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January 11, 2018
The as-a-Service Economy
By: Brian McKillips


At Accenture, we encounter clients across various industries, and while adaptation rates to new technological trends vary, no business is immune to the effects of the accelerating As-a-Service Economy. This shift is as disruptive as—if not greater than—the dot-com boom, and we’ve identified four primary factors at work:

  1. Lower Barriers to Entry

  2. Ninety-three percent of Chief Strategy Officers believe new technologies will disrupt their industries in the next five years.1

    We are moving away from a world where we need to invest in infrastructure to build a business. The elimination of costly barriers has enabled a flood of new entrants into markets; entrepreneurs today can swipe a credit card and start a business in a matter of minutes.

    Just as the dot-com boom enabled new retailers to open a “store” without a physical space or inventory, businesses across nearly every industry can rapidly launch new ventures by spinning up infrastructure and data services delivered as a utility. The focus has shifted to creating unique customer experiences, leveraging data, and building Intellectual Property.

  3. Increasing Customer Demands

  4. Fifty percent of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs.2

    Increasing customer demands compel companies to think critically and creatively, providing personalized interactions and creating a better overall experience for the individual.

    In the past few years, the “consumerization” of IT has placed increased demands on enterprises.

    For example, on university campuses worldwide, students are collaborating more efficiently by leveraging G Suite for Google Cloud, a suite of intelligent apps that includes business email, video conferencing, online storage and file sharing. As these students graduate and enter the workforce, they are expecting the same level of tools and capabilities within their organizations.

  5. Modular, As-A-Service Capabilities

  6. By 2020, five of the top seven digital giants will wilfully “self-disrupt” to create their next leadership opportunity.3

    We’re finding that companies are moving away from traditional business models and instead offering as-a-Service capabilities on a one-off, for-hire or subscription basis. For example, you can now rent and operate Drones as-a-Service, and we are seeing clients enlist in “Finance as-a-Service” offerings. Companies will continue to pivot to this service model to compete in the As-a-Service Economy.

  7. Partnerships are Imperative

  8. Strategic partnerships give businesses a competitive edge.4

    Developing partnerships with suppliers, customers and even competitors is the new strategic action, as enterprises are inclined toward “hunting in packs,” rather than alone.

    Technology companies provide several good examples, having built and adopted open-sourced cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions.

    Google Cloud®, for instance, has based its commercial product development on years of open-source, scalable research and development, such as BigTable® (2004), Tensorflow® and Kubernetes®. A key differentiator for Google Cloud: Nearly every product is provided as a managed service.

A key differentiator for @googlecloud is that nearly every product is provided as a #managedservice.


Combining this open source mentality with a service-oriented commercial strategy enables Google Cloud customers to develop and launch partnerships more effectively.

We are seeing a wave of technology partnerships emerge that are structured to bring differentiated offerings to clients. For example, the announcement of the Google and Salesforce partnership provides new integrations for their joint clients.

And How Does This Affect the Market?

Amidst all this disruption, we have identified a few key challenges that organizations should address and solve:

  1. Finding Purpose: How will businesses stay relevant, and what is their competitive advantage in the industry and marketplace?

  2. Engaging Customers: How will businesses identify and engage new customers? How will they become a habit for existing customers?

  3. Changing Operations: How will businesses increase productivity and reduce costs in their workforce? How will they bring products to market faster?

  4. Working Together: How will businesses work with your partners, vendors, and ecosystem? How will they increase their reach in the market?

There is a lot of self-reflection in the enterprise right now, and technology is a necessary driver of that change.

Stay tuned, because in our next blog post, “Scaling Your Innovation,” we’ll explain how businesses can best succeed in the as-a-Service Economy.

  1. Accenture Institute of High Performance
  2. Salesforce State of the Connected Customer Report
  3. Gartner Report – Gartner’s Top Predictions 2017
  4. Partner 2 Grow


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