Accenture has retained the title of the world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand for the third consecutive year, following a 3% uplift in brand value to a record US$26.0 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy.
In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value. According to these criteria, Accenture is also once again the strongest IT services brand in the world, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 85.6 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.
Accenture has evolved its strategy to position itself as a client transformation partner, shifting focus from pure digital and cloud services under its previous strategy. Accenture has recently launched its campaign ‘Let there be change’ – that it describes as the biggest brand change in a decade, aided by a US$90 million annual media budget, triple what it has been in previous years. The campaign positions Accenture as helping clients harness the rapid pace of change enabled by new technologies impacting companies across different sectors. Its competitors are also trying to occupy a similar positioning in the market, brands that are not just the traditional IT services companies but also the Big 4, management consultancies, and creative agencies.
Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance commented:
“The global pandemic has transformed the IT services landscape, accelerating change across the sector by 3-5 years. Those brands that were able and ready to shift quickly from purely operating as service providers to consulting and transformation partners have been reaping the benefits in the face of adversity. The large contract wins for IT services brands in Europe in the last year are the start of a trend we expect to continue; our analysis suggests that the strongest brands will capture the lion’s share of this expected growth.”
TCS closes gap behind IBM
Third-ranked TCS is rapidly closing the gap with IBM following a healthy 11% brand value increase to US$15.0 billion. TCS has celebrated strong revenue growth as demand grows for its core transformation services and through winning deals - worth over US$6.8 billion in Q4 of 2020 alone. With the brand benefitting from the long cycle of technology spending in its overseas markets, and the increase in spending from the financial sector in the US and European markets as the road to recovery begins, TCS will be hoping the coming year will prove even more fruitful.
IBM retains second place, despite recording a 24% brand value loss to US$16.1 billion – the gap closing with TCS from US$7.7 billion in 2020 to a mere US$1.1 billion this year. While it is a very strong brand, it has struggled in recent years for growth. The announced spinoff is a tangible step in addressing this decline of the overall business; competitors will be eager to capture market share as IBM is likely to be distracted by its transformation program.
Infosys overtakes Cognizant
Also climbing the ranking is Infosys, following a 19% brand value increase to US$8.4 billion and thus entering the Big 4 of IT services brands globally and making it the fastest growing brand in the top 10. This growth has seen the brand overtake Cognizant, which has suffered a 6% brand value loss to US$8.0 billion.
Even before the pandemic, Infosys’s leadership recognised the importance of focusing on its service offering, including data security and cloud services. This focus, paired with key acquisitions to bolster the brand’s end-to-end customer experience offerings, has propelled Infosys to a position where it consistently wins larger consulting, data management and cloud service projects.
LTI is sector’s fastest growing
Recording an impressive 37% brand value growth to US$982 million, and claiming the position as the fastest growing brand in the Brand Finance IT Services 25 2021 ranking, is LTI. For the last five years, LTI has consistently delivered double digit growth year-on-year and shows no signs of slowing down. As a young brand, it is rising quickly within a highly competitive space, and is fast becoming one of the most exciting challenger brands within the sector.
Tech Mahindra’s 11% brand value growth to US$2.3 billion has enabled the brand to jump from 17th to 15th spot in this year’s ranking as it continues to work towards accelerated growth through building on its healthy pipeline deals and embracing new 5G opportunities.
Atos’s proposed merger with struggling DXC unlikely to revive fortunes for either player
DXC Technology is the fastest falling brand in the ranking, suffering a 39% brand value loss to US$3.6 billion, following declining revenues. Atos (brand value down 7% to US$3.3 billion) has recently bid to acquire DXC in a reported US$10 billion deal.
Atos has slipped one place in the ranking from 12th to 13th as its fails to keep pace with the market leaders for growth. Atos has M&A in its DNA, it has integrated Bull and Syntel as well as completing the bolt on acquisitions of Dutch cybersecurity firm Motiv ICT Security and US software firm Eagle Creek in recent years, with varying levels of success. The merger could propel the French giant to become one of the biggest IT companies globally by revenue with the bulk of it coming from legacy businesses, while growth is being powered by transformation projects driven by digital and cloud services. While the merger provides a path to the US market for Atos, questions remain about the logic for such a merger of two brands struggling for growth, large legacy businesses, and the ability to successfully pull off such a large merger.
One of the key trends in the IT services sector over the past decade is for brands to move up the value chain by becoming a consulting partner with a focus on innovation; this merger goes against this trend. Take IBM as an example, which is planning to transform itself by spinning off its legacy businesses.
Note to Editors
Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.
Additional insights, charts, and more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance IT Services 25 2021 report.
Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.