Our Global IT organization started with defining several principles and strategies around data and how Accenture as an organization needs to structure and govern it. Accenture views data as a strategic asset to optimize operational efficiencies and to transform our business. This positioning requires making security and data quality foundational requirements as well as enforcing architectural standards, among other measures.
Creating the foundation
One of the first steps is getting data in order so as to be able to use it effectively. The challenge for Accenture, as it is for many enterprises, is in creating the proper foundation. At its essence, such a foundation needs to encompass universal data concepts, data governance and physical data strategy. The data strategy includes robust systems of record for key data and analytics platforms that allow integration to support analysis.
Our Global IT organization and many corporate functions are working through an analysis of how we manage our data, what our architecture should look like and how we govern data—a complex undertaking given Accenture’s technology ecosystem of multiple platforms.
Related to the data strategy work was the establishment of governance setting up clear data ownership. This entailed recommending additional data governance, for example, in the form of a data governance office (DGO) to enforce data strategies and processes. We also established a comprehensive set of universal data concepts that reflect Accenture’s evolving reality.
Our data architecture needs to be flexible and agile so that Accenture can expand to include new offerings. Our plan entails expanding our enterprise platform that enables integrations across different systems so that we can make use of the data from them. As part of our team’s strategizing, we need to define how all the concepts should work across platforms and domains so that Accenture can achieve its desired transformational use cases.
Establishing such a foundation Accenture-wide is underway, an initiative with a multi-year road map. What we are establishing is intended to provide the source for data integrity because the basis for any analytics is reliable data. Our core platforms provide a single source of the truth that enable artificial intelligence. We will be opening the door further for our corporate functions to use algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop analytic solutions.
One reporting concept we’re introducing is what we are calling “self-enabled analytics.” It’s a new way that we would surface data so that groups of power users in the corporate functions can perform their own data analytics to create specific reports and insights. They would be provided access to necessary datasets. To enable users to find and request those datasets, we’re building a data catalog. It is intended to provide a “front door” and get data into a state that’s easy to use. Accenture’s existing core global reporting solutions would remain, but self-enabled analytics would give groups the flexibility to do their own different types of analytics, as needed.