Accenture said it will invest $3 billion over three years to help customers lead their technological efforts with the cloud and ramp up digital transformation projects.
The investment in the newly created Accenture Cloud First group underscores the importance of cloud services to IT services providers -- from global professional services firms like Accenture to local and regional MSPs also banking on the cloud. Cloud has been one of the bright spots in the IT market, which has taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic downturn.
The Accenture Cloud First group brings together 70,000 cloud professionals and integrates areas of expertise that include cloud migration, infrastructure and application services, according to the company. The group also draws upon Accenture Interactive's experience design skills, along with Accenture's business process and vertical market resources.
Accenture has appointed Karthik Narain to direct the cloud group, effective Oct. 1. He was previously a lead for Accenture Technology in North America.
'Voracious' demand for cloud
The COVID-19 pandemic played a key role in the creation of Accenture Cloud First. The pandemic's business disruption has increased the velocity with which organizations are transitioning to the cloud, noted Annette Rippert, group chief executive of strategy and consulting at Accenture.
"The demand coming from the market is voracious," she said.
Accenture's organizational changes and investment plan aim to keep pace with clients moving with speed and at scale, helping them "change in a way that is essential for their survival," Rippert said.
That imperative calls for an understanding that spans the CEO agenda and stakeholder value creation as well as industry and business process change, she said. Required skillsets include consulting, technology strategy, implementation, cloud-native development, cloud operations and human performance.
The launch of Accenture Cloud First will "bring these pieces into one comprehensive offering," Rippert said.
In addition to the 70,000 Accenture employees permanently designated to Accenture Cloud First, the company has segmented components of other practices to be part of the group, she added.
Accenture cloud makes key revenue contribution
The company generated $11 billion in cloud revenue for fiscal year 2019, slightly more than 25% of its total revenue of $43.2 billion. Accenture, whose fiscal year ends Aug. 31, will discuss fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2020 financial results Sept. 24.
Accenture's June 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said the company's consulting revenue "continues to be driven by digital-, cloud- and security-related services." The company's outsourcing business, meanwhile, experienced "growing demand to assist clients with the operation and maintenance of digital-related services and cloud enablement."
The $3 billion investment aims to advance a range of activities at Accenture, including cloud AI data and architectures, cloud tools, automation and edge computing.
Redstor Marketplace offers MSPs data protection
Redstor, a cloud data management solutions provider based in the United Kingdom, has launched a self-service portal that lets MSPs deploy backup, recovery and archiving offerings for their customers.
Partners can use the portal, called Redstor Marketplace, to sell and manage Redstor's data management offerings that span on-premises and cloud data, including Microsoft 365 and G Suite. The company's partner program, meanwhile, offers discounted pricing as well as sales, marketing and technical support.
Redstor's seven-figure investment in the portal marks a change in strategy. The company had been selling both directly to customers and through partners, but it decided during a 2019 planning session to become a channel-only business. Redstor found partners to be "the best source of growth for our business and the best opportunity to scale," said Redstor chief product officer James Griffin.
Redstor Marketplace's September launch follows an extended beta in which the company sought partner feedback. The process pointed out design decisions that "didn't line up with the partners' reality," which led to product changes, Griffin noted.
For example, Redstor believed since it sells digitally to MSPs, service providers would want to sell digitally to their customers. The original portal plan was to put a Redstor signup page on a partner's website and process transactions through a credit card gateway. But partners said they wanted to conduct the customer conversation over the phone, rather than hand it off to Redstor's digital approach, Griffin noted. In addition, partners said they bill customers through tools such as ConnectWise rather than taking payments through credit cards. As a result, Redstor dropped the digital sales component and credit card gateway from the final product.
Griffin said the company's partners tend to be those that provide Redstor's products as part of a wider offering and have value-driven, as opposed to price-driven, discussions with customers.
"We don't believe a race to the bottom is the right thing for the data protection market," he said.
Insight report: Public sector prioritizes automation
COVID-19 has bumped automation up the list of priorities for public-sector organizations.
