Accenture: Boosting the impact of AI in North America
Accenture has set new goals to expand its technical capabilities to help its clients scale Artificial Intelligence (AI) to meet cross-industry demands.
Why is Accenture acquiring Clarity Insights?
To help organisations realise the value in their data and providing the capabilities to meet the growing demand for enterprise-scale AI, analytics and automation solutions, Accenture has entered into an agreement to acquire Clarity Insights.
The acquisition will add almost 350 employees to the company, alongside a strong portfolio of accelerators and deep data science, AI and machine learning expertise.
Alongside organically growing talent, Accenture’s strategic approach is designed to ensure the right capabilities are available to meet existing and emerging client needs with speed and scale.
“Clarity Insights’s combination of strong technical talent, combined with deep industry expertise, will fortify and broaden our ability to help our clients scale AI across their businesses,” said Athina Kanioura, chief analytics officer and global lead for Applied Intelligence at Accenture. “Their focus on insight-driven transformation for healthcare bolsters Accenture’s capabilities and is particularly critical now, when our research shows that 87% of healthcare executives surveyed report that they know how to pilot, but struggle to scale AI across their business.”
The addition of Clarity Insights will also build upon previous acquisitions made by Accenture including, Knowledgent and Kogentix to strengthen this side of the business in North America, as well as the acquisition of Pragsis Bidoop in Spain and Analytics8 in Australia for global growth.
Did you know? In its 2019 fiscal year Accenture invested nearly US$1.2bn global to acquire critical skills and capabilities in strategic and high-growth areas.
Who is Clarity Insights?
Headquartered in Chicago and founded in 2008, Clarity Insights is a leading provider of data science and AI and machine learning engineering capabilities for large enterprises. In addition, the company provides strategic partnerships to clients in the healthcare, financial services and insurance industries. They strive to focus on serving its client’s needs from end-to-end, creating a strong foundation to transform business processes.
“We were drawn to Accenture, in large part, because of the synergies in how we approach clients,” said Neil Huse, president and CEO, Clarity Insights. “Fully understanding clients’ business goals and objectives is the first step to a successful AI deployment. From there our team can pull together the right data foundation, tools and accelerators that will smooth their path to adoption. With Accenture, we’ll be able to accelerate this shared vision for success and help more clients get there, more quickly.”
Completion of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.