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Achieving high performance through collaboration
Accenture implemented Telepresence, a high-definition videoconferencing tool, to reduce travel costs and associated environmental impacts while, most importantly, enhancing collaboration across its extensive global organization.
Accenture had built an enviable reputation owing to the willingness of its leadership and client teams to travel to clients when needed. But the company had begun to wonder about the inherent inefficiencies of long-distance travel, not to mention the financial and physical toll.
As a global consulting, technology and outsourcing provider serving 99 of the Fortune Global 100 and more than three-quarters of the Fortune 500, Accenture has built a record of high performance on its ability to put talented professionals on the ground, wherever clients require their skills and expertise.
But a globally distributed workforce and ever-tighter integration with client operations now demand levels of collaboration that exceed the limitations of physical travel. Accenture’s internal teams and our client colleagues expect the benefits of face-to-face interaction without always having the advantage of in-person meetings.
A readiness to do what is necessary to get the job done hasn’t changed inside Accenture—what is new is the technology enabling Accenture people to participate in face-to-face meetings without place-to-place travel: Telepresence. Telepresence delivers a “like being there” virtual meeting experience with high-definition video and rich, pitch-perfect audio that is meeting with near-universal approval.
Accenture began installing Telepresence screens in its offices in July 2007 as the first wave in an ambitious change initiative known as Collaboration 2.0. As of November 2010, the rapidly growing network includes more than 65 locations spread throughout the world.
Several Telepresence installations are already booked for more than 100 hours per month, and the typical installation will save three to five times the cost of operation within the first year of use. One common benefit cited is ease of use: Users can book time directly via Microsoft Outlook, and the technology is highly reliable. Meeting materials can also be easily shared via a laptop projector that delivers a live feed to all participating locations.
How is Telepresence changing the way Accenture works for the better? Here is a real-world example: Accenture’s senior director of global travel and events replaced three solid weeks of travel for a vendor services review with 13 hours of Telepresence sessions, including five virtual site visits and 70 participants in all.
The estimated savings from this meeting were approximately $104,000, not even counting the time saved by members in the meeting. In another situation, regular monthly C-level calls between Accenture and a client to track project progress are being facilitated by the use of Telepresence.
Each month, Accenture employees are averaging more than 4,300 hours of Telepresence videoconferencing and saving millions in travel costs, while steadily shrinking Accenture’s travel-related carbon footprint. Telepresence usage is certain to grow even more rapidly now that Accenture has the ability to connect with other companies via Telepresence.
Equally impressive are the less tangible gains in collaboration across Accenture, as reported by Vid Byanna, executive director-Global Infrastructure, Accenture. Byanna says, “Telepresence is just one in a series of powerful tools that we have introduced to facilitate greater collaboration across Accenture, and between Accenture and our clients. In addition to the cost savings, we are already seeing benefits from enhanced productivity and creativity as teams of Accenture colleagues spread around the world work together more seamlessly. Telepresence and the many other technologies in our Collaboration 2.0 initiative help us continue the journey toward becoming a high-performance business.”
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