An Insight Enterprises survey found 27% of the local, state and federal agencies it polled cited automating employee work processes and tasks as a top three priority before the pandemic. That number increased to 35% after the pandemic emerged.
Insight, an integrator based in Tempe, Arizona, said the trend was especially notable at the state and local government level. Here, the portion of respondents citing automation as a top three priority increased from 23% pre-COVID-19 to 35% post-COVID.
Channel partners have identified automation as one of the items most in demand among customers in the COVID economy.
- Microsoft is offering an advanced specialization for Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), in a bid to help partners differentiate their services. The goal is to showcase a partner's experience with deploying, optimizing and securing virtual desktop infrastructure on Azure, according to Microsoft. Partners with an active Gold Cloud Platform competency must meet a customer revenue threshold, satisfy other requirements and pass a third-party audit to qualify for the specialization. Channel executives said WVD is sparking demand for consulting and implementation services.
- Tech Data, a distributor based in Clearwater, Fla., is offering IBM Cloud Pak for Security, a platform consisting of containerized software integrated with Red Hat OpenShift. Tech Data will provide Cloud Pak for Security as part of its Cyber Range, which the company described as a virtual environment for training and testing security response procedures. IBM unveiled its Cloud Paks in 2019, which also span areas such as multi-cloud management and automation.
- HCL Technologies, a technology services and products company based in Noida, India, said it will bring its Actian portfolio to Google Cloud under an expanded partnership with the cloud provider. The initial focus will be on Actian Avalanche, a hybrid cloud data warehouse. HCL Technologies in 2018 acquired Actian, a provider of data management, data integration and data analytics products.
- Spirion, a data protection and compliance company based in St. Petersburg, Fla., launched its Global Alliance Partner Program, which spans software developers, technology providers, systems integrators and solution providers. Partners will "extend the functionality" of Spirion's Data Privacy Management Framework, according to the company. Solution provider members of the program include GuidePoint Security and Halock Security Labs, while technology partners include ContextSpace, Seclore and Tonic.
- Identity and access management vendor OneLogin has revamped its partner program. Dubbed Accelerate 2.0, the program adds a partner tiering structure, which includes Platinum and Gold levels. Partner benefits include sales and marketing resources, deal registration and management, and expanded training and certification programs. Partners account for more than 40% of OneLogin's opportunities, the company said.
- Berg Insight, a market research firm based in Gothenburg, Sweden, said IoT MSPs have amassed more than 50 million IoT subscribers worldwide. A Berg Insight report, published this week, said most IoT MSPs operate as full mobile virtual network operators, using their own core networks and platforms. In North America, Aeris and Kore Wireless "have consolidated their positions as leading players … with 14 million and 13 million cellular IoT subscribers respectively at the end of 2019," according to the market watcher.
- Atera, an IT automation platform vendor that targets MSPs, said it introduced integrations to improve third-party patching software installation capabilities for Windows and Mac OS.
- In other MSP software news, remote monitoring and management software vendor Pulseway released built-in remote control for Mac OS. Pulseway Remote Control for Mac OS uses the same proprietary remote control protocol that is used in its Windows remote control technology, the company said.
- BullGuard, a London-based cybersecurity company with U.S. headquarters in Montvale, N.J., unveiled new MSP functionality in its BullGuard Small Office Security product. The MSP-oriented offering enables remote management of customer endpoint devices, including Windows, Android and macOS devices. The product also includes a Cloud Admin Portal that lets MSPs manage multiple client accounts and their endpoint devices from a single platform.
- Ensono, a hybrid IT services provider based in Downers Grove, Ill., said it achieved AWS Migration Competency status.
- The ASCII Group, an IT community of North American MSPs, MSSPs, VARs and solution providers, said it partnered with a national agency to provide telehealth services to its members. The ASCII Telehealth Service offers 24/7 virtual access to local board-certified physicians.
- Otava, a private, hybrid and multi-cloud solutions provider based in Ann Arbor, Mich., appointed Jim Lubinski vice president of cloud engineering and infrastructure.
Additional reporting by Spencer Smith.
Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.