Vodafone inks strategic partnership with Accenture

Global professional services company to form pan-European and African telco as it announces acceleration of transformation to commercialise operations and accelerate growth

In the latest part of its corporate change to simplify the organisation, cut out complexity and regain competitiveness after 2022 financial results described by chief executive Margherita Della Valle as “not good enough”, Vodafone Group is to create a strategic partnership with professional services company Accenture intended to commercialise its shared operations and accelerate growth, enhance customer service, and drive efficiencies for its operating companies and partner markets.

Accenture will invest in the order of €150m for a minority stake in the partnership, which will be built on the pan-European and African telecoms company’s shared services unit, Vodafone Intelligent Solutions (VOIS), to create a scaled, commercially driven and what is hoped to be more efficient organisation, with high-quality services and enhanced speed to market for its portfolio of offerings. Vodafone will retain majority interest, management control and sourcing decisions.

The two companies believe that by using their brands, investments, scale, strengths and expertise, they can build on over a decade of high-performance expansion and accelerate Vodafone’s transformation by creating a more agile and efficient organisation that will enable its strategy to focus on customers and simplicity.

The firms have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding, and the strategic partnership is subject to completion of the definitive agreements, which are expected to be completed in the Spring of 2024.

The new unit will also use Accenture’s technology and transformation services, such as its digital offerings and platforms, and deep artificial intelligence expertise. It will also tap into Accenture’s learning capabilities to continuously create new skilling and career paths for its people.

“Today’s announcement is a significant development for Vodafone as we change and simplify the way we work to better serve our customers and drive growth,” said Margherita Della Valle, group CEO at Vodafone.

“The partnership with Accenture opens up new opportunities for our company and our people. We’re excited about the potential of our new commercial shared services organisation and the potential to serve not only Vodafone’s own markets but our telco partners across the industry.”

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Accenture chair and CEO Julie Sweet said: “We are proud to have partnered with Vodafone for over 20 years across many strategic programs. We are excited to take our partnership to a new level with this ground-breaking joint venture that will help power Vodafone’s reinvention and create significant value for their operating companies, partner markets and employees.

“This move speaks to their ambition to work in entirely new ways, reduce structural complexity, open avenues for growth, create better experiences for their customers and provide additional career paths for their people.”

The news comes just as Vodafone announced binding agreements with European telecommunications, media and technology investment house Zegona for the sale of 100% of Vodafone Spain in a deal valued at €5bn, and as the telco’s UK arm’s prospective merger with Three UK is being investigated by the country’s Competition and Markets Authority.

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