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A personal window on Accenture’s world.
Accenture employees used to begin their workdays with inboxes filled to overflowing with reminders, announcements and newsletters arriving from corporate “mailer”. Many different business units within Accenture need to communicate with employees, and the standard approach was to bombard recipients with multiple “Action Required” e-mails. But drowning users in a deluge of requests and news from disparate sources is certainly not the best way to help them find the information they need, check work streams and project teams or organize individual to-dos.
When the time came to upgrade its legacy portal, Accenture set out to devise a better way to help its 246,000 professionals stay up to date and on track. Recognizing that one-size-fits-all corporate portals cannot keep pace with today’s continuously changing work environment, Accenture did what few organizations had ever done on such a scale: give each Accenture professional a personal portal equipped to change as the user’s needs evolve. Today, most Accenture people start their workdays in a totally different way - by checking their own personalized window on Accenture’s world.
Accenture’s legacy portal, built on 2003 technology, was highly successful, outperforming its corporate peers. But the continuing ‘consumerization of IT’ creates ever higher expectations for what a portal should do, especially among younger employees using Google and other versatile portal interfaces in their personal lives. Business needs are also driving innovation, particularly in Accenture’s Human Resources (HR) function, which saw the portal upgrade as an opportunity to equip employees to their HR needs via a self-service model. The vision for the next-generation portal was to create a customizable daily performance workspace integrating information and knowledge, content, learning, workforce management and performance management in a single virtual desktop.
The wish list for the new portal’s design specifications was daunting:
A team of more than 30 technologists split between Chicago and Buenos Aires began work in April 2010 by modifying proven technologies to allow unprecedented degrees of customization. A central strategy was the construction of modular web parts capable of integrating internal and external data into a planned layout that can be modified by the user. Accenture’s internal specialists on portals, Accenture Information Management Solutions, provided vital early design guidance. Internal stakeholders such as HR and Internal Communications participated in focus groups and end user surveys on usability.
On May 23, 2011, the new portal was unveiled, featuring several basic enterprise-wide key functions that everyone can benefit from. The Accenture Portal’s own ‘app store’ was created with an inventory that now numbers over 70 webparts and is growing steadily. These webparts give users the power to configure their portal pages with the modules they want, arranged the way they want to see them. Given the rate at which Accenture’s global workforce is growing, the modularity of the new portal platform is crucial for long-term high performance.
Global deployment of the portal continued through the end of 2011, eliciting enthusiastic responses from users. The statistics from the users surveyed to date supports the view that Accenture is now the leader in this space:
96 percent of Accenture people surveyed report they are using the portal to become more knowledgeable about the company.
91 percent report that the portal has the applications and the tools they need to do their jobs, and 89 percent say they use the portal to find information they need to do their jobs.
89 percent report that the portal has the support and resources needed to help them manage their careers, and 80 percent say they use the portal to connect with other Accenture people.
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