Accenture: True partnership is the key to our success with IBM
The global partnership between IBM and Accenture goes back over 15 years. As a leading service provider of IBM hardware, software and middleware, Accenture numbers its successful integrations of IBM products and solutions in the tens of thousands
Over the course of the past year, that partnership has placed a particular emphasis on bringing the disruptive technologies of AI, IoT and blockchain to address the complex challenges faced by Accenture clients in every industry. In the words of Judith Jackson-Merrick, who leads the relationship for Accenture; “IBM bring the technology and Accenture bring the industry expertise.”
Judith’s role is to set up new capabilities within Accenture’s Technology business and to build dedicated teams to address them. That includes developing thought leadership around the new generation of IT offerings and helping clients to understand the potential benefits for their business.
Accenture has an entire practice dedicated to working with IBM solutions and a strong track record across the systems and software portfolio. Jackson-Merrick is quick to call out IBM Power AI and software defined storage (SDS) among the most impactful disruptive technologies they are delivering with IBM. Another is eCommerce, where she says OMS on the Cloud has been a game-changer.
But the partnership has taken on a renewed energy on both sides with IBM Watson and Accenture is aggressively growing its Watson capabilities in the UK.
“I think what IBM has done with the Watson brand has been very shrewd,” continues Jackson-Merrick. “Everyone is talking about Watson, internally here and in the market; they’re intrigued by what it is, what it enables and what Watson services look like.”
The impact that Watson is having in the market has helped Jackson-Merrick and her team to make IBM a compelling proposition for Accenture. That said, Accenture’s focus is not on specific application, but on what it can help clients to achieve. Watson as a brand is, she says, very powerful. But the key to the success of the Accenture/IBM relationship is the ability to understand the impact that technologies like AI, IoT and blockchain can have on business and society and to build an outcomes-focused response to that impact in tandem.
But what of the challenges presented by two organisations of such scale working closely together? The biggest challenge, says Jackson-Merrick, is typical of any large organisation—the very scale of the business.
“Simply locating the right person within the business to progress a piece of work can present a significant challenge. At Accenture—like IBM—we have a strong ecosystem and ventures organisation to in place support our strategic partnerships and ensure the gears of business turn smoothly.” Jackson-Merrick concluded.
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