Service providers have a rare opportunity to advance digital acceleration among their customers, but they must also confront an expanding gap between technology leaders and laggards.
A report published this week from Accenture points to fundamental changes in the way enterprises have viewed digitalization and technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital transformation, sidelined somewhat at the beginning of the pandemic, has become central to businesses that are in various states of reinvention. Organizations initially focused on cost-cutting measures are now ramping up investments in innovation. Accenture Research surveyed 6,241 business and IT executives across 31 countries and 14 industries for the report.
According to Michael Biltz, managing director at Accenture Technology Vision and co-author of the report, the barriers to business innovation are now the lowest they have been in the last 20 years. The pandemic's uprooting of conventional business methods left companies more accepting of new technologies and the inevitable bugs and encouraged to take fresh approaches.
"Companies are, essentially, being given a free path to innovate," Biltz said. "The appetite to do something new is suddenly a lot greater."
Indeed, 92% of the executives Accenture polled said their organizations are "innovating with an urgency" this year. Sixty-three percent of the respondents said the pace of digital transformation is accelerating.
A window has opened for businesses ready to make big moves regarding new products, services and market positioning, Biltz said. He expects to see innovation initiatives emerge over the next 18 months. Cloud computing, demand for which expanded during the pandemic, will provide the foundation for many of those projects. Ninety percent of the executives in Accenture's study said organizations must speed up digital transformation -- with cloud at the core -- to become agile and resilient.
Accenture's research also revealed a growing digital gap between transformation leaders and laggards. Prior to the pandemic, the organizations that put the most money behind digital investment grew revenue twice as fast than businesses less committed, Biltz said. That revenue boost for digital leaders grew to 5x compared with their competitors over the course of the pandemic, he added.
"Those far along in their journey have been doing a lot better," Biltz said.
Lenovo pilots hybrid cloud program for partners
Lenovo's data center organization is piloting an initiative that lets MSPs pay a monthly fee to lease an on-premises system, which they can extend through the vendor's as-a-service infrastructure offering.
Steve Biondi, head of channels and alliances for North America Data Center Group at Lenovo, said the company will configure machines big enough to run MSP customers' workloads, and offer them to MSPs under a five-year lease. A service provider pays Lenovo one-sixtieth of the cost of the machine per month for 60 months.
The ability to locally host customer workloads lets service providers offer the comfort of an accessible machine versus one in the cloud, Biondi said. Lenovo will provide a free replacement machine if a new platform is released during the five-year lease, he added.
The initiative will formally become part of Lenovo's channel program on April 1.
Biondi pointed to Lenovo's TruScale Infrastructure Services hybrid cloud offering as an option for MSPs that need more capacity. TruScale, which debuted in 2019, provides infrastructure under a consumption-based model. Biondi said Lenovo is making TruScale more of a partner-led offering.
- Calligo, an MSP based in Jersey, a British crown dependency in the Channel Islands, acquired Decisive Data, a business analytics consultancy based in Redmond, Wash. The acquisition is Calligo's tenth transaction since its founding in 2012. Calligo said it will integrate Decisive Data's data analytics and data sciences capabilities into the MSP's data insights team.
- Telefónica Germany / O2, a mobile telecom and broadband provider, awarded an IT transformation contact to Wipro Ltd., a consulting and business process services company based in Bangalore, India. The project will focus on Telefónica's business support systems.
- Carahsoft Technology Corp., a government IT solutions provider based in Reston, Va., added Vyopta to its roster and expanded its relationship with Blancco Technology Group. Carahsoft said it will market Vyopta's products, which monitor collaboration platforms, through its reseller partners and such contract vehicles as NASA's Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement and the state of Maryland's COTS contract. In addition, Carahsoft will offer Blancco's data erasure products through the AWS Marketplace. The AWS component marks an extension of Blancco's ongoing relationship with Carahsoft.
- Logicalis Group and Unisys renewed their status as Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Service Providers. The IT services companies are based in New York and Blue Bell, Pa., respectively. Microsoft launched the program for Azure experts in 2018.
- Anexinet Corp., a digital business solutions provider based in Philadelphia, partnered with Amelia, an IPsoft company and conversational AI developer. In conjunction with the relationship, Anexinet launched a three-week program that aims to help customers jumpstart their conversational AI strategy.
- Canonical, publisher of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, said its channel partner program experienced 5x growth over three years and expanded its geographic reach to markets such as Russia, India and Africa. The company attributed its channel growth to deeper OEM relationships; a greater focus on VARs and distributors; joint offerings with AWS, Azure and Google around Ubuntu Pro; and its global systems integrator partner program. Canonical rolled out its program for integrators in 2020 and has since inked alliances with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Infosys and Tata Consulting Services, among other companies.
- Camunda, an open source process automation software vendor, unveiled a partner program for global systems integrators, local and regional firms, sales partners, and technology partners. The program aims to provide expanded support for partners that develop and implement Camunda, sell Camunda or include the software in their offerings. The Waltham, Mass., company said more than 100 organizations currently participate in its partner program.
- Protegrity, a data security company based in Salt Lake City, launched its partner network, which focuses on two partner types: Service Partners for systems integrators and VARs, and Technology Partners for ISVs and cloud hyperscalers.
- Bamboo Systems, an Arm server-based vendor, appointed Andy Hill as its vice president of sales and pre-sales. Hill will focus on expanding Bamboo's partner ecosystem and customer adoption. The company has offices in Cambridge, England, and San Jose, Calif.
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