We have just returned from an exhilarating week in San Francisco for Dreamforce 18, the largest technology event in the world and this year attracting over 170,000 people from Salesforce’s client, investor, research and partner network. The most pertinent discussions revolved around the latest artificial intelligence solutions and how they are further disrupting customer experience. The conference also provided the opportunity for major deals and investments to be announced, including the sale of Equiteq’s M&A advisory client and Salesforce Platinum partner, System Partners, to DXC Technology.
At this year’s conference, Equiteq and Quote-to-Cash experts, Simplus, announced the release of The Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) Industry Guide 2018, the most comprehensive publicly available study of the CPQ industry and investment within the space. The guide provides exclusive industry perspectives on the CPQ trends currently transforming customer experience for businesses and driving investment in solutions providers.
We were pleased to recently attend the Salesforce World Tour in London and Boston, where we listened to speeches from Salesforce President, Keith Block, along with senior members of IBM Watson and Amazon Web Services. These talks focused on the transformation of customer experience as part of the so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’. This revolution is being characterized by the convergence of cloud, social, mobile and technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
This trend is notably being observed through the development of eCommerce and smart devices, which now utilize predictive marketing and advanced data analytics. This technology is expected to become increasingly sophisticated with the rapid advances in AI.
Percentage of surveyed companies using or planning to use AI in the following ways
The Equiteq Consulting M&A Index remains significantly above long-term averages and the Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index achieves a ten-year high.
Global consulting M&A activity, as tracked by the Equiteq Consulting M&A Index, was robust in the third quarter. Deal volumes rose in comparison to both the prior quarter and the third quarter of 2015 with serial acquirers like Dentsu, Accenture and Deloitte continuing to be highly active. Third quarter M&A activity was highlighted by landmark transactions within media and management consulting, as well as the broader IT sector.
The Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index also performed very strongly this quarter, outperforming both the S&P 500 and FTSE 100. The index is now at a ten-year high with particularly strong increases in the management consulting and engineering consulting indices.
The pervasive adoption of cloud solutions is continuing to transform businesses across industries. The most commonly cited drivers for the transition from on-premise to cloud-based technologies are users’ ability to reduce costs, improve risk management and enhance scalability. This evolution in demand is causing widespread disruption to the technology industry, as evidenced by the wave of high-profile restructuring and deal activity amongst the legacy technology players.
Cloud-based applications are complex to implement and manage, which drives demand for cloud services. Salesforce and Workday are considered to be some of the leading vendors of cloud-based applications, with strong networks of specialist consulting partners. We heard at Salesforce’s recent annual Dreamforce conference that they expect a massive increase in the population of Salesforce consultants required globally by 2020. We also regularly receive feedback that there is rising demand and a limited supply of consulting expertise related to Workday. The rising need for capabilities related to both of these technologies is driving organic growth and consolidation in the cloud services space.