It was the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus who once said that one can never step into the same river twice. The business marketplace is exactly like that. Today’s business environment might not be tomorrow’s. Today’s competition might change overnight. Businesses need to be able to react fast.
In too many cases, unfortunately, legacy IT systems have become a drag on agility. To make your business agile, you need an agile operating platform, too—one that can sit on top of your legacy platform. That’s what as-a-Service gives you: a way to shave weight off your infrastructure and make better use of your assets.
Many executives who oversee business operations at large companies—from Finance to Marketing to IT—are taking major steps into the world of as-a-Service, where they can plug into highly scalable, consumption-based business services, have the flexibility to pay for what they use and get results fast. The marketplace is moving quickly to this new way of service delivery. It’s a real game changer. As-a-Service gives companies the agility to respond to business change faster.
Take the example of companies needing to get up to speed faster following a merger or acquisition. Increased M&A activity across many industries brings greater complexity as well as the costs of integrating and maintaining an extensive operations infrastructure. It is added weight that can slow companies down and make them less nimble in the market.
The agility made possible by an as-a-Service delivery model was a key feature during a recent merger where—given the cost savings commitment the merging companies made to the market—it was essential to reduce costs and improve efficiencies wherever possible, with a particular focus on the Finance function. Rather than reinvent the wheel, the acquiring company was able to “plug” directly into the other company’s Finance as-a-Service capabilities offered through Accenture. The plug-in, scalable approach supported speed of integration and enabled the merged organization to immediately acquire market-leading capabilities.
What are some keys to success in moving to this model? Here’s one: As-a-Service is far more fluid than traditional outsourcing models where buyers were generally locked into long-term contracts. Providers need to demonstrate world-class capabilities and then continue to demonstrate their value and flexibility to maintain an effective client relationship.
Providers should position themselves more as trusted consultants, advising and driving programs that reengineer and unravel processes, not just offer incremental improvements.
Seeing the client-provider relationship as more of a strategic partnership is important. The technology and delivery environments are constantly changing. So the delivery model needs to be continuously updated and reconfigured as new capabilities arise and as technologies evolve.
Or, one might say, as companies step into a river of competition that changes every day.