Accenture, ServiceNow launch business group

The new Accenture ServiceNow Business Group aims to initially deliver industry offerings in financial services, government citizen services and telecommunications; other news.

Accenture and ServiceNow have created a business group that will seek to help private and public sector customers ramp up digital transformation.

The companies plan to invest millions of dollars in the Accenture ServiceNow Business Group over the next five years. Accenture last month unveiled a $3 billion investment in its Accenture Cloud First group, an initiative that will cultivate partnerships with cloud platform vendors.

Adam Burden, North America technology lead and chief software engineer at Accenture, called the business group a "first-of-its-kind relationship between ServiceNow and an integrator."

The investment is the latest development in the companies' work together. In January 2020, ServiceNow rolled out its "industry solutions strategy" and identified Accenture as the lead launch partner for its telecommunications industry offering. ServiceNow delivered the first set of products as part of this strategy in September 2020, Burden noted. He said the creation of the new business group "elevates the companies' long-standing strategic partnership" to support joint customers across regions and industries.

Indeed, the companies will initially deliver industry offerings and services in financial services, government citizen services and telecommunications. "Additional industry solutions will also be developed in the future," Burden said.

The business group will also focus on what Burden called "domain solutions and services." In this area, the companies will provide assets in employee engagement, customer service and operations, AI for IT operations, and security and risk.

The industry- and domain-specific offerings and services will be featured at more than 100 Accenture Innovation Centers worldwide, Burden said.

The business group investment will also focus on expanding Accenture's ServiceNow practice and geographic reach. Specifically, Accenture will look to grow its talent, targeting ServiceNow's Certified Master Architect program and other emerging certifications, Burden said. Certified Master Architect is an elite-level certification program.

As for international markets, Accenture will continue to expand its ServiceNow practice presence in rapidly growing theaters such as Latin America, the Nordics and the Asia-Pacific region, Burden said.

Accenture, in addition to deploying ServiceNow for clients, uses the software internally for employee engagement, invoice processing and asset management among other use cases. ServiceNow is also part of Accenture's in-house technology integration strategy.

Accenture has been building up its ServiceNow capabilities over the past few years, acquiring companies around the world to broaden its consulting skills on the SaaS platform.

Data, analytics and AI get a boost amid COVID-19

Reports from Gartner and consulting firm West Monroe Partners point to data, analytics and AI as among the technologies helping enterprises adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gartner this week said organizations are collecting employee behavioral data, through technologies such as sensors and computer vision, to determine compliance with mask requirements and other health protocols. The market research firm referred to this data collection and analysis as the Internet of Behavior (IoB), one of nine top strategic technology trends it identified for 2021.

"The IoB can gather, combine and process data from many sources including: Commercial customer data; citizen data processed by public-sector and government agencies; social media; public domain deployments of facial recognition; and location tracking," Gartner's technology trends report stated.

West Monroe, a business and technology consultant based in Chicago, also zeroed in on data and analytics in the COVID-19 context. Fifty-seven percent of the 150 C-suite executives polled by the company identified data/analytics platforms as an emerging technology they tried in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

That category ranked first among other emerging technologies, with AI and machine learning tied for second -- 21% of the respondents citing each of those areas.

Gartner, meanwhile, included AI engineering on its list of top technologies for 2021. AI engineering, which makes AI a part of DevOps, will facilitate the performance and scalability of AI models, according to the company.

Extreme Networks expands partner strategy

Ahead of Extreme's Virtual Partner Conference 2020 this week, the vendor's chief revenue officer, Joe Vitalone, outlined areas of channel focus.

Vitalone said Extreme is investing in enabling its partners to migrate the company's customer base from older generations of products into its latest and cloud-based technologies. As part of the effort, Extreme aims to expand its channel alliances globally as well as its partners' geographic reach. In addition, he said Extreme is pursuing new routes of markets, including consultants.

Extreme's recently launched consultant liaison program targets architects and engineers who "work hard at the front end of the sales process to spec and recommend not only vendors such as Extreme, but also partners," Vitalone noted. He said Extreme hopes to have more than 1,000 consultants signed up in the program by the end of the company's fiscal year 2021, which began July 1.

