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Transforming Accenture's Core HR Systems: Setting the Stage for High Performance
The number of employees at Accenture has grown from 65,000 to more than one quarter million in the last 10 years. The rapid growth of this global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company precipitated the need for a dramatic change in how Accenture’s human resources (HR) functions are carried out. By tapping the industry-leading skills of our own professionals around the world and by collaborating with our strategic business partners, Accenture developed an integrated HR IT system that will not only support the company's future growth for years to come, but also serve as a strong foundation for high performance and competitive advantage.
Learn more about how Accenture does IT
Over the last 10 years, Accenture has grown from 65,000 to more than one quarter million employees in 54 countries. The company’s success is significantly based on the ability of our global workforce to deliver high performance. Robust and flexible human resources (HR) systems are critical to attract, develop, manage, deploy and compensate Accenture’s employees.
Accenture's legacy HR systems were built in the 1990s, when they were customized and localized to support new outsourcing and business process models. Accenture realized that we needed to develop an integrated HR solution that would not only support the company's growth, but serve as a strong foundation for high performance and provide a competitive advantage.
Accenture began developing integrated, global HR processes that would provide seamless integration across the company and superior HR reporting and analysis functions. This solution also needed to be flexible enough to support the company's evolving HR needs.
Accenture developed a solution based on SAP Human Capital Management technology, utilizing three SAP modules—Personnel Administration, Organizational Administration and the Qualifications Module.
In line with our own best practice principles, Accenture’s goal was to maximize the data resident in our single, global SAP instance (integrated with Finance and Sales) to drive high performance HR capabilities.
Rather than focusing on software solutions that would improve performance in discrete functional areas, Accenture defined requirements for establishing best-in-class, end-to-end HR processes that would drive improvements in key areas such as hiring, management, reporting and compensation.
To develop the HR solution, Accenture assembled a global team, comprised of people from the company's HR and Chief Information Officer organizations, the Consulting workforce and Accenture’s 31,000-strong SAP practice. The extended team included key HR personnel representing 48 countries. This group's involvement was critical, since most HR activities occur at the country level.
Following an intensive four-month global design phase involving a number of stakeholders and the creation of several prototypes, the team spent five months configuring the SAP IT solution. They then conducted three full mock data conversions and all appropriate system tests before migrating to the new SAP system.
Working closely with 10 geographic training teams, Accenture's Talent and Organization Performance professionals conducted face-to-face training sessions with key users.
The new HR system has enabled greater HR efficiencies across the organization by having one source, while one database and one application significantly reduced IT costs.
Since the initial implementation, the solution has already demonstrated its flexibility through a seamless upgrade implementation and integration across a changing spectrum of applications, including Web services, to continuously improve data integrity.
This is enabling Accenture to achieve, on average, a 24% year-on-year reduction in HR cost. Even more impressive, IT costs have been reduced even though Accenture has added more capability and usage to the system.
The solution integrates HR and Finance data in a single instance of SAP, providing access to consistent, highly accurate, global information and facilitates the creation of a standard set of processes and more rigorous internal control procedures.
The success of this major HR transformation was evident in how quietly and uneventfully it took place. Several factors contributed to the success of this implementation, especially Accenture's deep expertise in SAP solutions and proven systems integration practices, as well as rigorous solution delivery methodologies and tools. Accenture was also able to tap resources from our long-standing alliance partners, SAP and Microsoft, to help ensure quick problem resolution and accelerate solution development and delivery.
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