In a surprise move DWG has formed an alliance with the much larger consulting group Avanade, which is owned 80/20 by Accenture and Microsoft.
The Digital Workplace Group has been helping organisations to deploy intranets and workplace applications for over 15 years. Led by Paul Miller it is a research and consultancy firm that focuses on the human side of implementing new comms technology.
“It’s an unusual deal,“ admits Miller. “Avanade have invested in us without taking any ownership. They wanted us to stay independent. So the deal means they bring us in to do benchmarking and specialist consultancy for their clients without Avanade taking an equity stake.”
For DWG the advantages are clear. Avanade has a wealth of clients going through digital transformations where they can involve the smaller consultancy. For Miller’s company this means the investment and the ability to access a wider pool of clients.
“The deal will extend our membership and benchmarking capabilities. Avanade has made a commitment to DWG’s growth that will enable us to resource and develop our market-leading reputation for digital workplace innovation and thought leadership – alongside our core business of membership, benchmarking and consulting. This is a powerful recognition of DWG’s reputation, research and thought leadership – and we look forward to embarking on this new chapter.”
Through the partnership, Avanade will provide resources and support to enable DWG, who will retain full ownership, control and independence, to expand its operations and access new opportunities across Avanade’s ecosystem.
In return, Avanade will benefit from access to DWG’s expertise around research and independent measurement, which it will use to evolve its workplace solutions and offerings. In addition, DWG and Avanade will also develop shared, go-to-market services, where Avanade will lead on the consulting and technical implementation and DWG will act as an independent advisor using global insight, measurement and research from a broad range of industries.
“The pace of competition continues to accelerate, and our clients are increasingly seeking to leverage workplace experience (WX) as a source of meaningful and durable competitive advantage,” says Florin Rotar, Avanade’s Modern Workplace Global Lead.
“With Avanade’s expertise in workplace technology and our ability to redesign end-to-end employee experience so that it has parity with client experience combined with DWG’s benchmarking and consulting expertise – we can better help our clients realize genuine, significant value from their modern workplace investments.”
It is certainly the case that the DWG imprimatur will help Avanade as it pitches for new business.
“I think the enterprise workplace market is expanding,” expounds Miller. “O365 et al is seen as a growing marketplace. But if you are deploying tech it is somewhat unreliable just to rely on the updates from Microsoft. We can help facilitate conversations of what kind of organisation the client wants to become.
“What is new is that the enterprise world used to ape the consumer world. The roll out of Teams and O365 is significant now that people in business have lost confidence in the consumer tech world. The social media brand has deteriorated; private, secure systems for a Coke or an IKEA are much more attractive.
“When you look at Workplace from Facebook the model falls short. If you really want to equip a work force your tools need to be fully mobile and search on different locations; you can’t rely on a template borrowed from consumer tech.”
Despite this boost to their client pool Miller will find time to record the Digital Workplace Impact podcasts that have become a popular part of the IC scene, as well as continuing to give talks around the world and finish his new book – the Nature of Work.
“I enjoy what I do a lot. And it is getting ever more interesting. Unlike when I started in this business a lot of large organisations are now open to new ideas. They are less sure about their future… I often wonder what for instance a sustainable Wells Fargo might look like?”
Post by Marc Wright