At its partner event, Extreme announced it has integrated Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy intrusion prevention capabilities into its wireless intrusion prevention system, Extreme AirDefense.

Other news

  • Cognizant, a professional services company based in Teaneck, N.J., is continuing its acquisitive ways, agreeing to purchase industrial IoT specialist Bright Wolf. The deal, which would be Cognizant's eighth acquisition this year, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020. Following the closing, Bright Wolf personnel will provide the core of an IoT innovation lab in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area, according to Cognizant.
  • An NTT Data Services study, conducted in conjunction with Oxford Economics, suggested organizational leaders are "vastly underestimating" AI's ethical challenges. The study found 12% of the executives and 15% of the employees surveyed believe AI will collect consumer data in unethical ways. In addition, 13% of the executives and 19% of employees polled said AI will discriminate against minority groups.
  • 1Path, a technology services provider based in Atlanta, is expanding its security system installation and maintenance teams, hiring dozens of people across 80 cities. The additional security personnel will address the needs of 1Path business partners, which include AT&T and Guardian Protection Services, the company said. Those partners face regulatory pressure to replace 3G-based security systems by 2022.
  • In the United Kingdom, Lemongrass Consulting, a consulting and managed services firm, has been named a supplier on the Crown Commercial Service's G-Cloud 12 Framework in the Cloud Hosting and Cloud Support categories. This is the third year Lemongrass has been listed on the procurement vehicle. Other suppliers include Accenture, Cognizant, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Crown Commercial Service plays a role similar to the General Services Administration in the U.S., which runs the IT-oriented Schedule 70.
  • Cloud distributor Pax8 joined cloud communications platform vendor 8x8 Inc.'s channel program. Pax8 is offering U.S. partners the 8x8 Open Communications Platform. 8x8 identified 8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams as "a significant partner opportunity" stemming from the companies' relationship.
  • Earthling Security, a managed security services provider (MSSP) based in Tysons Corner, Va., is providing Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) assistance to Respond Software, a cybersecurity investigation automation company based in Mountain View, Calif. Earthling is serving as the advising Third Party Assessment Organization for the FedRAMP authorization process. Respond Software, meanwhile, has signed Earthing as an MSSP partner.
  • Datto, as expected, launched its initial public offering this week, trading under the "MSP" ticker symbol. Industry executives said they don't think the move will necessarily trigger other backup vendors to follow suit.
  • Radware, a cybersecurity and application delivery solutions provider based in Mahwah, N.J., launched a two-tier partner program. Channel companies are designated as either Select or Premier partners, with benefits assigned to each tier. Program features include free online partner training for sales and technical personnel, reduced-cost in-class training, and marketing support such as co-branded content and events.
  • D&H Distributing, a distributor based in Harrisburg, Pa., said the volume of partners using its Solutions Enablement Team has tripled since the group relaunched in late 2019. The company cited partner activity in ProAV, e-sports, remote networking, distance learning and digital security.
  • Ivanti Wavelink, a Salt Lake City supply chain business unit of Ivanti, unveiled its Strategic Alliances Program, which aims to create an ecosystem of hardware and device manufacturers, ISVs and other technology partners.
  • HYPR, based in New York, launched a partner program around its authentication platform. The program debuted with 30 partners, including resellers, systems integrators and technology partners. The company's Velocity Partner Program aims to help partners deliver its True Passwordless offering directly to enterprise and government customers.
  • OpsRamp, an AIOps vendor based in San Jose, Calif., signed three partners in the U.K.: Kedron UK, Tactile Technology and Maple Networks. Those companies will resell and/or use OpsRamp to manage client environments, according to the vendor. OpsRamp revamped its channel strategy in 2019.
  • SkyKick, a cloud automation and management software provider based in Seattle, released an automation application for IT services providers. SkyKick described its Cloud Manager offering as the company's next-generation no-code/low-code automation, workflow and management application.
  • Axcient, a business availability software vendor based in Denver, appointed Phillip Seigenfeld as director of partnerships. The company, which sells to MSPs, also appointed Charles Tomeo, chief revenue officer; Tim Sheahen, vice president of U.S. sales; and Jim D'Espinosa, director of OEM and licensing.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

Additional reporting by Spencer Smith.

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