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Could Deloitte Converge on your client? 

Deloitte recently announced significant investment in Converge by Deloitte, offerings that will, in Deloitte’s words, “drive ethical and responsible transformation of industry” through “new software platforms, ecosystem and alliance relationships and hiring additional diverse software engineering, data scientist and industry professionals to dramatically accelerate the future transformation of industry.” Since then, we’ve had several queries from competitors asking us what we think about it. Of course, we can give our opinion, but what really matters is whether it makes an impact with clients.

To think about this, I’m returning to a framework I outlined previously around what makes a good proposition in the eyes of clients. Too often, firms say they have a proposition, but what they are really describing are their service lines, rather than a plan of action for clients. Or, firms recognise there’s an unmet client need out there, point it out, but don’t get quite as far as saying what a client should do about it.

To recap, a good proposition answers the following questions for clients:

– What should the client do? (The suggested scheme or plan of action, that is the very definition of a proposition.)

– What does the firm offer to help them do it?

– Why should the client do it?

– What’s different about this solution or firm?

So, how does Converge by Deloitte stand up against these criteria?

What should the client do? Deloitte answers this clearly. Companies need to put technology at the centre of their organisations, “effectively becoming technology companies themselves”.

What does the firm offer to help them do it? Although expressed through a fog of jargon, Deloitte is saying it brings together its breadth of consulting services, proprietary software, and an ecosystem of partners to create a step-change for its clients. It also positions itself simultaneously as partner and orchestrator, in it for the long run with the client.

Why should the client do it? Again, quite a lot of jargon is clouding the message (“Purpose is defined where we focus our investments and energy”—eh? I’m not really sure what the entire page dedicated to “purpose-driven innovation” adds). But, further down, Deloitte attempts to address this head-on (“So, what does this all mean for you?”), which is a good start. Most of the benefits listed, however, are promises about Deloitte’s behaviour, rather than tangible benefits to the client. “Reduced complexity and increased accountability” is the clearest statement, and its promise of “continuous innovation” through access to its ecosystems and solutions isn’t bad. But saying “a multi-year commitment” doesn’t really mean anything—presumably if the client stops paying, the commitment stops immediately. Nor does being “client-centric and outcomes-focused”—surely this is what the client expects.

What’s different about this solution or firm? A fair few firms would probably argue that they also have capabilities like this, but what’s different here is that Deloitte is the first to articulate it in such a way, and to move away from the term “managed services”. If Deloitte truly does bring together all the elements it talks about, then that will capture clients’ imaginations—clients often complain that it can be hard to get different teams from the same firm to work together, let alone orchestrating multiple providers. At the moment, however, this is more of a promise than a concrete differentiator.

Although there are parts of how it is expressed that could definitely be made clearer to clients, what’s perhaps ruffled competitors’ feathers is the branding and terminology. The whole industry has been trying to come up with a better term than “managed services” for years, seeking to lose the association with lengthy, lumbering, and expensive outsourcing programmes that comes with it. Converge by Deloitte does that nicely. Given what we know about first mover advantage, I can see why other firms are worried. If Converge by Deloitte has the same success as Deloitte Digital did over a decade ago, it’ll start hoovering up market share before other firms have even got their names sorted.