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NTT DATA: Focusing on Scaling Up Salesforce Capabilities while Expanding Portfolio


We recently had an update from NTT DATA regarding its Salesforce services activities across the different countries it operates in. At a global level, the company’s priority is to scale up its Salesforce services capabilities, with recruitment as a priority.

Salesforce keeps making horizontal M&As at a fast pace while verticalizing its software products. NTT DATA is mirroring this approach by strengthening its portfolio around Commerce and Marketing Clouds along with MuleSoft, while creating verticalized offerings. Finally, NTT DATA is working on better coordinating its various units and driving synergies between its Salesforce units and its other digital consulting divisions.

Scaling up Salesforce capabilities

NTT DATA has 1,000 Salesforce certified professionals currently, and is planning further expansion, prioritizing organic growth. Accordingly, the company is retraining some employees, for example Siebel and Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultants and J2EE developers, with Salesforce skills. And NTT DATA is also recruiting, targeting both developers with five years of experience and new graduates.

While NTT DATA has been one of the most acquisitive firms in IT services, in the field of Salesforce services it is taking a cautious approach. The company is no longer targeting Salesforce pure-plays, now considering these to be often expensive as well as niche. Instead, NTT DATA favors buying larger firms that bring a wider range of capabilities, such as Sierra Systems in 2018 in Canada which brought in around 700 employees offering IT consulting, systems integration, and application management services, including Salesforce capabilities.

Expanding horizontal capabilities, including around MuleSoft

Just as Salesforce is expanding its capabilities both horizontally and vertically, so is NTT DATA. Horizontally, NTT DATA is investigating broadening its expertise around Marketing and Commerce Clouds along with MuleSoft. Application integration and MuleSoft are a priority; NTT DATA acknowledges that enterprises now often use Salesforce’s Cloud as a platform for building larger systems and integrating with other applications. NTT DATA has set up Integration CoEs in the U.S. and India that group integration software capabilities from MuleSoft, Boomi and Informatica. Japan and Europe are next: each will have their own Integration CoEs in 2020.

Verticalizing the Salesforce portfolio

NTT DATA continues verticalizing its Salesforce portfolio. It has developed several industry-specific accelerators such as Telecom Lab, Field Service Lightning and CPQ for Manufacturing, Manufacturing in a Box, and Logistics in a Box, and the automotive industry.

One verticalization example is NTT DATA’s Digital Insurance Platform (DIP), which it deployed for a U.S. insurance client that wanted to launch a new life and annuity insurance product in just 45 days. DIP combines a reference architecture that integrates the Service and Sales Cloud, along with Vlocity, and relies on MuleSoft for integration with the client’s claims management and policy administration systems. Along with its reference architecture, NTT DATA brought its repository of business processes, and its investments in RPA, chatbots and AI.

NTT DATA highlights that DIP has high potential, and the company is targeting its 60 insurance and healthcare clients in the U.S. As part of its expansion plans for DIP, NTT DATA has so far created DIP versions for the life insurance, annuity/retirement and healthcare payer/insurance and P&C segments. Looking ahead, the roadmap includes public unemployment insurance, and automotive insurance.

With its verticalized Salesforce services, NTT DATA is targeting multi-year contracts: the one noted above with the U.S. insurance client is a five-year BPS deal where NTT DATA also operates the contact center and back-office services. The company is also looking at potential SaaS deals.

Internal coordination is a priority

With NTT DATA having a federal structure with geographies as key business units, the company’s challenge is to coordinate further its different activities across geographies and across service lines. An example is the 2019 investment in Star Global Consulting, a U.S. firm with 750 personnel that has brought in onshore strategy consulting, design consulting, mobile development, and marketing skills. NTT DATA highlights that Star Global brings skills such as digital consulting and digital marketing that are adjacent to the capabilities of Salesforce services. The challenge will be to drive coordination between its Salesforce and digital units across geographies. This is a priority for NTT DATA.

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