped that of the trio of federal competitors that released 2Q19 earnings and fiscal performance last week: Raytheon (YTY growth of 5.3%; operating margin of 9.1%); General Dynamics Information Technology (YTY contraction of 11.6%; operating margin of 7.1%); and Northrop Grumman Technology Services (YTY contraction of 0.4%; operating margin of 10.8%). We believe BAH’s performance relates directly to its solution set, which sits at the juncture of federal agency IT and mission objectives with a differentiating blend of consulting, technology and emerging solutions.           John Caucis, Senior Analyst  

Leidos will release its earnings on Tuesday, July 30, and is expected to post top-line, year-to-year growth of between 5% and 7% to reach about $2.7 billion in 2Q19 revenue. Growth will derive from Leidos’ continued strong pace of new awards, net increases in volume across several high-profile programs, and improving win rates, which are accelerating the conversion of pipeline opportunities into bookings and revenue. Leidos should also be able to offset the wind-down of existing programs and some limited currency headwinds from unfavorable swings in the U.S. dollar. The company has guided for 2019 revenue of between $10.5 billion and $10.9 billion, implying a median 5% growth rate, and record backlog levels achieved in prior quarters positions Leidos well to achieve its projections. — John Caucis  

Finally, ManTech will release its 2Q19 fiscal performance and earnings after business hours on Wednesday, July 31. ManTech’s latest strategic acquisition (Kforce Government Solutions, or KGS) will add roughly $100 million in new revenue and expand ManTech’s opportunity set in the federal civilian segment, augmenting robust Department of Defense (DOD) and intelligence growth while inorganically boosting ManTech’s top-line growth (projected to be between 6% and 8% in 2Q19). ManTech’s top-line growth in 2Q19 should be significantly augmented by the KGS acquisition, as the purchase closed in April and immediately began to contribute inorganic revenue to ManTech’s top line. On an organic basis, classified customers continue to accelerate spend with ManTech, while spending on behalf of ManTech’s principal DOD and Intelligence Community clients continues trending upward. Prior to the KGS acquisition, ManTech tendered a 2019 outlook for full-year 2019 revenue of between $2.05 billion and $2.15 billion, implying growth of between 4.7% and 9.8% over FY18 revenue of $1.96 billion. KGS is expected to contribute between $60 million and $80 million in inorganic revenue during the latter nine months of FY19; this compelled ManTech to elevate its prior guidance for FY19 revenue to instead reach between $2.13 billion and $2.21 billion, implying growth of between 8.8% and 12.8% over FY18. — John Caucis  

IBM makes major strides in quantum with Volume and AI

  • IBM Quantum Volume creates a new way to assess a quantum computer’s capabilities as a whole system, rather than just based on its number of qubits.
  • IBM unveils research into the intersection between quantum computing and machine learning.

IBM, ever present in the development of cutting-edge technology, is a leader in the quantum computing space and brought its IBM Q System One to market in January. This came after the company provided access to three of its quantum systems through the cloud. TBR notes that providing access to actual quantum systems, and not simply quantum simulators via the cloud, differentiates IBM’s capabilities from those of peers. Currently, a key purpose of providing access to these quantum systems through the cloud is education. IBM is learning from past challenges by getting out ahead of innovation and making internal and external learning and development a priority. This will ensure that trained internal personnel are in place once IBM Q achieves commercial application and research viability as well as help accelerate the rise of IBM Q by educating those outside IBM who might be involved in developing technological advancements, at least at the algorithmic level.

Quantum Volume assesses quantum capability of a whole quantum system

IBM unveiled Quantum Volume, which is a way to measure the capabilities of an entire quantum system, including qubits, software and overall functionality. IBM aptly demonstrated the value in measuring the functionality of a quantum system by more than just the number of qubits. Qubits are very complex, and factors including the quality of the qubit and the impact of unwelcome external stimuli need to be assessed as qubits are highly sensitive to environmental influences.

Aspects such as gates, connectivity, algorithm errors and compilers are all assessed by Quantum Volume. The capability of the computer is then determined, and it is categorized with a number, which serves as a rating of sorts. This rating is a key to the entire quantum computing market, TBR believes, because it provides a relatively unbiased way to measure the capability of a quantum computer. The current process, in which the number of qubits is used to measure capability, omits essential factors.

