Category Archives: Accenture

Accenture outlines future of cloud and data analytics in sport

Accenture 3Although the digital age has created a wealth of opportunities for organizations to create new revenue streams and attract new audiences, maintaining engagement of these customers is becoming an increasing difficult job, according to Accenture’s Nick Millman.

The availability and ease of information in the 21st century has created a new dynamic where consumers are now becoming increasingly competent at multi-tasking and operating several devices, which has made the task of keeping a viewer’s attention throughout the course of a sporting event more challenging. Millman, who leads the Big Data & Analytics Delivery at Accenture, are using this dynamic to create new engagement opportunities for the Six Nations.

“There will be a number of people who will watch the entirety of a match, however there will be others who will be playing with their tablet or phone and enjoying the multi-screen experience,” said Millman. “To keep the level of engagement, sports need to become more digital themselves, providing more insight and data to fans who are watching the game. Ideally you want them to be on their phone looking at something which is relevant to the game as opposed to Facebook or what their friends are doing.”

Accenture first teamed up with the Six Nations as a technology partner four years ago, where the initial partnership focused on demonstrating the company’s mobility capabilities through creating the official app. What started as a basic app now acts as a delivery platform where Accenture can showcase their data analytics capabilities, processing more than 2 million rows of data per game and creating visuals in (near) real-time to tell a different story behind the sport itself.

The data itself is not necessarily the greatest use to the fans, so Accenture has brought in rugby experts year-on-year to help understand the nuances of the information. This year Nick Mallet, Ben Kay and David Flatman helped the team tell the story. This is the same in the business world. Data analysts themselves may not be able to make the right decisions when it’s comes to the application of the data, as they wouldn’t understand the market in the same way as a Managing Director who has been in the industry for 30 years. The application of data in sport and the business world will only be effective when it is merged with expertise and experience to provide context.

Accenture 2“One of the interesting things which we saw is that there is now an interesting dynamic between data driven decisions and gut feel,” Millman highlighted. “In some cases when you are watching the game you may think that one player would be considered the best on the park, but the data tells a different story. Seeing one hooker for example hit every line out perfectly might make him look like the most effective, but the data might suggest the opposition hooker who produced several small gains when carrying the ball had a greater impact on the game.

“This can translate into the business world also, as a marketing team may have a better feel about a product which it wants to push out to the market, but the data team have evidence which shows resource should be focused on a different area of the business,” said Millman. “I don’t think there is a right answer to what is better, data driven decision making or intuition, but it’s an interesting dynamic. The successful businesses will be the ones who are effective at blending the data and the skills to come to the right outcome.”

While the role of analytics is becoming more prominent in sport and the business world, there is still some education to be done before the concepts could be considered mainstream. Analytics may be big business in the enterprise segments, but there are still a large proportion of SMBs who do not understand the power of data analytics for their own business. The ability to cross sell, develop a stronger back story of your customer, maintain engagement or even implement artificial intelligence programs is only available once the core competencies of big data and analytics are embraced within the organization.

Accenture 1For Accenture, wearables and IoT are next on the horizon and potentially virtual reality in the future. This year the app was available on the Apple watch, as Millman is starting to see trends which could shift the consumption of data once again.

“It’s still early days, but some of the consumption of data is likely to shift from tablets and smartphones,” said Millman. “Like it shifted from desktops to laptops to smartphones and tablets, it may shift to wearable devices in the future.

“Also this year we build a prototype using virtual reality to immerse people into the rugby experience. I’m not sure VR will become mainstream in a sporting context in the next 12-18 months but I think increasingly VR and AR (augmented reality) will become a part of the sports viewing experience.”

Accenture and IPsoft team up to launch AI initiative

Robotic hand, accessing on laptop, the virtual world of information. Concept of artificial intelligence and replacement of humans by machines.Accenture has expanded its partnership with IPsoft to accelerate the adoption and implementation of artificial intelligence technologies.

As part of the relationship the team will launch the Accenture Amelia Practice, a new consulting arm for Accenture which will develop go-to-market strategies using the IPsoft’s product offering to build virtual agent technology for customers. In the first instance, the team will target the banking, insurance and travel industries.

