IBM is set to bounce back and take a step closer to three of the world’s largest integrators, in terms of revenue growth, by next year, if the latest analysis by Technology Business Research (TBR) is anything to go by.
TBR principal analyst and practice manager, Patrick Heffernan, published a report in October investigating at the state of play for four global integrators, Accenture, Atos, Capgemini and, of course, IBM, and looking at how they are likely to fare over the coming year or two.
One of the standout predictions outlined by Heffernan was the expectation that IBM, which in October revealed 22 straight quarters of declining revenue, would bounce back by the end of 2018, to see positive revenue growth once again.
Weak demand from customers had left its legacy hardware and software businesses stagnating. However, growth in IBM's cloud, cybersecurity and data analytics business rose by 11 per cent to account for about 46 per cent of the company’s total revenue.
This forecast growth is expected to see IBM’s revenue growth rate pull in closer to those of Accenture, Atos and Capgemini, all of which Heffernan’s predictions suggest will either remain relatively static or fall slightly over the coming year.
From Heffernan’s perspective, the four integrators focus on different areas in which to invest and allocate resources. Likewise, each company also claims its own go-to-market strategies.
However, there is one common thread connecting all of them: they look to emerging technologies to fuel revenues going forward.
At the same time, Accenture and IBM have a habit of depending on organisational shifts and partnering to accelerate growth, whereas Atos and Capgemini, both smaller, will be able to look to acquisitions or investments for near-term revenue boosts, according to Heffernan.
The analyst flags Accenture’s investments in strategic initiatives around revenue diversification, business optimisation, new ventures and scope expansion as a major factor that will shape the breadth and depth of the company’s capabilities going forward, ultimately helping the firm gain and maintain its position in the market.
It has been noted by other analysts, meanwhile, that IBM is streamlining its delivery model to support corporate initiatives around cloud, cognitive and digital solutions, which is driving services sales.
However, the integrator may need to take additional steps to bring its multiple offerings under a single banner to boost future performance.
TBR analysts anticipate that aligning business consulting, cognitive‐ and cloud‐enabled application development, and hybrid IT management under a unified ‘IBM Services’ organisation could simplify client engagement and internal operations.
For Atos, the firm will likely sustain its acquisition activities to further expand global reach in its e-payments business while capturing digital transformation opportunities in markets such as North America.
While Capgemini has a global presence, including in Australia, it is expected that the company will continue drawing upon its established presence and proximity to clients in Europe, along with its knowledge of local industry and regulatory requirements, to capture digital and cloud work.
Looking for other sources of growth
As it stands, TBR expects IBM’s revenue growth to surge between now and the end of 2018, while it is anticipated that Capgemini’s revenue growth will remain fairly static or rising slightly.
For Atos and Accenture, however, TBR expects both to see revenue growth fall slightly over the coming year.
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