A Peek Into Capgemini's Future Global Offerings Strategy

During a recent global analyst event in Paris, Capgemini presented its strategy to a panel of market and financial analysts. It hinges on two main objectives: improving the resilience of the organization in an uncertain economic environment — especially in Europe — and finding new levers for margin improvements.

From an operations point of view, Capgemini intends to continue leveraging the usual suspects: industrialization, cost cutting, and accelerating the development of its offshore talent pool. It also aiming to optimize its human resource pool via a pyramid management program aimed at, among other things, allocating the right experience level to the right type of work.

More interestingly, the company showcased some of the global offerings it has put together or refined over the past 12 months. Capgemini’s strategic intent is to develop offerings addressing three major client-relevant themes – customer experience, operational processes, and new business models. The offerings will be enabled by a combination of cloud, mobile, analytics, and social technologies. Among the set of offerings managed globally, I found the following of particular interest due to their emerging nature and Capgemini’s interesting approach to developing them:

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Enabling The Shift to Software Assets: Accenture Software Shows Progress

I recently finalized a report* on software asset (SA) based IT services, this time looking at vendors’ best practices in terms of governance, organization, skills, tools, and processes. Needless to say, the move to software asset-based services will have a huge impact on the traditional operating models of IT services firms.

Obviously, IT services firms need to learn from their large software partners to understand and implement specific software asset management processes such as product sales incentive schemes, product management, product engineering, and release management.

This will induce a formidable cultural change within the IT services vendor’s organization, somewhat similar to the change Western IT service providers had to undergo 10 years ago when they finally embraced offshore delivery models.

I see a few critical steps that IT services firms need to take in order to facilitate this shift towards software asset-based business models:

  • Build a client-relevant SA strategy. Building an SA base offering is not (only) about doing an inventory of the existing intellectual property (IP) that you have on employee hard drives and team servers. More importantly, it’s about making sense of this IP and building strategic offerings that are relevant to your clients by centering them aounrd your clients’ most critical business challenges.
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From Jugaad To Reverse Innovation

Next month, I will be relocating to Singapore after two years in India. These two years have been an amazing learning experience for me, both from a personal and professional point of view. A very intense experience too! Of the few Hindi words I learned during my stint in India, there is one that I am particularly fond of: “jugaad,” which can be translated as “making things work.” This is one way to summarize what India is all about — and why India works as an economy, in spite of the gods and despite all of the challenges that India currently faces as a society.

This concept has taken on a lot more importance on the global scene in recent years from an innovation management point of view. A former Forrester colleague has recently coauthored a book about the concept and how it could “reignite American ingenuity.” The economic and ecological crises that we have been through over the past few years call for new ways of approaching economic development and growth. And the “jugaad” concept could bring interesting solutions to our modern societies.

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IT Service Providers Will Soon Face Operating Model Mayhem

Several recent Forrester reports, including “Mobile Is The New Face Of Engagement,” have shown how new business success imperatives are pushing clients to change the way they leverage IT solutions. In my report “The Move To An Asset-Based Services Play,” I describe how IT service providers will have to adapt to these new rules of engagement if they want to stay relevant to their clients in the long run. In particular, the increased focus on business innovation will push service providers to invest more in the development of software assets — or solution accelerators (SAs) — that provide strong business value to multiple clients.

The move to asset-based services will force service providers to invest in new operating models that differ significantly from their traditional models and are closer to the ones leveraged by software providers. In my next report, I will cover some of the associated best practices in terms of the organization, people, processes, and tools that IT services firms need to implement to make this shift happen internally. Service providers will need, among others, to recruit new skills such as product and portfolio managers, incentivize the creation of software assets, fund and incubate the creation of solution accelerators, and overhaul their partnership management processes.

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Why The Recent Infosys/Airtel Deal Is A Glimpse Into The Future Of IT Services

Infosys announced last week that Bharti Airtel, India’s leading mobile service provider, has selected its WalletEdge platform to operate Airtel Money, the first mobile wallet service in India. This announcement is interesting from a few different perspectives. First, it will provide a new source of revenues for the Indian telecom industry, which has been struggling with low ARPUs for several years. Second, it’s a boon for the banking industry, which will find a way to accelerate financial inclusion initiatives in line with the recommendations from the Reserve Bank of India. Obviously, the urban Indian consumer will also benefit from the “pay anytime, anywhere” convenience of such a service.

I also look at this deal from an IT services industry perspective, and I believe that it embeds a set of very interesting attributes that will become increasingly prevalent in the way IT services vendors engage with their clients moving forward:

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Is This The End Of India's IT Services Success Story?

I’m currently working on a report entitled “IP-Based Solutions Will Transform The Global IT Services Industry.” In a nutshell, I believe that the business model of IT services firms (consulting firms, systems integrators, and outsourcing firms) will transform from a traditional human capital-intensive model to a software capital-intensive model over the next five years. As I will detail in my report, I believe this transformation will have far-reaching implications on the IT services firms’ organizations, including their sales, marketing, portfolio management, and delivery capabilities.

As I’m based in India, I also see this change as a major disruption for India’s export-oriented IT services industry (AKA “offshore services”). I believe that the growth model for India’s IT/ITeS industry’s in the next 20 years will be much different than it has been for the past 20 years. Software assets — what I also call IP-based solutions — will become critical to the competitiveness of the Indian IT services industry. The recent investments of companies like Infosys, HCL, and NIIT Technologies in such IP-based offerings are strong proof points.