More significantly, IBM contends it has discovered a metric for quantum advancements comparable to Moore’s Law for classical computing advancements. Given quantum computing will be adopted essentially algorithm by algorithm, this new metric could help guide the broader user community about when a given algorithm will be ready to move to quantum computing based on the advancements in the technology and the complexities of the algorithm in question. This information can then be used to optimize the deployment layer based on mapping the algorithm to the known performance of the different qubits within the systems.

IBM evaluates the parallels between quantum computing and machine learning

IBM published some of its research, in which it evaluated the applications of quantum computing in conjunction with AI and machine learning to address additional emerging demands. Further details regarding this research can be found in an article published in Nature titled, Supervised learning with quantum—enhanced feature spaces. At its core, AI is simply the evaluation and analysis of massive data volumes that help train a system. In classical computing this process can be time-consuming, but when digital transformation is added to market offerings such as connected cars, time is of the essence and cannot be squandered performing these types of tasks. Quantum computing would not only reduce time to insight but also improve the accuracy of the insights gathered.

Quantum computers can analyze and evaluate data much faster than a classical computer and can also process more complex data sets. These increased levels of speed and complexity will enable machine learning to be more insightful and, therefore, more applicable to more complicated use cases. Key use cases that IBM highlighted for these capabilities initially are model training, pattern recognition and fraud detection. These use cases are fundamental to a connected world, where bad actors would have the potential to cause great harm if they tamper with systems, as would machine malfunctions. If data can be evaluated and extrapolated into real-time applications faster, the potential dangers of an increasingly connected world can be mitigated more quickly.

The market implications of quantum developments are vast and will be rapid

Although individually these announcements may seem small in the scheme of quantum computing, when combined with IBM’s existing breakthroughs in the technology, they demonstrate the breadth of the market IBM’s quantum capabilities will be able to impact once quantum advantage is achieved. Quantum Volume enables IBM to determine use-case efficiencies for quantum computers once commercial availability is attainable. The ability to combine the capabilities of quantum computing with AI will accelerate digital transformation dramatically and launch society into the next technological revolution much faster, as more rapid time to insight will open new avenues of exploration.

IBM helps customers extend IP ‘inside out’ to anyone, anywhere

TBR perspective

After shifting the format from multiple events in years past to one major customer event in 2018 at a single venue, this year IBM (NYSE: IBM) moved its massive customer event, IBM Think 2019, from Las Vegas to San Francisco with far fewer logistical glitches than last year. Analysts were guided by a reinvigorated analyst relations team due in large part to IBM’s decision to shift Harriet Fryman from overseeing internal marketing functions to serving as VP of analyst relations.

In many ways shifting an IBM executive from internal marketing to this external-facing role aligned with the overarching theme of the event that coursed through CEO Ginni Rometty’s keynote speech. The theme last year focused on how the “axis has flipped” on business best practices, while this year the theme cascading throughout the sessions was “inside out.” IBM noted that until recently, much of the transformative power of technology had been dictated from an outside-in perspective in an effort to redesign customer-facing engagement. This, IBM asserts, is why only 20% of the data under management has been transformed to better inform enterprises and why the heavy work ahead will be from the inside-out perspective as enterprises choose which assets to transform beyond just sales and marketing elements. This theme plays well with IBM’s best-in-class reputation for building trust and for understanding the complexities large enterprise IT instances cause in terms of technical debt in need of refinancing and redesigning as enterprises strive to become true digital businesses, beyond the influence of outside-in feedback.

The theme last year focused on how the “axis has flipped” on business best practices, while this year the theme cascading throughout the sessions was “inside out.” IBM noted that until recently, much of the transformative power of technology had been dictated from an outside-in perspective in an effort to redesign customer-facing engagement. This, IBM asserts, is why only 20% of the data under management has been transformed to better inform enterprises and why the heavy work ahead will be from the inside-out perspective as enterprises choose which assets to transform beyond just sales and marketing elements. This theme plays well with IBM’s best-in-class reputation for building trust and for understanding the complexities large enterprise IT instances cause in terms of technical debt in need of refinancing and redesigning as enterprises strive to become true digital businesses, beyond the influence of outside-in feedback.

To address inside-out innovation, IBM’s marketing message tagline of “Anywhere” flows throughout its management control planes, analytics enablement technologies, and the emerging blockchain technology. Many businesses are now capable of transforming from the inside out, or from (oftentimes) Z-based on-premises instances out to the multicloud world. IBM’s “Anywhere” mantra is a big bet that resonates with existing accounts, and the challenge will be to simplify the access and interaction potential new accounts will have with IBM IP assets to prove that IBM understands all elements of the customer experience on a persona-by-persona basis, beyond trust, security and market making for emerging technologies.

