May 22, 2017
The promise of as-a-service: Increasing speed to value
By: Anoop Sagoo

"Speed to value" might sound like management-speak, I know. But given the disruptive nature of the digital economy, developing innovative products and getting them to market quickly is the only way to play the game. Quality products are essential, as is excellent, customer-centric service. But in many ways, speed rules. And that’s why taking an as-a-Service approach for business and IT functionality is becoming essential.

If you have an agile operating platform—a feature of as-a-Service—you can move the entire business faster, less weighed down by your existing IT systems. With as-a-Service, you can tap into world-class capabilities in a matter of days or weeks, not months.

Another way to think about the importance of speed to value has to do with the well-known “rule of three” in markets. For any particular product or market, one usually finds a first mover (the Gold medalist) who enjoys the greatest market share and the biggest revenues and profits. Then there are a couple of fast followers (Silver and Bronze medalists) drafting behind the leader and making good returns. That leaves the rest of the market trailing the field. (They get the “Participation” medal.) You’ve got to move quickly if you want to make it to the winners’ platform.

We see an example of a first-mover in the experience of a large grocery wholesaler in South America where Accenture is helping the company deliver a cloud-based, as-a-Service sales and service platform to drive growth in its new digital business. Accenture built an end-to-end, turnkey as-a-Service solution that helped the company to quickly launch its new digital business and gain a competitive first-mover advantage in the market.

The second thing I want to say about speed is related to the disruptive nature of the digital economy. Just by creating a powerful app and a new business model, disruptors can change the way that the Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists do business. You know all the famous disruptors here—those that have affected hoteling, package delivery, retail, transportation, music and entertainment … and much, much more.

So let’s presume you’ve got that killer app and an innovative business model. How are you going to quickly develop all the back-office functions you need when you’ve taken the business idea and app out of the garage and have to create a real business?

Consider a corporation in the resources industry that needed to rapidly set up finance and accounting, procurement, supply chain analytics and customer care services with minimal business disruption. Accenture helped make this happen using Microsoft Azure with SAP in the cloud with infrastructure managed through the Accenture Cloud Platform.

If you’re thinking at this moment that speed has a lot to do with the agility of your business model, you’re exactly right. And that will be the subject of the next blog in this series.

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