KPMG one of our loyal entrants who have entered the UK Financial Services Experience Awards in the last two years and Accenture did the same previous year. Also, they have entered our biggest event the UK Customer Experience Awards.
Both consulting powerhouses KPMG and Accenture were diamond sponsors of ServiceNow’s (NYSE: NOW) recent Knowledge17 conference, showing a redoubling of commitment to the popular service management platform. Digging a bit deeper, however, I uncovered broader transformational stories at both professional services firms.
The common theme: the cloud is open for business.
The KPMG ‘Powered Enterprise’
According to its website, KPMG Powered Enterprise “leverages decades of business and cloud technology experience to help you transform your back office faster.” This offering is unquestionably business-focused, as it offers KPMG clients a “pre-defined set of business functions” for improving performance and efficiency.
What the site doesn’t emphasise, however, is how central the cloud is to the Powered Enterprise offering. “Global business services, for example, HR, facilities, and payroll are historically siloed,” explains Mitch Kenfield, US Service Management Practice Leader and Principal at KPMG. “Now clients require a single digital front end.”
To implement this front end, KPMG in large part relies upon ServiceNow, whose cloud-based IT Service Management (ITSM) platform now offers broad-based business service management capabilities beyond IT. Cloud-based services from Oracle and Workday WDAY +0.17% round out the top three partners for KPMG.
Combining such cloud-based offerings into a ‘consumerized’ experience is an essential part of the Powered Enterprise offering, giving the effort a customer and employee focus rather than an IT-centric one. “It’s all about expansion into business beyond ITSM,” Kenfield continues. “Client conversations around ServiceNow are vastly different than two years ago.”
Accenture: Betting the Company on Cloud
To understand the strategic importance the cloud has for Accenture, look no further than its recent acquisitions of Cloud Sherpas in 2015, Nashco in late 2016, and solid-serVision earlier this year.
Cloud Sherpas offered cloud advisory and technology services, focusing on partners Salesforce.com CRM -0.09%, Google Apps from Alphabet GOOGL +0.47%, and ServiceNow. Nashco expanded Accenture’s ServiceNow capabilities in Canada, and solid-serVision and Focus Group Europe did the same thing in Germany and the UK, respectively.
This doubled and redoubled focus on its ServiceNow capabilities is all about business for Accenture. “Accenture is standardizing on tooling to be as efficient as we can be when providing services to our clients,” says Jack Sepple, Senior Managing Director of Accenture Cloud. “Cloud is the foundation of operations and a digital focus.”
Accenture’s cloud offerings have been growing substantially over the last several years, and its cloud practice now numbers over 40,000 professionals. “We started with IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS,” Sepple explains. “Over the last twelve months, our clients have been on a journey to the cloud.”
Platforms like Salesforce.com and ServiceNow offer both Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and this combination is proving to be a winning combination for Accenture and its clients. “We’re now seeing a ‘mix and match’ across domains, for example, a blending of Salesforce for CRM and ServiceNow for ITSM,” Sepple says.
Now that ServiceNow has expanded beyond ITSM to capabilities that include HR services management and finance services management, furthermore, its offerings are even more strategic for Accenture. “Interdependent processes will be a strong capability,” Sepple adds. “Process-as-a-Service for business and government is an area Accenture is focusing on going forward.”
This relatively novel notion of Process-as-a-Service ties the value propositions of service management, cloud computing, and digital transformation together – and that combination is the sweet spot that Accenture and other ServiceNow partners are pursuing. “The cloud is foundational to digital transformation,” Sepple concludes.
Transforming the Transformers
Both KPMG and Accenture follow matrixed organisational models common to professional services companies of their size. Each has vertical industry expertise as well as horizontal practice areas like HR and finance.
You might think that adding cloud computing to this mix would simply add another horizontal practice, as the cloud cuts across industries – and you’d be right, up to a point.
When the focus of client efforts centre on a platform like ServiceNow, the offerings are now able to cut across many different horizontal practice areas, bringing what were disparate organisational silos into a more customer and employee-focused, consumerized whole.
This consolidation and consumerization, of course, are important aspects of digital transformation – which at its core, represents customer (and employee) driven, cross-cutting organisational change. Technology is a critical enabler of such transformation to be sure, but make no mistake: digital transformation is business transformation.
Written by: Jason Bloomberg