IBM Think 2019 brought together tens of thousands of IBM partners, customers and employees to showcase recent portfolio expansions and updates that underscore the company’s continued innovation in cloud-based emerging technologies.

As customer zero, Accenture employs an innovation-led approach to ease concerns of clients investing to scale DT

TBR perspective

As emerging technologies become a pervasive part of both IT and line-of-business leaders’ daily agendas, Accenture’s value proposition, amplified through the Accenture Innovation Architecture, positions the company to successfully address the complexity of clients’ IT systems, including through educating employees and optimizing, automating and managing the systems. Accenture’s outlook as well as the company’s investments in solutions that navigate post-digital era operations are backed by 30 years of experience supporting IT systems and working to alleviate clients’ concerns around disruption and transformation. Being customer zero, in many cases, helps Accenture showcase successful use cases of innovation-led transformation at scale where people, processes and technology can drive toward industrialized operations. Accenture recognizes that clients’ business priorities vary, but by deploying common frameworks such as cloud-first approaches, design thinking workshops and automation maturity assessments, among others, the company can continue to trade on trust with its clients, thus easing the introduction of capabilities and use cases in new areas such as blockchain and quantum computing.

With innovation, however, comes challenges. Accenture vigorously addresses hurdles such as data quality, staff skills and systems adaptation and encourages clients to do a hard reset of their IT department to close the innovation achievement gap. In the long-term battle for dominance in the IT services space, currently driven by AI, Accenture certainly walks the walk. But to maintain its leading position, the company would be better served to adopt outcome-based pricing models at scale to widen the gap with competitors. According to respondents in TBR’s 4Q18 Digital Transformation Customer Research who reported the existence of an outcome-based pricing structure with their digital transformation (DT) services vendor, the vast majority of contracts used traditional KPIs such as cost savings, technical performance or uptime as the measure of whether agreed-upon outcomes were delivered. This suggests this pricing structure remains immature, as basing even a portion of a vendor’s fees on the client’s business performance is risky for both parties. We expect DT pricing methods to mature as more data becomes available around whether and how solutions impact business outcomes.

The Accenture Technology Symposium brought together over 200 Accenture (NYSE: ACN) clients with Accenture and industry leaders and practitioners. While disrupting technologies in areas including cloud, blockchain, AI, automation and security were discussed and demoed, Accenture used the event to promote its innovation-led, industry-centric approach to solving business problems.  

Bringing the best: Talent and technology in management consulting

Insights from TBR’s Professional Services team

Join Senior Analysts Elitsa Bakalova and Patrick Heffernan and Research Analyst Kelly Lesiczka as they discuss the infusion of technology into every aspect of management consulting. In addition to detailing changed business models among the Big Four and Strategy-centric firms, the team will review how asset- and IT-centric consulting vendors have increasingly brought their technology-trained talent to bear across the management consulting space.

Don’t miss:

  • Which IT services vendors and consultancies have best transformed their talent to handle the new management consulting world
  • How emerging technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, will change the business models of management consultancies
  • Why companies like Capgemini, IBM and Accenture will be the ones to watch through 2019

 

TBR webinars are held typically on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ET and include a 15-minute Q&A session following the main presentation. Previous 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].

5G market development (2017-2030)

5G market development (2017-2030) graphic

CSPs accelerate 5G deployment for traditional network use cases to realize the significant cost-efficiencies that are inherent in the technology

Though a viable business case for operators to grow revenue from 5G has yet to materialize (with the exception of fixed wireless broadband), the main driver to deploy 5G is to realize the efficiency gains the technology provides over LTE.

Operators in lead markets (U.S., China, Japan and South Korea) as well as a growing list of key operators in other developed markets have accelerated their 5G deployment timetables over the past year, primarily because 5G is a significantly more cost-effective solution to handle rising data traffic in their traditional connectivity businesses but also to remain competitive in their respective markets.

TBR expects most Tier 1 and some Tier 2 and Tier 3 wireless operators will have begun deployment of 5G by the end of 2022. This will be driven by the need to add capacity to support growing data traffic and to tap into new revenue opportunities brought on by emerging use cases for the network that materialize in the 5G era.

TBR expects new, economically supported use cases for the network will arise in the early to mid-2020s, particularly around advanced IoT services, which will drive another wave of 5G investment.