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Appirio CEO: Becoming Part of Wipro Has Aided Push To Take Cloud Business From Accenture, Deloitte

Appirio CEO Chris Barbin said his company's broad capabilities around leading cloud platforms put it on a collision course with the industry's two cloud services leaders: Accenture and Deloitte.

Appirio CEO Chris Barbin said his company is gunning for Accenture and Deloitte and has successfully displaced the consulting giants on some cloud projects and programs.

The Indianapolis-based cloud services powerhouse said it no longer considers Indian service providers (which includes companies like HCL Technologies, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and Tech Mahindra) to be its core competition, even though it was acquired by Bangalore, India-based Wirpo in October 2016.

Appirio's broad capabilities around leading cloud platforms set it apart from the rest of the Indian IT service provider pack, Barbin said, putting it on a collision course with the industry's two cloud services leaders: Accenture and Deloitte.

[Related: Wipro To Buy Salesforce Superstar Appirio for $500 Million]

"We don't necessarily see the other Indian providers as the thought leaders driving transformation with deep relationships with the likes of Salesforce, Workday, Amazon and Google," Barbin told CRN. "We want to chase, be part of, cluster ourselves with, and compete with those thought leaders, not people that are lagging."

Accenture, Deloitte, HCL Technology, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and Tech Mahindra did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Barbin said Appirio's Agile strategy, quick iterative prototyping and messaging around customer experience have been the keys to winning business from Accenture and Deloitte.

The company brings a very structured, Agile-based model into every customer environment that takes advantage of Appirio's cloud-related intellectual property, Barbin said. Appirio has over the past decade built out multi-tenancy application platform around Amazon and Salesforce, which Barbin said has provided a level of consistency when onboarding new consultants.

Appirio's crowdsourcing platform has also been embraced in a big way by Wirpo, which paid $500 million to purchase the 1,250-employee company. The platform allows for fast iterations on design and development, which Barbin said has unlocked Salesforce-related engagements as well as platform development work for a big pharmaceutical company.

"We win a lot of times on speed to value," Barbin said. "Our platform allows us to iterate and drive our deployments much, much faster than our competition."

Appirio has messaging focused around the intersection of worker and customer experience. Barbin said the company typically starts with a lightweight, actionable strategy engagement, and is focused on iterative prototyping and delivering value quickly.

Barbin said Appirio works to ensure customers understand its capabilities go far beyond Salesforce and Workday implementations and encompass an end-to-end solution that addresses the customer experience.

"We pride ourselves on thinking differently than some of the other players," Barbin said. "Our methodology, our IP, and the level of consistency we provide does drives the speed, the agility and the time to value."

Appirio is proud and excited about a handful of wins its had over Accenture and Deloitte thus far, Barbin said, but acknowledged the company hasn't necessarily taken any mega transactions or mega deals from the consulting giants.

"We're chipping away and we're doing some displacement on some projects and programs, but not large-scale transformations yet," Barbin said. "It takes time."

Customers cite industry expertise and global scale as the most common reasons they want to stay with Accenture and Deloitte for cloud engagement, Barbin said.

Accenture and Deloitte both have a greater scale of cloud expertise in more countries than Appirio does, Barbin said. As part of Wipro, Barbin said a big part of Appirio's expansion plans are to get more cloud expertise in more and more countries.

Appirio additionally still has work to do around fully integrating industry-specific solutions, capabilities and talent onto its existing cloud teams, Barbin said.

"For the ones we do lose, those are still the stumbling blocks for us," Barbin said. "We're making progress there, but that doesn't happen overnight."

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