We recently caught up with the leadership team in the Salesforce practice at Wipro, which set out its plans to reach revenue of $1bn within the next few years.
As we explored recently, Salesforce is on a roll in 2020, expecting growth of more than 20% in the current fiscal year. The company’s move to an industry go-to-market, coupled with extension of its portfolio through recent M&A activity have put it in a good place to support the increased appetite for as-a-service propositions.
Wipro started building its Salesforce practice a decade ago, but its business today is built around the landmark acquisition of US-based Appirio, for which it paid $500m in 2016. The price tag seemed high at the time, but in hindsight it has provided Wipro with a platform of more than 1,000 Salesforce specialists, which has accelerated its journey into the ranks of the ten largest Salesforce consulting and systems integrators providers, both at a worldwide and EMEA level.
Today, Wipro has more than 2,500 Salesforce consultants in its ranks, supporting over 2,100 customers. The Appirio core has more recently been bolstered by the addition of Belgium-based 4C, which it acquired for €68m in July. 4C is one of the leading Salesforce specialists operating in Europe, with 365 employees based across 14 offices in countries including Denmark, France, Norway and the UK. The company had more than 1,500 projects under its belt, with a focus on the quote-to-cash element of the customer value chain.
From an industry perspective, Appirio brought core strengths in sectors including health and life sciences, consumer product goods, energy and utilities, higher education and non-for-profit. 4C has a similarly broad industry focus, from telco through to financial services, that adds depth to Wipro’s presence in most sectors in Europe. Salesforce’s flexibility has proved a valuable asset in tackling some of the challenges that many have faced during this year’s disruption, and Wipro highlights one example of how it used the platform to enable a North American university to switch new students over to a digital onboarding process.
Demand for Salesforce expertise is strong, but so too is the competition between the leading suppliers. Wipro has maintained Appirio’s advisory-led approach, which sits as the spearhead for an end-to-end proposition that covers design and app development, change enablement and managed services including administration and enhancements. Wipro talks about “closing the experience gap” as a key part of its offering, helping to drive adoption and effective usage of the platform. The vendor claims that it has a Salesforce NPS rating of 9.4 (out of 10).
Another differentiator in Wipro’s armoury is the PURVUE tool, which is designed to help enterprises plan investments, predict the impact, and measure the value of those investments. PURVUE features a capability scorecard which enables businesses to assess their competencies and deficiencies relating to their capabilities and defined benchmarks. Wipro also cites its topcoder crowd-sourcing platform, which has more than 200,000 of its 1.4 million members with Salesforce skills, in helping it increase the flexibility with which it can support customer projects.
Wipro won’t be able to rely on M&A activity alone if it is to close in on the $1bn target, as the number of available targets of scale is small. Acumen Solutions is the only specialist player to fea-ture in our more recent top ten rankings of the world’s largest Salesforce C&SI partners. And the field of vendors looking to acquire Salesforce expertise is highly competitive: Accenture, Cognizant, Infosys and EPAM, have all bought SF specialists during 2020, while Atos is currently in the process of pursuing French specialist Edifixio.
The progress that Appirio has made within Wipro has been encouraging. While many smaller IT services acquisitions often struggle to flourish as part of a large, international owner, Appirio has seen its international revenue increase as a proportion of its business from 8% to 50% in the last four years. This has been driven by gaining access to Wipro’s global sales and delivery resources, and its progress bodes well for the development of 4C.
There’s some obvious areas for Wipro to step up its own industry-specific Salesforce activity, as the latter increases its vertical focus. Technology, health and life sciences and – in particular – energy and utilities are areas where both have a strong base of business – with Salesforce enhancing its story in this market through the purchase of vlocity – and there is plenty of potential to help the sector’s businesses modernize their customer-facing systems.