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Accenture CEO: Pandemic Has “Compressed” Digital Transformation

By Joe Tsidulko, Oracle—April 1, 2021
Accenture logo

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Accenture has seen the emergence of a phenomenon that’s significantly hastening enterprise IT buying and implementation cycles—and changing the nature of channel partnerships as a result.

This trend—one Accenture characterizes as “compressed transformation”—is driving systems integrators to lean on technology partners like Oracle to deliver solutions that meet the evolving needs of customers amid rapid disruption, Accenture CEO Julie Sweet told Oracle CEO Safra Catz.

Making that point at a CEO Summit held during Accenture’s Oracle Cloud Week, Sweet said their companies’ long history of collaboration and close alignment has engendered the ability to adapt to sudden and unexpected market realities. And the shared commitment to constant innovation that Oracle and Accenture have exhibited for decades has given customers confidence the partners can jointly solve unprecedented business challenges brought on by the current crisis.

Enterprises have realized that putting off technology refresh decisions is likely more costly than steaming into them, Sweet said.

Over the last 12 months, Accenture’s conversations with customers were often about “how do we go faster and how do we manage transformation in multiple parts of the organization at the same time,” Sweet said.

It wasn’t so long ago that most large companies considered it risky to move fast—they worried they couldn’t handle too much change, adapt to too many new technologies, Catz noted.

The pandemic has flipped that dynamic on its head.

“Now it’s clear that if you don’t move really fast, it could be fatal,” Catz told her counterpart at Accenture.

Working together for 30 years, Oracle and Accenture have delivered cutting-edge innovations—including the deployment of some of the world’s largest cloud implementations-- to more than 7,000 joint customers. During that longstanding collaboration, the two companies have also forged bonds and expertise that enable them to accelerate deployments to meet the needs of customers adapting to the current, coronavirus-impacted environment.

In so many of those joint engagements, “the sum is bigger than the two parts … by a lot,” Catz said.

 

Simplicity and Flexibility Power Customer Success

Covid-19 has “brought everyone extreme clarity about one thing,” Catz said: “That the closer they are to their customers, and the more technology they use…even under these work-from-home and other restrictions, the better they will do.”

With expedited deployment and trial periods, those customers want technology that’s as easy to integrate and use as possible, yet still powerful enough to enable them to get their jobs done at a difficult time.

Meeting those challenges depends on a flexible technology stack that allows for projects that don’t have to be carefully sequenced. Accenture and other systems integrators are relying on technology vendors like Oracle to arm them with solutions that are composable, flexible, simple, and highly scalable, Sweet said.

Oracle delivers that kind of innovation in a way that supports shifting customers’ culture toward new ways of working, Sweet added.

Catz agreed the hard part of digital transformation isn’t the technology as much as it’s the people. And that’s where the Oracle and Accenture alliance really shines.

“They understand every project is the beginning of a long, long relationship and that they can only be successful when the customer is successful,” she said of Accenture.

The unprecedented global crisis all businesses have been navigating is ramping the pace at which those relationships are built.

Many organizations that “stayed in the 20th Century realize twenty years in they need to get to the 21st,” Catz said.

Seemingly overnight they saw they can’t afford their old processes, she added, and that “change has to happen at a faster rate.”