How Avanade keeps pace with Microsoft and the market

Systems integrator Avanade has had to adapt to Microsoft’s evolution into an “ecosystem platform” that includes open-source software

Global systems integrator Avanade has restructured its organisation in its new financial year to keep pace with the marketplace and the corporate direction of its co-owner Microsoft.

Speaking to Computer Weekly in Singapore, Avanade’s global head of product and innovation Pamela Maynard said the company has had to adapt to Microsoft’s evolution into an “ecosystem platform” that now includes open source software.

Maynard said Avanade, which is growing in the “strong double digit” territory across Asia, has been restructured to focus on four key areas.

These include helping enterprises to equip employees with digital workplace tools, migrating legacy applications to the cloud, deploying cloud-native business applications, as well as harnessing data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).

The changes have also redefined Avanade’s capabilities and the partners it should be working with, Maynard said. Avanade’s engineers, for example, have had to pick up new skills, including being conversant with open source technologies that underpin developments in AI and cloud computing.

“Taking advantage of modern, cloud-native apps doesn’t just require – as it would have in the old days – coding in .Net; it also requires understanding of open-source,” Maynard said. “Our software engineers are transforming their skills to not only understand Microsoft technologies, but also use open source technologies to build new applications.”

At the same time, Avanade is working closely with clients to drive innovation through workshops that explore the use of emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality. These workshops are conducted in digital innovation studios being planned for markets including Singapore, Australia and Japan, Maynard said.

Although Avanade’s fortunes are closely tied to Microsoft’s, Maynard said Avanade itself has developed its own ecosystem strategy to ride through the peaks and troughs that the software giant goes through.

Part of that strategy, Maynard said, is to identify strategic partners, such as robotic process automation specialists UiPath and Blue Prism, which Avanade works with to augment Microsoft technologies. “We’ve also created an emerging technology function to form relationships with smaller ISVs [independent software vendors].”

In addition, Avanade, created nearly two decades ago as a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft, has started an advisory practice to help enterprises better understand how different technologies will play out in the marketplace, even as Microsoft remains a key platform that underpins its work with clients.

In a research note, IDC said Avanade, in spite of its growing focus on advisory services, is still seen as a source of implementation knowhow that Accenture can tap on for client engagements that require a strong Microsoft element.

“While that’s an important part of Avanade’s charter, the company is more than that,” said Douglas Hayward, associate vice-president at IDC. “The mid-market segment client is an area where Accenture traditionally has low traction; if Avanade can make its own way among Microsoft-heavy clients in the Global 2000 segment, it can bring a lot of new value to its majority owner.”

Read more about IT in APAC

Read more on IT consultancy

Data Center
Data Management