The constant transformation of the business landscape today has meant that the business services sector has continued to evolve with new services, technologies, and nontraditional competitors blurring the category lines.
While full-stack, end-to-end service and products remain an advantage, the dominance of IBM in mainframe, Amazon in cloud, and Accenture in digital, with AI and Bitcoin dominance still being determined, makes the market far from predictable.
The market’s rapid rate of change places an even greater emphasis on a brand’s ability to be agile and quick to adapt to emerging technologies in order to get ahead.
We have seen Accenture invest $1.7 billion across 37 acquisitions, buying up modest-sized businesses to acquire intellectual property and tech competencies to fuel their own evolution. Similarly, while IBM has focused on generating a record 9,043 patents, nearly half of these are in AI, cloud, blockchain, quantum, security, and other technologies that will power its portfolio in the future.
Interbrand’s Best Global Brands analysis shows that choice within the business services sector is 30% brand driven, which is only marginally lower than the automotive, electronics, and retail sectors. What’s more, the role of brands in decision-making is likely to expand even more in the future as clients seek visionary partners that possess both stability and security to help develop their enterprises.
Today’s business services providers maximize their sales and value propositions among their existing client bases by migrating them to new services and offers. Increasingly, however, as they seek to grow their client bases, drawing from their competitors’ key clients and leading the way in emerging areas like blockchain and AI, we will see the power of branding playing an even greater role.
Greater emphasis will be placed on the brand to represent the underlying purpose of the organization, attracting the very best talent, while at the same time increasing levels of consumer engagement, relevance, and responsiveness to remain one step ahead.
Over the past 12 months, IBM has led the way with investments in its brand, focusing on its positioning and emphasizing the role that smart technology plays across the industry to build relevance and responsiveness. Specifically, IBM has positioned itself as the industry engine (similar to Intel, the not-so-secret man behind the curtain), empowering its clients while successfully leveraging its Watson brand. Watson provides a face and personality to big data and demonstrates the power of mega computing — two important levers for the brand.
Accenture, on the other hand, continues to focus on high-performance-oriented campaigns and thought leadership, to demonstrate its savviness in emerging business technologies. This strong emphasis on building up Accenture as a brand has contributed to a continued growth in brand value.
Winning on scale, infrastructure, security, and delivery, which have been the traditional success pillars in business services, will increasingly become table stakes as technology solutions evolve to next-generation services. In the future, trust, relationships, and purpose will play a greater role in defining sustainable success.