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November 23, 2015

Selling outcomes, not apps: how Accenture revamped consulting for digital

C-level briefing: Abhijit Kabra, Mobile Applications Practice Lead for Accenture Digital – Mobility, explains how to change with the times.

By Alexander Sword

One of the advantages of being a consulting firm rather than a vendor of a specific product is that you can change what you are selling as new products and technologies appear.

An interesting consequence of this is that sometimes it is not just the products the consulting firm sells that change, but the very model used to sell them, as Accenture Digital – Mobility’s Practice Lead for Mobile Applications Abhijit Kabra explains:

"Nowadays [customers] come to us with their business problems and the expectation is that you provide the end result that the client asks for. For example, ‘I want to increase my market share by going online’.

In other words, it is not about buying a product, it is buying an outcome; the products are just what get you to that outcome.

"We are now increasingly taking responsibility for achieving that end result," says Kabra. "So it’s up to us as to whether we leverage cloud, on-premise, operations teams, etcetera."

To Kabra, this is a USP of Accenture – the ability to actually decide what people need so they don’t have to. It is no longer necessary to take a risk on a big technology project if you already know what you’re going to end up with.

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"There are some customers still out there who would come to you and say that they need so-and-so app. Let’s say they are a bank that needs a mobile payment application. There might be some people out in the market which would only provide that point solution.

"But if you are able to combine with the overall holistic picture, maybe you can combine some social insights; maybe you can combine analytics and other payment technologies and create a much smarter solution for the bank.

"The bank may not have asked for that in the first place. Their problem statement may have just been that they wanted a mobile payment solution."

Accenture’s industry knowledge means that "increasingly we are able to influence our customers in terms of their thinking, strategy and vision for what that end solution should look like," according to Kabra.

"It’s a much more collaborative approach nowadays. That’s at least the position we have taken. That doesn’t mean that everybody else is doing that; it’s Accenture’s USP."

Also enabling Accenture’s strategy is the shift, enabled by technologies such as the cloud and the growth of open source, to an op ex rather than cap ex model.

"We are now in a position to offer [new technologies] as a service. We do not charge a one-time fee but I charge based on the service that you use and the transactions that you make.


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