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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.  

Specialized industry expertise and agile service delivery position NIIT Technologies to disrupt incumbents

The rising tide of digital transformation demand continues to lift all boats, particularly small, intensely industry-focused IT services players, such as NIIT Technologies, that aggressively and tactically align their portfolio offerings and go-to-market strategies with the evolving needs of their clients and target markets. Though the long-term sustainability of NIIT Technologies’ rapid revenue growth and margin expansion remains to be seen, its strong performance in a services arena nearing saturation deserves the attention of global technology and IT services peers.

Strong financial performance highlights the success of NIIT Technologies’ pivot toward digital

CEO Sudhir Singh kicked off the event with a summary of NIIT Technologies’ recently reported FY2Q19 earnings results:

  • Revenue for the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2018, grew 23.1% year-to-year and 10% sequentially, in local currency, to Rs. 907.4 crores ($129.5 million U.S. dollars [USD]).
  • Operating margin expanded 186 basis points year-to-year to 18%.
  • Fresh order intake increased for the sixth consecutive quarter to $160 million USD, including 10 new logos.
  • Digital revenue reached 28% of total revenue, expanding 11.6% sequentially in local currency.
  • Headcount crossed the 10,000 mark, with 261 additions during the quarter. During 2018 NIIT Technologies has added 1,000 employees, with 499 in digital areas. Despite double-digit headcount expansion, utilization has also increased (80.4% in FY2Q19) while attrition has stayed well below that of Tier 1 India-centric peers, hovering between 10% and 11%.

Though relatively smaller in scale compared to Tier 1 India-centric peers, NIIT Technologies prided itself on its relatively balanced geographical mix for a company its size (e.g., only about 49% of revenue comes from the U.S., about 34% from Europe and the remainder from Rest of World), on par with Tata Consultancy Services [TCS]). The company also touted its culture, built upon a heritage of learning and research, that empowers employees with both technology skills and design thinking expertise to create business-relevant solutions for clients.

 

 

TBR attended NIIT Technologies’ U.S. Analyst & Advisor Forum in Boston, where the company’s executive leadership team presented on the company’s recent financial performance, strategy and portfolio offerings with an overarching theme of “Engage with the Emerging.” The event’s agenda was organized in line with NIIT Technologies’ recent restructuring around three core verticals ― travel and transportation (T&T), banking and financial services (BFS), and insurance ― and five service lines ― Intelligent Automation, Digital, Data and Analytics, Cloud, and Cybersecurity ― which the company brings together in matrixed offerings. Leaders from each of the three industry verticals and several of the service lines presented individual sessions on their areas, in some cases with clients. TBR also interacted one-on-one with executives throughout the event.