“Artificial intelligence is maturing rapidly and offers great potential to reshape the way that organisations conduct business and interact with their customers and employees,” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s CTO “At the same time, executives are overwhelmed by the plethora of technologies and many products that are advertising AI or Cognitive capabilities.”

“With our new Accenture Amelia practice, we are taking an important step forward in advancing the business potential of artificial intelligence by combining IPsoft’s world-class virtual agent platform with Accenture’s broad technology capabilities and industry experience to help clients transform their business and operations.”

The extended partnership will focus on creating practical implementations for AI within the current business world, using automation at scale to increase organizational efficiencies. The IPsoft team have implemented the same concept with a number of customers including programs to answer invoicing queries from suppliers and front-line customer service bots.

Artificial intelligence is seemingly one of a number of new areas being prioritized by the Accenture team, as industry continues trends towards a more digitally enabled ecosystem. Recent research from highlighted the digital economy accounted for roughly 22% of the world’s total economy, with this figure predicted to rise to 25% by 2015. This figure was as low as 15% in 2005. The same research also predicts growth of new technology will continue on an upward scale, as 28% of the respondents believe the pace of change will increase “at an unprecedented rate”.

While Accenture’s business has predominantly been focused around traditional IT to date, the team’s future business will shift slightly towards disruptive technologies, building on its new business mantra ‘Every Business is a Digital Business’. AI is one of those prioritized disruptions, as it described artificial intelligence and intelligent automation as the “essential new co-worker for the digital age”.

It would appear Accenture are betting heavy on these new technologies as it claims 70% of executives are making significantly more investments in artificial intelligence technologies than they did in 2013, and 55% state that they plan on using machine learning and embedded AI solutions (like Amelia) extensively.

ATP teams up with Infosys to launch big data driven ranking system

ATPThe Association of Tennis Professionals, ATP, has partnered with Infosys to launch a new statistical way to measure the best performing ATP World Tour players.

The new ATP Stats Leaderboards makes use of Infosys’ data analytics capabilities to bring together recorded stats from various professionals on the tour today to rank them in three categories, Serving, Returning and Under Pressure, and even allows users to compare current players with greats from the past. The three categories can be broken down by surface, by year, by past 52 weeks or by career.

“These new statistics offer players, fans and media interesting new insights into how our athletes are rating in three key areas against their peers on the ATP World Tour,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman. “There is huge potential to understand our sport better through the development of new statistics, and we look forward to further advances coming soon in this area through our partnership with Infosys.”

The project uses the Infosys Information Platform, an opensource data analytics platform, and brings together the vast amount of data collected by the ATP over the years to give fans a concise rating of players on the tour today. The ranking are determined through various big data models combining several metrics including the number of double faults during a game, number of aces, the percentage of points won on an opponent’s serve and the number of successfully converted break points, to give a measure of how players are performing currently and in comparison to previous parts of the season.

“The uniqueness of our partnership with the ATP World Tour lies in being able to challenge the traditional models, and experiment and embrace technology to create a compelling experience for fans across the globe,” said U B Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer at Infosys. “We firmly believe that technology can amplify our ability to create this unique differentiation and we will continue to find newer avenues to elevate the fan experience.”

While this would be considered a novel concept for the game of tennis, the use of big data and advanced analytics tools is not new for the world of sports entertainment. Accenture Digital has been using its data analytics capabilities to predict the outcome of the Six Nations and the recent Rugby World Cup.

The company has been a technology partner of the Six Nations for five years now, and this year introduced an Oculus Rift beta virtual reality headset and development kit as part of the on-going marketing strategies to demonstrate its capabilities. The company claims to process more than 1.9 million rows of data during every match, and also developed parameters for 1800 algorithms to bring the data, dating back to 2006, to life. After each match, approximately 180,000 on-field actions were added to the increasing data store to refine the decision making capabilities.

Accenture enhances its Cloud Platform

Business consulting firm Accenture had released an enhanced version of its Accenture Cloud Platform, designed to improve its ability to help with the governance and control of cloud applications.

