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Wipro’s Appirio One Year On: Investing in Digital Consulting, IP & Verticalized Offerings

 

We recently met with the senior management of Appirio, acquired by Wipro in November 2016, for an update on developments in 2017 and priorities for 2018. As part of Wipro, Appirio has been able to accelerate the development of its digital consulting units and its investment in IP and accelerators, working alongside Wipro’s industry units, and also to expand into other geographies.

Buying Appirio was an important move for Wipro, and at $500m, was its second largest acquisition ever. As well as Salesforce and Workday capabilities, Appirio brought in a crowdsourcing business, Topcoder, which Wipro has now amalgamated with its own internal crowdsourcing initiative, TopGear.

Appirio had ~1,250 employees, with headquarters in Indianapolis, offices in San Francisco, London, Dublin, and Tokyo, and an offshore delivery center in Jaipur. Wipro’s Salesforce practice (an estimated 600 FTEs) transferred to become part of the ‘Appirio, a Wipro company’ family, increasing its headcount by ~50%, and more than doubling its headcount in India.

Investing in digital consulting

Appirio highlights that most of its client relationships are with lines of business rather than IT departments, and that they are more interested in relationships with customers rather than whether an application is hosted on the cloud or has a subscription pricing model. Accordingly, Appirio is building a digital consulting unit which offers workshops to guide clients through UX.

Appirio has combined its CRM and HCM with its Virtuous Cycle methodology, which focuses on both employees and customers, and UX and CX. This has led to several initiatives; for example, Appirio is working with the HR departments of some clients to help define best incentive schemes and UX.

We estimate that Appirio has ~50 digital consultants and is looking to expand the team.

Helping clients adopt new features of SaaS applications

With its application maintenance and support services, Appirio helps clients free up time to adopt new functionality and features provided by Salesforce and Workday in their new releases (two to three per year). Appirio has developed health checks to help clients identify which part of their custom code is impacted by a new release, and which part can be replaced by standard functionality, and how integration/interfaces are affected. Another health check offering is a client maturity assessment for adopting Salesforce Lightning from Classic.

Increasing investment in IP development

Appirio has been able to accelerate its investment in its core businesses of Salesforce and Workday services, focusing on automation, and working with Salesforce and with Wipro to identify white spaces for IP and accelerator development. 

A key asset is its Cloud Management Center (CMC), a project management tool it developed using force.com. CMC tracks development efforts in agile sprints, and helps in release management (identifying artefacts relevant to projects from a repository of assets), and also functional testing, UAT automation, and reporting. Appirio sells CMC, which most of its clients have adopted, under a subscription model.

Appirio is also investing in accelerators such as a data migration tool box.

2018: working more closely with Wipro units; geographical expansion

Areas of focus in 2018 include working with Wipro on more verticalized offerings. Use cases developed to date, available on AppExchange, include warranty management for the manufacturing industry and the medical device industry. A priority is U.S. healthcare, working in cooperation with another Wipro 2016 acquisition, HealthPlan Services (more information here).  

Appirio is also involved in Salesforce’s Lightning Bolt initiative (verticalized UI templates), and has set up a bolt factory, with the intention of creating one to two new bolts a month.

In addition to the verticalization effort, Appirio is also increasingly working with Wipro’s horizontal lines, e.g. Wipro’s testing unit.

Another priority is geographic expansion, and Appirio is accelerating its internationalization from its base in the U.S., and the U.K. Priorities over the next twelve months include Sweden, Australia and France. Appirio is hiring local digital consultants and expanding its local Salesforce implementation capability.

Appirio is finding growth potential in many areas, whether in new geographies or in verticalized offerings and use cases, reflecting ongoing momentum in the Salesforce ecosystem. The downside of this momentum is that Salesforce adoption is only creating another layer of complexity in enterprise architectures, adding new sources of run costs for IT budgets. We welcome offerings such as health checks, to replace custom code by standard functionality, and the effort that Appirio is putting in managing and monitoring sprints, or in bringing test cases to testing.

 

NelsonHall will publish a major report on Salesforce services in Q2 2018. 

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