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IBM builds out concierge services so internal IT departments can satisfy the business

TBR perspective

The recent IBM Cloud Analyst Day continued a theme introduced at IBM Think 2018, with numerous IBM executives reiterating “the axis has flipped” in the market for IT solutions. Nowhere has the axis flipped more than in the relationship between IT and lines of business (LOBs). Where IT hardware and software were once costly components, the IT department served more as a security guard meant to ration the business use of IT. Today, with virtualizing compute and storage turning computing ubiquitous and 5G set to disrupt network virtualization, IT must shift to the role of concierge — listening to LOB demands and then stitching together the requisite IT assets to enable successful execution.

At IBM Cloud Analyst Day, IBM Analytics General Manager Rob Thomas discussed the concept of data virtualization, made possible by adhering to specific run times that allow for abstracting the requisite data from where it resides and transporting it to where it is needed with pervasive encryption, to deliver the business insights required for the LOBs. That vision is what IBM described as the “ladder to AI,” or the climb the business must make to infuse its operations and integrated IT stack with artificial intelligence (AI) insights, deploying all IBM AI assets from SPSS to Watson.

 

At IBM Cloud Analyst Day, IBM Analytics General Manager Rob Thomas discussed the concept of data virtualization, made possible by adhering to specific run times that allow for abstracting the requisite data from where it resides and transporting it to where it is needed with pervasive encryption, to deliver the business insights required for the LOBs. That vision is what IBM described as the “ladder to AI,” or the climb the business must make to infuse its operations and integrated IT stack with artificial intelligence (AI) insights, deploying all IBM AI assets from SPSS to Watson.

 

 

Engaging with clients’ business side to address mission-critical challenges

TBR perspective

“Capgemini is overall in a good shape relative to the market,” said Capgemini CEO Paul Hermelin during the opening keynote session at the company’s Global Analyst and Advisor Day 2018. Over the past six quarters, Capgemini has accelerated its revenue growth, reaching 8% year-to-year in constant currency in 1H18, and improved its profitability, aiming for an operating margin before other expenses of between 12% and 12.2% in 2018, owing to growth in scale of digital projects, automation, low-cost leverage and cost management. However, there is always room for improvement, and Hermelin pushes Capgemini’s management team to do more. Over the past several quarters, Capgemini has made changes to its portfolio, organizational structure and sales model to address rising demand coming from clients’ business side instead of their technology side. TBR believes Capgemini has a competitive portfolio and global services capabilities that will continue to move the company in the right direction. Capgemini is notably well established in India, not only for outsourcing but also for digital and cloud, and is able to provide fast-growing and emerging solutions at scale while continuing to address clients’ outsourcing needs with revitalized core offerings.

Transforming portfolio, organization and sales will drive revenue growth in the coming quarters

Following a disciplined portfolio management approach, Capgemini is reshaping its offerings to provide solutions, such as digital, cloud and cybersecurity, that enable clients to build their digital models. The company revitalized its core infrastructure, application and business services offerings, such as through launching next-generation ERP solutions to reimagine enterprise core systems to fit in the digital world, and infusing automation and AI across the portfolio to increase value for the client. Partnerships with technology vendors, startups and academic institutions are a key lever for expanding Capgemini’s portfolio and filling in capability gaps instead of always developing its own intellectual property, which can lead to increased costs and slow down the company’s digital and cloud portfolio expansion. From an organizational standpoint, Capgemini has shifted to a unified go-to-market approach that presents one face to the client and sells the entire Capgemini portfolio. From a sales perspective, the company has been pushing initiatives to foster strategic client relationships by deepening the engagement and offering all dimensions of Capgemini’s portfolio. The objective is to have an established group of strategic relationships in which Capgemini ranks among the leading IT services vendors for those clients to address their mission-critical challenges. This relationship approach in which Capgemini is the strategic supplier somewhat resembles Accenture’s (NYSE: ACN) Diamond Client structure.

TBR attended Capgemini’s annual Global Analyst and Advisor Day, held at the company’s combined Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) and Accelerated Solutions Environment facility in New York City. The facility opened in October 2017 and is part of a global network of 16 locations that enables clients to explore, discover and test new solutions in collaboration with Capgemini and an ecosystem of technology partners, startups, academic institutions and venture capitalists. The event featured plenary and breakout sessions on topics such as portfolio strategy and management; Capgemini’s artificial intelligence (AI) ambition and portfolio; Capgemini Invent, the company’s newest global business line; digital; cloud; and North America. Client cases and demos on AI Insurance, AI Digital Ops, AI Manufacturing and economic Application Portfolio Management (eAPM) exemplified Capgemini’s activities with clients and provided insights into delivered results.

Dell Technologies and Draper: Helping IT help business

“Focusing on business outcomes” has become a very shopworn phrase for industry pundits. However, nothing crystalizes the power and importance of the concept more than detailed discussions with IT departments of flagship enterprises followed by tours of the business units they support. Seeing both affords insight into how these IT and line-of-business (LOB) entities view their interactions.

Draper shared its transformation story with a coterie of industry analysts at Dell Technologies’ (NYSE: DVMT) request on July 31 at Draper’s main facility in Cambridge, Mass. The company proved refreshing in its candor as well as in its use of business language to talk about IT rather than using IT language to feign knowledge of business outcomes. Staying focused on business objectives is the way forward for IT vendors and enterprise IT employees alike, and Dell Technologies and Draper are speaking the right language.

Digital transformation starts with executive sponsorship, as cultural change must precede technological change

A recent TBR special report examines the fundamental shift in IT consumption in the public sector “from wallet to will.” In general, this discussion contends that the increased consumerization of IT and the move to virtualization, standardization and automation enable more customer-focused interactions between IT and the LOBs they support. Presently, this concept is slowly working its way into the public sector, and it is no shock to TBR that Draper now has to embark on this transformation, given how much of its activity focuses on government-sponsored projects.

Draper CIO Michael Crones provided an overview of Draper’s history and the recent organizational changes. With Moore’s Law economics driving lower entry price points for adjacent use cases, Draper is currently reviewing its archives of curated IP to determine how, with this newer, lower-cost compute infrastructure, the IP can be repurposed for broader commercial use cases.

Capitalizing on this IP inventory initiative, however, requires a major cultural shift in how IT is viewed, managed and deployed. Many firms fail to have executive management signal the importance of change by stressing the need for, and adherence to, shifting operating practices.

IBM Z Software: Refinancing rather than retiring technical debt increases Z relevance

Tying into a recent IBM Institute for Business Value thought leadership booklet entitled, “Incumbents Strike Back,” IBM (NYSE: IBM) has invested considerable time and effort into reminding analysts of the dominant install base IBM mainframes enjoy in large enterprises, where they transact 68% of the world’s economic activity. IBM categorizes its existing customers into three camps: those that have yet to embark on an IT modernization initiative, those that went for wholesale rip and replace at great economic cost, and those that seek to modernize ― or refinance ― their existing investment in legacy mainframe assets to prepare them for the digital business era as outlined by TBR in its recent special report The Business of One.

Wholesale rip-and-replace initiatives come at a great upfront expense that is difficult, IBM asserted, for corporate boards to justify from an ROI perspective. Rather than retire that technical debt, large enterprises seeking to migrate to digital business streams are finding a more prudent alternative to be refinancing the technical debt through application modernization. IBM hinges future mainframe revenue growth and ongoing relevance on this point, netting out the IBM Z value proposition as bringing pervasive encryption, analytics infusion across the business stack, and simple and secure connections into multiple cloud environments.