Accenture Cloud Platform exists to help companies manage their cloud service portfolio in a flexible and scalable way. It covers both public and private cloud resources and integrates with technologies such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Accenture claims the latest tweaks reduce the time to implement new cloud solutions, improve the cost efficiency and optimization of IT, and enhance the governance and control of cloud management.

“Organizations of all sizes are increasingly adopting As-a-Service operating models as they look for greater operational agility, and doing so requires the right cloud management tools,” said Jack Sepple, MD of, Cloud and Security at Accenture.

“This release of the Accenture Cloud Platform improves organizational capabilities to manage cloud sprawl, reducing the time needed to deploy cloud resources while providing a greater ability to innovate and integrate new solutions into the cloud quicker than ever.”

Accenture is being quite proactive around the cloud these days, having acquired Cloud Sherpas last month to boost its cloud consulting offering, especially for companies looking to make their initial transition. The fact that this announcement coincides with Amazon’s AWS re:Invent event is probably not a coincidence.

Accenture to buy Cloud Sherpas to help enterprise clients navigate the cloud

Accenture is to acquire advisory firm Cloud Sherpas, for an undisclosed fee, in a bid to beef up its cloud consultancy as more enterprises seek help with their hybrid computing strategies.

If concluded, the takeover will add 1,100 new staff to Accenture’s newly created Cloud First Applications team, which helps enterprises make their first moves towards a shared computing model.

Atlanta-based Cloud Sherpas has a similar mission statement, offering to guide enterprises through their cloud migrations. Since its creation in 2007 it has grown a global presence with offices in Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and the UK. With its main focus on helping companies to adopt off-premise software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems, its major technology partnerships are with Google, Salesforce and ServiceNow.

Cloud Sherpas has been recognised as a Salesforce Global Strategic Consulting Partner and is one of four ServiceNow Master Partners in the world. It has won Google’s Work Partner of the Year on four occasions.

Accenture, one of Salesforce’s first global partners, currently has 2,700 certified professionals. The acquisition of Cloud Sherpas could bring a further 500 certified professionals to its team. It claims to run 13,000 cloud computing projects, with a clientele that includes three-quarters of the Fortune Global 100. It has a total of 17,000 cloud computing professionals.

“Cloud Sherpas was born in the cloud and we are perfectly aligned with Accenture’s cloud first agenda,” said Cloud Sherpas’ CEO David Northington, “The new organisation should prove a good fit for Accenture’s cloud first push.”

Accenture needs the new intake in order to keep up with the rapid pace of cloud adoption by enterprises, according to Paul Daugherty, chief technology officer of Accenture: “We’ve reached a tipping point as our clients rapidly adopt cloud systems.”

Salesforce president Keith Block welcomed the combination of the firm’s two strategic partners. “It’s proof positive of the momentum around our customer success platform,” said Block.

Thames Tideway Tunnel taps Accenture in NetSuite deal

Accenture claims this is the first implementation of a multi-tenant cloud-based ERP system at a regulated utility in the UK

Accenture claims this is the first implementation of a multi-tenant cloud-based ERP system at a regulated utility in the UK

Thames Tideway Tunnel, the project company set up to manage London’s “super-sewer” overflow reduction project, has deployed NetSuite’s cloud-based ERP platform in a bid to reduce costs and drive flexibility in its financial and project planning operations.

The company, which is due to start construction on a super sewer system to tackle sewage overflowing into the River Thames, said it required a flexible, low-cost IT systems implementation to support its core financial and project planning operations.

It enlisted Accenture to help deploy NetSuite OneWorld across the organisation.

“An agile and intuitive back-office IT system is critical for effective management and delivery of large-scale infrastructure projects,” said Robin Johns, head of Information Systems at Thames Tideway Tunnel.

“We selected Accenture to help us with this implementation based on its extensive experience with NetSuite cloud ERP technology and complex system integrations. We also chose Accenture for its ability to offer practical solutions to deliver an IT platform that will help facilitate financing and construction of the super sewer, while keeping costs down for customers,” Johns said.

