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Accenture helped MTN standardize the quality and consistency of the learning and development services provided by third-party providers.
With Accenture’s help, MTN has reduced the number of vendors by 90 percent and cut costs by 25 percent—while improving quality.
MTN is one of the leading emerging market wireless telecommunications companies with more than 176 million subscribers in around 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East. It employs more than 27,000 people and its 2011 revenues were approximately $15 billion.
MTN Group wanted to further enhance its learning and development training capabilities by standardizing quality and consistency of services provided by third parties across the different operating companies and broadening access of operating companies to a bigger and better base of service providers. In parallel, by expanding the procurement process MTN expected to leverage economies of scale to reduce costs.
Considerably increasing the complexity of the vendor analysis and selection, the project spanned across 18 countries, each with its own culture, market maturity and environment, and multiple languages. The vendors ultimately selected would need to be balanced so that all countries were supported effectively.
Accenture had already worked with 18 of MTN’s operating companies on other HR and marketing initiatives, thus developing deep experience of its business and a solid understanding of the organization. Leveraging its global reach and strategic knowledge, Accenture presented a scope that not only catered for the current project, but also for the vision for expanding the scope.
The Accenture team worked closely with MTN Group and Operating Company Procurement, MTN Academy’s Learning Solutions managers and the Group and Operating Company learning and development heads to identify rationalization opportunities. A business case was then created to estimate the rationalization and savings potential.
To accelerate the delivery of the solution, Accenture brought its field-tested assets and tools to bear, as well as its industry-leading practices and processes. Accenture’s seven-step strategic sourcing methodology helped quantify the opportunity, rationalize the vendor base and confirm cost reduction while implementing standardized processes and a robust governance framework. Professional resources from Accenture groups including Operations, Finance & Enterprise Management Finance and Performance Management and Talent & Organization matched the appropriate skills to the required outcomes. Accenture Research was also used to conduct a market analysis and identify key learning vendor trends.
The Operations resources assisted in rationalizing the vendor base and work towards achieving savings, the Finance & Enterprise Management resources reviewed the L&D budget, reporting systems and calculated savings and the Talent & Organization resources developed the processes and governance framework, provided subject matter specialists and the vital change management activities to improve the chances of the project’s success and acceptance. In addition, outsourcing subject matter specialists from Accenture’s Procurement and Learning Outsourcing services were leveraged on an ad-hoc basis for additional knowledge.
The rationalization of MTN’s vendors, and subsequent increase in volume per vendor, gives the company the ability to negotiate flexible contracts in terms of number of delegates and sessions to be held without being penalized.
A pilot deployment for seven competency clusters resulted in a number of qualitative and quantitative benefits. Qualitative benefits include industry-leading standardized learning vendor management processes, a robust learning governance framework, an increased focus on the quality of learning content and increased awareness of potential cost reduction opportunities. Quantitative benefits include a reduction of over 90 percent in the number of vendors and contract savings of 25 percent.
Accenture and MTN share a common “can-do” attitude which helped accelerate the project. Accenture’s methodologies and frameworks, leading industry-practices and deep experience were combined with MTN’s experience and knowledge to create a solution that was tailored for MTN. By engaging regularly with MTN, Accenture reinforced a sense of co-creation while regular social events improved relationships and alignment between the Accenture and MTN teams.
A rigorous communications plan, supported by continuous communication with all stakeholders, helped to facilitate acceptance of the solution. Subject matter experts were introduced in critical meetings and workshops to share their knowledge and experience. Regular workshops and review sessions also served to create a collaborative environment. Having MTN team leaders present at each status meeting increased accountability, while giving the team an opportunity to present the impressive results and progress of the project.
In collaboration with Accenture, MTN has significantly improved its learning and development services while dramatically reducing its costs. It is now well on its way to achieving high performance through learning and development function.
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