Accenture, PwC and EY have been ranked as the world’s top cloud professional services providers respectively, based on an analysis of their capabilities and strategies by IDC.
Ranked in the IDC MarketScape Worldwide Cloud Professional Services assessment, the three global systems integrators sit above other ‘leaders’, of which sits Mckinsey, Deloitte, Capgemini, Infosys, HCL and DXC Technology.
On the fringes of the leader category sit Wipro, IBM and HPE, while the likes of Kyndryl, Hitachi Vantara, Dell, Cisco, Huawei, Tech Mahindra and NTT Data sit in the ‘major players’ category.
“At this point, almost every historically technical consultancy can point to bona fide business consultants and strategists on staff, while the once "pure" strategy firms have deep cloud implementation experience,” IDC said in the report.
“This expansion of capabilities is one reason why you will see some non-traditional competitors featured in this evaluation and why some of the firms evaluated are also partnering with one another. Buyers need to think about providers' expanding capabilities akin to a college graduate with a major and a minor, and prioritise their needs accordingly.”
According to IDC’s report, technology customers were asked what characteristics are required for any cloud professional services vendor to be successful at a worldwide level.
Of the responses, the most frequently mentioned attributes were "provide an appropriate and high-quality team for the project" and "provide technical insights and competence."
The least frequently mentioned characteristics were "presence of local offices and local resources" and "optimise ratio of onshore-offshore efforts on project”, IDC’s report wrote.
Across the board, buyers rated their actual vendors' performance strongest for providing technical insights and competence and then for leveraging resources globally.
"Cloud professional service providers continue to expand capabilities, often through acquisition, to complement their traditional strengths," said Gard Little, research vice president of IDC global services, markets and trends.
"At this point, almost every historically technical consultancy can point to bona fide business consultants and strategists on staff, while the once 'pure' strategy firms have deep cloud implementation experience. This expansion of capabilities is one reason why you will see some non-traditional competitors featured in this evaluation."
Indeed, there have been numerous acquisitions in the local professional services space. In Australia, Deloitte recently bought the partners Sliced Tech and Entrago, while in New Zealand, Tech Mahindra bought tech consultancy Tenzing.
‘You get what you pay for’
When compiling the findings, IDC looked at some of customers’ biggest reasons for choosing cloud professional service providers. The primary reason was to "comply with new or existing regulations," then "drive innovation around cloud products software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service then "improve operational efficiency."
IDC also said it had seen cloud-based innovation capture much more attention over the past two years as buyers increasingly realise that cloud is much less a cost takeout play and much more a way to differentiate digital products and services as well as produce improved customer experiences (CX).
The least frequently mentioned responses were "expand into new markets/geographies," which was the same as in 2020, and then "improve employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity" and finally "reduce costs."
Giving advice to potential buyers, IDC said businesses should make cloud governance approach a top selection criterion; consider how business agile you must become; evaluate the need and ability to drive custom software-based innovation and to use this evaluation in the vendor selection process.
“Many clients of the providers evaluated justified their vendor selections, whether they were considered good or not so good, with the old idiom, ‘you get what you pay for,’ but what exactly does that mean in the context of cloud professional services?” IDC said.
“Traditionally, professional service providers have considered three dimensions (price, speed, and quality) when engaging with clients and have only let clients pick two of the dimensions for a given project, thus allowing the provider some room to manoeuvre.
“But in the world of cloud services, it is often possible to deliver high quality, quickly, and at a good price, so other considerations become increasingly important,” the report said.