Maureen Costello, managing director of Accenture’s utilities practice in the UK and Ireland said this is the first implementation of a multi-tenant cloud-based ERP system at a regulated utility in the UK.

It “demonstrates the company’s innovative approach and commitment to efficiently manage the delivery of this capital project,” Costello said.

Accenture: For most enterprises, IT-as-a-Service will have to wait

Enterprises are slow to adopt ITaaS

Enterprises are slow to adopt ITaaS

Enterprises are looking to adopt IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) models and modernise their digital systems in a bid to become more competitive, but recently published research suggests most aren’t budging on their existing strategies. Michael Corcoran, senior managing director, global growth and strategy at Accenture, the firm that commissioned the research, told BCN that leaning more on cloud services, using analytics and becoming more automated could help them speed up the transition.

The transition to ITaaS is up there with DevOps and Agile when it comes to cultural and organisational modernisation and service improvement. It implies IT moving from being a monolithic procurement centre to a dynamic internal service provider, something most big organisations need to do in order to more effectively compete in digital.

Accenture and HfS Research surveyed 716 enterprise service buyers and found that 53 per cent of senior executives view ITaaS as critical for their organisation, yet 68 per cent of respondents said their core enterprise processes will not be delivered as-a-service for five or more years.

The research suggests this may be partly due to differing opinions or objectives within the organisations polled. More than half of service buyer senior leaders view aaS as critical and 61 per cent are ready to replace legacy providers in order to achieve their desired outcomes. But the same can’t be said for middle manager and delivery staff: just 29 per cent see the value of aaS in the same way.

“Many enterprise operations executives and service providers must make intrinsic changes to how they operate to stay relevant in an uncertain and challenging future,” said Phil Fersht, chief executive and founder, HfS Research. “It’s the forward-thinking service buyers and providers who set out their vision and path forward for sourcing with defined business outcomes aligned to the as-a-service ideals, that will achieve success. The conservative among us who refuse to accept these times of unprecedented, disruptive transition will be competitively challenged.”

Corcoran told BCN that much of the onus is on service providers, which need to invest in developing as-a-service capabilities. But enterprises also need to deploy the right mix of technologies and invest in the right skills to make the transition happen.

“By effectively moving to the cloud and applying the right digital technology, automation, artificial intelligence and analytics to unlock competitive advantage from data, and utilizing talent smartly, companies are in a better position to innovate faster, create new services and drive business outcomes that positively impact their top and bottom-line,” Corcoran explained.

“49 per cent of today’s enterprise buyers expect to move to a “wide-scale transformation of business processes enabled by new technology tools/platforms” in just two years. So it’s clear that many operational leaders are recognizing the need to steer their enterprises away from legacy delivery models and move towards the cloud and its material business outcomes.”

Freeport-McMoRan moves its apps into hybrid cloud

Freeport-McMoRan has given itself five years to complete the cloud migration

Freeport-McMoRan has given itself five years to complete the cloud migration

Copper and gold producer Freeport-McMoRan is embarking on a five-year project aimed at migrating its core IT applications over to a hybrid cloud platform. The company said the move is aimed at helping it become more agile and reduce overall IT spending.

Freeport-McMoRan is migrating to a system developed by Accenture and based on Microsoft Azure; the company said its core applications will be deployed on a combination of private and public cloud platforms, with Avanade and Accenture offering up a series of tools helping the company automate and manage its workloads.

“This program brings innovation and cloud economics to bear as we work to become more agile, drive increased revenue, and continue our focus on items that impact mine production,” said Bertrand Odinet, vice president and chief information officer of Freeport-McMoRan.

“By partnering with Accenture, we will gain the ability to grow our service portfolio and scale our IT services in line with our global business requirements,” Odinet said.

Amy K. Dale, managing director and client account lead, Accenture said: “We are collaborating with Freeport-McMoRan to help them evolve to an everything ‘as-a-service’ model, giving them the ability to easily provision new capabilities, reduce risk associated with vendor ‘lock-in’ and enable them to scale their IT services up and down as needed.”

