Challenge

Accurate master data—an organization’s single source of basic business data used across multiple applications and processes—is a key element in driving accurate analytics and business decisions. To achieve accurate master data, organizations must develop a capability to manage unprecedented volumes of data in an integrated and agile way with rigorous maintenance and governance processes to maintain quality.

For Accenture, the need for a robust master data management (MDM) capability was driven by three main factors. The first was the need for agility to support Accenture’s ever-changing business. The second was the need for improved data quality to address new external requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley requirements. The third was to resolve data inconsistencies that were the result of point-specific needs within silos without appropriate governance and controls. Both business and IT leaders recognized the need to create an integrated business and technology MDM capability to eliminate integration issues and the long lead time to manage master data changes and address quality issues.

What Accenture did

Accenture’s global IT organization collaborated with the business to create a cross-functional master data capability that sits within Accenture’s Operations Support for the Enterprise (OSE) organization. Together, the OSE team delivers production and end-user support for Accenture’s key platforms, including single global instances of SAP®, Workday and Salesforce. The team manages sales and pricing, finance and HR data. In addition, it centralizes and standardizes processes and controls with strong support from IT and business leadership. This support includes active data governance representing each stakeholder group.

A key development of the MDM capability was the implementation of a single, integrated data model spanning business processes and applications ensuring one version of the truth. IT resources were charged with designing, implementing and maintaining this integrated data model, collaborating with OSE and other business teams to ensure appropriate data definitions, relationships and service levels were in place.

The MDM capability naturally scaled in cost-effective shared services centers and was done so using a follow-the-sun approach to support their respective business and system processes. The team has evolved to more than 70 specialized employees managing more than 10,000 transactions per month.

Having the organization, process and technology foundations in place enabled optimization. The MDM capability was able to outsource most of its functions to the Accenture Operations organization, enabling further scale, cost savings, career development opportunities, sharing of best practices and enhancement of Accenture’s go-to-market capability.

Many of Accenture’s workflow and request management tools are today using the power of ServiceNow for enterprise service management. Among these tools is the automation of the MDM request fulfillment process. It performs real-time validation, seamless integration and master data creation across Accenture’s ERP, leading to a faster turnaround with higher quality and less effort.

Master data management critical success factors:

  • Establish defined data roles and processes
  • Eliminate, simplify and automate
  • Centralize maintenance teams in shared services centers
  • Provide an intuitive user design
  • Be a trusted business partner
  • Develop an integrated application architecture

Accenture’s MDM highlights:

60+

Master data objects in scope

50+

Acquisitions supported in the last 3 years

300+

Integrations with global systems

100K+

Records updated per year

70+

FTE integrated global capability

People and culture

By implementing process rigor, automation and organization optimization, Accenture’s MDM team is able to provide the business with ever-greater agility and confidence in data and reporting. The team operates across three continents as a single, truly integrated global team with a solid focus on addressing customers’ business needs.

Governance, industrialization, automation and continuous improvement are key aspects of the team culture. This focus helps to deliver agile results to Accenture business customers cost-effectively and with the same number of people while Accenture’s business grows. Having honed the MDM capability, the team is able to rotate from the provision of basic transactional services to critical business advisory services.

Value delivered

Accenture progressively shaped MDM to become the prime provider of high-quality, timely master data today. This data integrates Accenture’s business analytics, security model and other core business processes that enable Accenture’s operations.

Operating from an integrated, centrally managed set of core master data allows Accenture with equal confidence to analyze results across Accenture’s markets and services while also being able to meet external reporting requirements.

Data quality as well as turnaround time for data delivery have improved by 5 percent per year. Operating costs have reduced by 5 to 7 percent every year even as Accenture’s business continues to grow. More than 300 global systems have integrations enabling consistent data. The lead time for the processing of master data has been significantly reduced and largely removed from the critical path of reorganization changes, integration of acquisitions into Accenture business applications, and other critical business events.

Moreover, while the model assures rigorous processes, it also has the flexibility to adjust to the ever-changing reality of the business and to take on board new applications or capabilities. As Accenture’s MDM capability continues to evolve, the team looks to mature business integration, improve the user experience through advanced automated and integrated technology solutions, and develop deeper enterprise analytics capabilities.

MDM outcomes:

5%

Annual improvement in data quality

5%

Average annual reduction in data delivery turnaround time

5-7%

Reduction in operating costs

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