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Joining Capgemini senior executives at its new, rather impressive Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) in San Francisco, my thoughts were focused on two key topics: North American expansion and the conversion of "digital" into something of practical value that can be understood and delivered as commercial professional services.

Capgemini is expanding in North America and internationally through acquisition and new services

Capgemini is often thought of as a largely European system integrator (SI), with a significant presence in India that helps to deliver its Rightshore capability. It may be time to update that perception to reflect Capgemini's position as a more global challenger. Capgemini CEO Paul Hermelin's opening presentation spanned a range of topics, but what stood out were the acquisition of iGate (a North American IT provider) and its ongoing integration and the discussion of the cloud and digital. The acquisition of iGate has helped deliver a larger North American presence for Capgemini, as well as what we believe is greater customer engagement. One of iGate's senior executives has taken on the role of head of sales for Capgemini, highlighting further a shift toward greater intimacy with its clients and integration of iGate's methodology.

Hermelin talked of cloud in terms of it being the "new normal," a view I've held for some time. (Ovum's research agenda for Information Management highlights cloud as being the "natural home of data.") In terms of delivering services, Capgemini's approach of "advise," "align," and "animate" is representative of the transitional steps that most enterprises are taking and the phase they find themselves in now and likely for the near future. While the majority of applications, and a significant portion (perhaps the majority looking further out) of platforms and infrastructure, are going to end up being cloud delivered, it is very much a blend of cloud and on-premise. The orchestration of multiple elements across disparate locations is a challenge, and opportunity, the SIs are well positioned for.

A final word must go to digital – a favorite topic at the moment for many, the SIs being no exception. Like so many trendy topics that attract a great deal of hyperbolic marketing, a slight cynicism starts to set in as catchy terms fall into overuse (who isn't going digital today?) and the talk turns to overarching change and the impending redefinition of our entire economic system. The flipside is that this topic can and does have practical value in terms of the way that businesses, well, do business. Capgemini has highlighted three topics in digital services, each with eminently practical services that can be delivered against them – digital customer experience, digital organization and people, and digital operations. In truth, the digital label is one of convenience here, marking long-overdue updates by enterprises in these areas based on technologies and approaches that have been around a while. Capgemini also shared interesting innovation methodology from its Fahrenheit 212 acquisition. This acquisition adds to its digital services arsenal, which is aligned with its AIE labs and program. Perhaps the one difference is having specific use cases with the availability of data and analytics to optimize each of these areas. Watch this space: This is the beginning of a story about how professional services providers change how they deliver their capabilities to the market.



Tom M. Pringle, Head of Applications Research

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