Indian Clients Like to have ROI visibility on Analytics: Accenture

BW CIO World met Saurabh Sahu, Managing Director and Lead, Accenture Analytics-India to discuss how Indian markets compare with global markets when it comes to investing in analytics. Saurabh also explained the working of an ROI tool that shows baseline benefits.

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Photo Credit : Accenture India,

Saurabh Sahu, Managing Director and Lead, Accenture Analytics-India

Indian CIOs want to see the ROI on analytics investments upfront. Accenture India has a cross-industry tool to show some baseline benefits on Analytics.

BW CIO World met Saurabh Sahu, Managing Director and Lead, Accenture Analytics-India to discuss how Indian markets compare with global markets when it comes to investing in analytics. Saurabh also explained the working of this tool in great detail.

Excerpts from the interview follow.

BW: How did Accenture get into Analytics services? How does Analytics fit into your overall Digital strategy?

Saurabh Sahu: We started to converse with clients on analytics six years ago. At that point clients had different interpretations of analytics, so we created a single definition for it. In the last 6 years we have been able to grow the business well, from one or two clients across the firm to more than 25 clients today in India across industries such as automotive, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals etc. We are predominantly doing sales and marketing transformation.
The analytics vertical grew in size and stature because there was a huge demand in the market around it, cross-industry. In the last few years Accenture has bet significantly on digital, which is paying off immensely for us, at the global level as well as the India level. We are the leading provider of digital services, digital management consultancy services for clients; in that same vein analytics turned out to be one of the key drivers of digital within the Indian context. Digital comprises of multiple things such as mobility, blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning.
Analytics for India turned out to be a significant competitor of digital because most Indian clients like to have an ROI -- they focus essentially on looking at what value they can get from their investments, and once they’re convinced about the ROI, then they’re putting significant amount of bandwidth and focus investments around it.

BW: How does the Indian market compare with global markets?

Saurabh Sahu: In some industries outside India, which are more mature markets like the US and UK, there is a certain amount of investment made upfront (for analytics) and a fair amount of bandwidth is kept upfront for investment.

Indian clients, especially CIOs, prefer to see something in action; demonstrable proof of concept and then they go about it. The good thing is that over the years we have been able to scale up analytics from simple proof concepts to large scale multi-year engagements. It's no longer a 3-4 month period for demonstrating something. These have now become very strategic enablers for clients. And the path we follow is that the core of analytics is always the business problem or the business priority of the client -- like what is it that you’re trying to solve for, and then analytics is used as a platform to help solve a particular business problem -- unlike the other way around, where it is to say that, okay let’s buy an IT software and then try to fit it in. For instance, people (would earlier say): you know there are 10 people doing SAP implementation, so let’s buy SAP and figure it, out how it fits in.

BW: What are the kind of analytics services you provide to clients?

Saurabh Sahu: We are a platform agnostic service provider. We offer a mix of consulting, system integration and outsourcing. We are agnostic across profits and we work across all products and analytics --  across this spectrum like hardware to software. We keep business clarity the focus of the client. Clients primarily know us or recognize us as people who can get things done, significant implementors or execution enablers.

Even our consulting services is primarily pegged on getting things done, realising value for the client. The traditional consulting work we've done is improving sales volume of automotive companies; looking at cost reduction of, say pharmaceutical clients, construction equipment clients and the likes of it. Now analytics is getting embedded in the actual business executions.

BW: How do you show the ROI on analytics upfront? Do you have some ROI calculators or specific models?

Saurabh Sahu: We do two things: First is a Value Tree. It’s an analytics value tree wherein, across various functions of a company --  sales, marketing, supply chain, procurement, finance, HR -- we have identified some key analytics interventions which work in each of these functions, and which can deliver serious business impact. We have demonstrated this in our past.

For instance if you take Sales, the Value Tree specifies three value drivers: Improve Sales Conversions, Price Optimisation, Saes Force effectiveness. Then it specifies the analytics interventions:  Pipeline Analytics & Propensity Modelling; Pricing Analytics; Sales Force Productivity Analytics. Finally it gives the typical business benefits for each: 8 – 10 per cent volume growth (Pipeline Analytics & Propensity Modelling); 2 – 5 per cent revenue uplift (Pricing Analytics).

Likewise, we have a Value Tree for Marketing, After Sales, Supply Chain, Finance & Accounting, Manufacturing and other functions.

This is industry specific. These are pre-build proprietary algorithms. We first use it as a standard tool, on the client data and it gives some baseline or incremental benefits. If a particular client has certain idiosyncrasies or particularities in itself, we wait and try to customize the tool or platform to the client's context. We have cross-industry experience of 7 – 8 years in developing and testing this tool.



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