Cloud services provider Bulletproof was sold to AC3 in 2018, but its engagement with the Australian mid-market has clearly left its mark on its founder, Anthony Woodward, who is once again turning to the mid-market, this time with a mission to help it transform.
Woodward first announced the founding of Accelera in early 2019. At the time, Accelera was touted as a digital transformation specialist with plans to take on “incumbent IT vendors” across the market.
Since then, the form and strategic aim of Accelera has been refined, with digital transformation consulting services for mid-market businesses looking to disrupt, or fend off disruptors, currently taking top billing.
For Woodward, this approach to market represents a continuation of the mid-market focus he developed while helming Bulletproof, but this time it is less about the technology and more about a holistic, vendor agnostic approach to strategic transformation.
“Having gone through the Bulletproof process, we’ve seen how over 700 different customers have tackled disruption, but from a technology perspective,” Woodward told ARN. “But one thing that is common across all projects is that when technical outcomes are disconnected from strategy, it doesn’t work.
“So, our [Accelera’s] core is to make sure that company owners know that if they’re going to go through a technical process, it has to be strategically driven, and the outcomes have to be measured that way,” he said.
This is perhaps why Woodward has opted to go with the consultancy model this time around, leaving technology delivery to a roster of integration partners that Accelera will work with as needs demand. Indeed, the company has already partnered up with CXO Security, while other partnerships are on the horizon.
Given Accelera’s vendor agnostic stance, this approach is likely to work well, although Woodward hasn’t ruled out eventually developing those technical delivery skills internally at some point.
“For the execution component, we bring that in through partners the ability to deliver on those. In the longer term, we may choose to acquire or build those capabilities as well,” Woodward said.
From Woodward’s perspective, this approach is all about working towards the outcomes that end customers want to see. However, this is not always an easy path, with a lot of organisations pointing looking to a wholesale cloud migration as an endpoint solution when a different mix of technology solutions may better fit their business needs.
“There’s probably around 10 top vendors that you would naturally go towards in terms of implementation of platforms and services you bring to a digital transformation project,” Woodward said. “What’s really important to the end customer is, who are the people actually doing the implementation and what are the outcomes they will bring.
“Companies often want to go to the cloud. The question we then ask is ‘why?’. If there isn’t a good answer to that, it means we have to go back to the strategic drivers and the business drivers that you’re trying to achieve.
“Cloud, as a toolset for enabling innovation is very powerful. That’s absolutely true. Is it necessarily the right platform for all applications today? I’m not really sure. That’s why we try to stay agnostic to that,” he said.
It is hoped that this approach will be a good fit for the mid-market which, from Woodward’s perspective, possesses both high levels of disruption and the ability to be agile.
Woodward and his team have found that there is a lot of discussion about disruption in the midmarket, including the fear that businesses are going to be disrupted, which seems to be the dominant narrative, and discussions about how to actually take advantage of disruptive forces to get a lead in the market.
Accelera’s goals are all about making its customers into disruptors.
“The vision behind Accelera isn’t that different from the vision behind previous businesses, which is really around embracing technology to do business differently, and ideally better and faster,” Woodward said.
Now, with a plan in place, Woodward and his team have embarked on a go-to-market initiative that will see them engage with company owners and have a discussion around how comfortable they are about their business’s readiness for disruption that is coming.
“And I don’t know a sector that is not facing disruption in its near or distant future or are heavily in it right now,” Woodward said.