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Unisys Puts Security at the Heart of its Corporate Transformation

 

Unisys recently held an analyst and advisor day in New York, entitled UnisysNOW. However, with a relatively new leadership team in place and a broad corporate transformation underway, the focus of the event was not so much on the current shape of Unisys’ business but on the company’s aspirations and plans for achieving them, encapsulated in a new tagline: Securing Your Tomorrow. Here I take a look at the key components of Unisys’ transformation strategy, covering clients, services, and the central role of security in the firm’s transformation.

Reinvigorating client relationships

CEO Peter Altabef joined the firm in January 2015 and has built a leadership team around him that is new to the firm and brings in outside experience. This team is intent on not just evolving Unisys’ services and offerings but also its culture. In the last year, the firm has seen ~26% turnover of its client executives as part of its drive to re-boot its client relationships, with an increasing focus on proactive proposals. Unisys is looking to this proactive approach to demonstrate initiative and innovation that can reinvigorate long-term relationships that may be growing stale. In the year that these programs have been in place, Unisys has delivered 1,242 proactive proposals and claims a 98% client retention rate.

Increased consulting focus

A key part of the firm’s evolution is an increasing focus on consultative capabilities and positioning more as a business advisor. Unisys has set a target of deriving 25% of its revenues from project-based work (from 12% last year) and has also seeded its leadership ranks with 54 domain experts. Additionally, as part of being a business advisor, it is also putting significant focus on change management capabilities to assist clients to adapt as new technologies and workforces disrupt their business, a departure from many vendors who maintain a focus on delivering technology-centric solutions.

Leading with security

As a company that declares itself a ‘software-led services company’, Unisys is also expanding its targeted technology solutions in addition to evolving its people. Unisys has launched four industry offerings supported by 36 vertically tailored solutions and services such as Digital Investigator in the public sector, AirCore for commercial (travel), and Elevate by Unisys for financial services.

While vertical offerings are planned for investment and growth, it is the core horizontal offerings (in particular the Stealth micro-segmentation security platform and ClearPath Forward operating system) that Unisys sees as its foundation going forward.

Unisys has placed heavy emphasis on Stealth and security as a differentiator (and hence is the first word of the new tagline). It is natural positioning given a client base heavily weighted toward U.S. federal, public sector, and financial services (accounting for a combined ~68% of Q3 FY16 revenues).

Since its initial debut in 2013, Unisys has invested to evolve Stealth from initially requiring dedicated on-premise hardware to being available virtually, and now to being available within both AWS and Azure marketplaces as a standalone security solution.

Unisys has also expanded the suite of functionality delivered by Stealth, including Stealth(cloud), Stealth(identity), Stealth(analytics), Stealth(mobile). In Q4 2016, Unisys is launching Stealth(aware), focused on simplifying the implementation of Stealth. Stealth(aware) includes a new GUI as well as capabilities to discover the existing application environment, configure Stealth to the applications, and then deploy.

It is also investing to evolve its ClearPath Forward secure operating environment. Unisys has developed a roadmap to be able to fully deploy ClearPath Forward in hybrid cloud environments by 2020.

While it is investing to mature its technology solutions, services are still the key driver for Unisys, accounting for ~88% revenues in the most recent quarter (Q3 FY16). Beyond the deployment of Stealth and ClearPath Forward, Unisys is focusing on the use of automation and analytics in delivering services.

Cloud and infrastructure services

Cloud and infrastructure services (~50% of Q3 FY16 services revenues) are focused on hybrid cloud management, leveraging the automated Cloud Management Platform to play a role across public, private and legacy environments. Unisys cites a study that, on average, a company leveraging the cloud has four cloud providers, and 27% of these have more than ten. Hybrid cloud management, and by extension, a broader service integration and management (SIAM) role will be key to managing this growing complexity, and Unisys is looking to position itself in that role, with Stealth providing the security across these disparate environments.

Application services

For its application services (31% of Q3 FY16 services revenues), Unisys is focused on the growth of transformational consulting skills, seeing this as an avenue to facilitate downstream development and maintenance activities. For application services delivery it is looking to grow the use of automation (in particular, around application lifecycle management and test automation), as well as build application platform as a service (APaaS) offerings. Within application maintenance activities Unisys is focused on using analytics to impact delivery, including visualizing ticket populations to identify key repetitive problems that drive the highest volumes of incidents.

Summary

Unisys is in the midst of an internal transformation, both for its people as well as for its services and client engagement. It has laid security as the foundation for this transformation, which positions it well with its current target client base. How it leverages its security and infrastructure services foundation to grow into its desired role as business advisor and SIAM provider will be the real indicator of the transformation’s success. 

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