Freeport-McMoRan is the latest natural resource firm to move its core applications into the cloud. In April this year Rio Tinto announced a partnership with Accenture that will see it move the bulk of its application landscape to Accenture’s public cloud service in a bid to save costs and switch to an “as-a-service” IT model.

UK Department of Health taps Accenture, Avanade for cloud deployment

The UK Department of Health is overhauling its comms technology

The UK Department of Health is overhauling its comms technology

Department of Health in England and NHS National Services Scotland have selected Accenture and Avanade to implement a range of cloud-based communications service across England and Scotland.

The NHSmail service is being developed and deployed to enable secure communication to users of less secure systems such as non-NHS partners and patients.

“Almost 700,000 doctors, clinicians and other health and care employees already use NHSmail to communicate securely,” said Aimie Chapple, managing director for Accenture’s UK health business.

“The new improved NHSmail service will provide significant digital technology improvements to help NHS staff drive even more effective collaboration at all points of patient care. This will be one of the largest mailbox migrations ever delivered and will bring significant benefits to the way NHS employees exchange information, communicate and interact across healthcare,” she said.

The five-year deal will also see Accenture and Avanade help overhaul the department’s internal email service and deploy other cloud-based communications services across the NHS including an enterprise-wide directory and Microsoft Lync for enabling instant messaging, VOIP, audio and video communication in a bid to enhance collaboration among NHS healthcare workers across the UK.

Over the past few years the NHS has sought to lean more heavily on cloud services in a bid to improve the care services offered to patients and to reduce the cost of provision, though by its own admission it has struggled.

In the NHS’s five year plan released in November 2014 the department said past failures to successfully adopt more robust IT infrastructure and make its digital services more effective is because it hasn’t changed how it procures those technologies and services, which is where the UK government hopes programmes like G-Cloud will play a leading role, and the lack of attention paid to standards.

“Part of why progress has not been as fast as it should have been is that the NHS has oscillated between two opposite approaches to information technology adoption – neither of which now makes sense. At times we have tried highly centralised national procurements and implementations. When they have failed due to lack of local engagement and lack of sensitivity to local circumstances, we have veered to the opposite extreme of ‘letting a thousand flowers bloom’,” the Five Year Forward View reads. “The result has been systems that don’t talk to each other, and a failure to harness the shared benefits that come from interoperable systems.”

BT, Accenture and Cisco form Wireless IoT Forum board

The Wireless IoT Forum has announced its founding board memebers

The Wireless IoT Forum has announced its founding board memebers

Following its launch in March, the Wireless IoT Forum has announced its founding board members, featuring BT, Cisco, Accenture and Telensa among others, reports Telecoms.com.

The forum is a collaborative industry effort designed to help further define the requirements of the wireless WAN in an IoT era. Specifically, the group claims it is looking to drive the widespread adoption of wireless WAN tech by removing fragmentation and drive consolidation around a minimal set of standards for licensed and license-except wireless solutions

Ensuring the interoperability of solutions running throughout the entire IoT stack is one of the primary challenges associated with bringing the Internet of Things to fruition. As such, CEO of the WIoT Forum William Webb believes solving compatibility issues remains key to driving the broad scale adoption of IoT.

“…the risk presented by fragmentation remains very real,” he said. “Without widely-agreed open standards we risk seeing pockets of proprietary technology developing independently, preventing the benefits of mass-market scale. We are delighted today to be announcing our inaugural membership and to begin work to drive towards a collective view on the right way to deliver widespread IoT services.”

BT’s Mark Harrop reckons the IoT industry should look at using GSM as a benchmark for collaboration. “As the success of the GSM standard in the mobile world showed, working to open industry standards is critical to creating the necessary situation for mass market success,” he said. “By aligning the complete value chain in defining and promoting these standards the Wireless IoT Forum is ideally suited to make the Internet of Things a success.”

Under the remit of the association are a variety of working groups, focussing on four core areas; including marketing and requirements; review of applications and standard APIs; connectivity and networking challenges, including configurations, security and radio access for low power wide area networks; and finally regulation.