CSPs, Small business

Accenture Expands SMB Cloud Consulting Services

Peter van Tilburg
Peter van Tilburg

At first glance, Accenture is focused on global 2000 enterprises and the larger end of the midmarket sector. But take a closer look at Accenture's Cloud First Agenda -- and you'll discover the consulting and integration company now serves SMB businesses with as few as 100 employees.

The latest example involves Accenture acquiring CRMWaypoint -- a Salesforce.com consulting firm in the Netherlands. The buyout is part of the broader Cloud First Agenda, which is a global push for Accenture.

Peter van Tilburg, Accenture's Cloud First Applications lead for the Netherlands, explained the strategy to ChannelE2E this morning. van Tilburg is an 11-year Accenture veteran, and has focused on the CRM market for about 18 years or so.

Accenture Cloud First Agenda: Big Picture

When it comes to a true business or IT transformation, Accenture is recommending a "cloud first" strategy. That means Accenture is helping its clientele to look first toward the cloud for potential options. If the cloud offerings aren't quite a fit yet for the customer, only then does Accenture recommend an on-premises technology, according to van Tilburg.

Accenture's cloud team typically works with customers in three ways. The approaches include:

  1. Advisory services on how to move to the cloud. Here, Accenture helps customers to understand "what truly is state of the art and what isn't."
  2. Implementation services.
  3. Integration and support. A lot of the technologies need to be integrated into the overall system landscape of the client, which is often partially ion the cloud and partially on premises.

In some cases, Accenture also offers managed services for the cloud deployments. That typically happens in larger deployments during which Accenture gains deep knowledge of the customer's business and systems. And the large customer, in turn, is frequently looking for someone to provide maintenance for those systems, van Tilburg says.

Accenture SMB Cloud Consulting Push

While many of Accenture's cloud projects still involve large clients, three key shifts have pulled the company into the SMB market.

First, cloud projects typically have shorter implementation cycles compared to traditional enterprise ERP rollouts. In order to maintain high utilization rates for Accenture's team, it made a lot of sense for the company to push into small enterprises, van Tilburg told ChannelE2E.

Second, Accenture has acquired numerous consulting firms that already serve small and midsize businesses. In addition to CRMWaypoint, the buyouts have included:

Third, Accenture's staff values the opportunity to move from one type of engagement (say, an enterprise company going digital) to another type of engagement (for instance, a small business that's leveraging the cloud for growth activities), van Tilburg says. Those smaller projects, he adds, allow Accenture to test the waters before bringing new capabilities to larger enterprise clientele.

Still, Accenture does not plan to push down into truly small businesses -- those with fewer than 100 employees. Mom-and-pop shops, van Tilburg says, are not within Accenture's target customer base.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.