This means a couple of things for the Indian industry:

  • The Indian IT/ITeS industry will create far fewer jobs than in the past. This is what some Indian firms refer to as “non-linear” business models.
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Is Dell Finally Ready To Strengthen Its IT Services Activities?

In an interview with the Economic Times in India, Dell announced yesterday that it was readying a war chest of about US$1 billion for IT services related acquisitions in India. Here is why I think this announcement is important for Dell:

First, Dell needs to continue strengthen its global delivery network and industrialization capabilities. Dell bolstered its IT services market position with the Perot Systems acquisition in 2009. Since then, the company has made clear its development ambitions in India from an offshore perspective — including during the first analyst event they hosted in India in September 2011. The company lags far behind the services behemoths, including IBM, which has more than 100,000 staff in India working for international clients.

The India domestic market is also becoming a top priority for all major tech vendors. Forrester expects this market to grow by 20% in 2012 in local currency (see my recent report on the future of IT services in India). Japanese companies like NTT Data have launched aggressive inorganic growth strategies to tap this booming market (Dimension Data in 2010 — which was at the time part of the top 10 IT services firms in India via its Datacraft subsidiary — and more recently Netmagic Solutions). And Forrester expects more Japanese investments in the coming few months.

While IBM, HP, and Wipro Infotech are leading the IT services market in India, Dell is still marginal in terms of system integration and managed services activities. So it’s high time that Dell strengthens its presence in India.

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Stormy Weather's Ahead For The IT Services Industry?

Infosys recently published strong fiscal Q3 results as revenue growth and operating margins were boosted by a falling rupee (down a sharp 11% sequentially). For the full year, however, the company revised its forecasts in dollars from 19% to 16% for FY2012 (April 2011 to March 2012) on account of a slowing business in Europe.

Forrester expects marginally slowing growth in the global IT services market, dropping from about 7% growth in 2011 to 6% growth in 2012 (read Andy Bartels’ tech market outlook for 2012 here). Most of the slowdown effect will come from the debt crisis in Europe. Growth in emerging markets like AP should remain strong in 2012 (read my report with Andy Bartels here), although this growth will not be large enough to offset a slowdown in mature markets.

I look forward to having updates from Wipro, TCS, and HCL this week to see if we can “generalize” Infosys’ guidance to the overall IT services industry. Until now, Indian IT companies’ growth and margins have been protected thanks to a weakening rupee. I believe that this situation combined with slower growth in the US and Europe will lead to a price war between vendors as they try to build volume.

What does this mean? As economic uncertainty looms in 2012, I believe IT services companies will have to accelerate their transformation toward software capital intensive models. In my upcoming report (“Solutions Accelerators — A Reality Check” to be published in April 2012), I will look at how far they have gone in this transformation and what the key success factors are going forward. Stay tuned.

Lack Of Vision And Planning Prevent Organizations In Emerging Markets From Technology Leapfrogging

When I moved to India about two years ago, I arrived with my own expectations regarding emerging markets. One of them was that the lack of legacy IT applications and infrastructure would make these markets an ideal place for new technologies and delivery models like as-a-service to thrive. In other words, organizations in emerging markets would “leapfrog” to new technologies without going through some of the prior technology investments witnessed in developed markets. Unfortunately, the reality is not that simple.

One of the key takeaways of my recent reports (Australia, China, India Set The Pace For Asian IT Services and The Changing Face Of ASEAN IT Services — to be published in January 2012) is that most of the growth in emerging countries will come from traditional IT services such as ERP implementation, infrastructure deployment, and system integration. Against common belief, emerging services — including cloud and mobility — will represent less than 20% the total annual growth in emerging markets in 2015.

I see several reasons for this:

  • Lack of governance and planning. An IT department’s role is merely one of provider of applications and infrastructure, whose main objective is to react to business needs.
  • Lack of internal skills. Client organizations do not have the adequate skills internally to take on complex transformational projects involving new technologies such as virtualization, business analytics, and mobile enterprise application integration platforms.
  • Lack of IT services culture. Most client organizations in emerging markets leverage external skills to help them with basic tasks such as hardware maintenance and software deployment.
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IT Services Industrialization 2.0

Mobility, cloud, and smart computing will drive tremendous growth and significant changes in the IT industry over the next few years. My fellow analysts have brilliantly covered these topics in the past few months.

I would like to build on these views and focus more specifically on the productivity race that the IT services industry and its clients have been in during the past 10 years or so. While IT services vendors have managed to improve their output levels in order to protect margins in a market of severely eroding price points, I believe they will rapidly reach a plateau if they continue to use traditional methods. Instead, the most successful IT services firms of tomorrow will increasingly leverage disruptive methods in order to fulfill the client expectations to always “do more with less.”

Ever since the Internet bubble burst a decade ago, clients have pushed their providers to find ways to provide them with continued price decreases for similar or greater output levels. This was achieved thanks to two main levers to decrease the amount of resources required to run IT systems by end user firms:

  • Fewer resources: Optimizing the utilization of resources in order to reduce their consumption. For example, most projects around asset management, infrastructure standardization, consolidation, and virtualization yield the most evident returns as sources of productivity improvement. This is the case in particular in developed countries where companies need to cope with multi-layered legacy technologies that render IT systems as complex and expensive to maintain.
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