This week at Microsoft’s Business Intelligence (BI) conference, I had the chance to sit down with Eric Blankenberg, VP of Application & Integration Solutions for Avanade. Seven years ago Microsoft and Accenture formally joined forces to deliver cross-industry business solutions on the Microsoft platform. They formed a new consulting company, Avanade, to provide custom application development, application outsourcing and infrastructure integration to large and upper mid-size businesses. Avanade focuses their efforts on helping organizations develop business applications and apply technology to business problems. This broad experience is now being leveraged to help companies do the same thing with BI efforts on the Microsoft integrated technology platform. For the last three and half years, Avanade has taken the lessons learned, knowledge gained and best practices to create a set of re-usable assets for accelerating the implementation of BI solutions in an organization. Avanade, with 6,000 employees worldwide and 30% annual growth is certainly playing in the big leagues. They feel they are well positioned to facilitate BI implementation in large and upper mid-market companies around the globe.
As part of this set of BI services, Avanade is investing in new personnel and training for delivering Performance Point Server. Half of their business is currently in the financial products areas, so Performance Point is a natural fit for expanding their services with this base of customers.
One of the biggest challenges Avanade finds, when starting an engagement, is helping their customers define or understand the value they want to get out of their BI system. With Microsoft’s integrated technology platform of tools for analysis and reporting, companies can deploy BI on the same suite of desktop tools people use every day. Deploying that technology for strategic advantage is where Avanade comes in. They bridge the gap between just deploying technology and deploying a business solution.
Aligning the business needs with the tools and technology to create value for the organization and produce meaningful information for all levels of the organization has been a recurring theme at this weeks BI conference. In fact some of the best content this week were two keynote speakers whose research confirms that successful companies are the ones that align their corporate strategies with the technology and manage to the systems they’ve put in place. Microsoft knows it isn’t enough to just implement a tool set and they’re banking on folks like Avanade and other integrators to really help bring the market to maturity.
By leveraging its proprietary methodology, development accelerators, assessment tools, industry-specific knowledge, and technology expertise, Avanade strives to accelerate the ROI and value organizations will get from their BI investments. With this combination, they’ve seen customer engagements go from years or months to weeks, in some cases. When I asked if Avanade is considering taking their industry expertise, re-usable processes and assets to market in the form of software, Eric was adamant that they are staying focused on helping customers use the inherent tools they already have for growing their businesses.