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CLIENT CASE STUDY


SAP support model at Accenture

Accenture's leading ERP support model supports a digital future

Overview

When Accenture made the strategic decision to migrate to a single, global instance of SAP for our internal business functions more than a decade ago, we knew that implementing a multifunction ERP system would entail more than simply changing the company’s technology platform. The introduction of such a large and complex application into the organization would require a well-functioning production support model to achieve the full benefits of the ERP solution not only upon deployment but especially over time.

Rethinking the entire concept and effectiveness of production support, we designed a powerful new ERP production support paradigm comprising three primary components: strong governance, robust methodology and a comprehensive, scalable support structure.

By tapping IT and business resources from across the organization, we developed a leading-edge production support capability that enables the company to quickly maximize returns on its ERP investment.

Opportunity

When Accenture made the strategic decision to migrate to a single, global instance of SAP for its internal business functions more than a decade ago, it knew that implementing a multifunction ERP system would entail more than simply changing the company’s technology platform. The introduction of such a large and complex application into the organization would require a well-functioning production support model to achieve the full benefits of the ERP solution not only upon deployment but especially over time.

From the very inception of the ERP program Accenture set out to build a leading-edge production support environment, thereby reducing the stabilization period and paving the way to achieve repeatable success even as the solution begins to evolve to a digital ERP today.

Solution

Resources from Accenture’s Operations Support for the Enterprise (OSE) organization, in collaboration with Accenture’s business teams and its internal IT organization, began by examining production support capabilities at a number of large-scale companies. Based on this assessment, Accenture proceeded to rethink the entire concept and effectiveness of production support. The result was a powerful new ERP production support paradigm comprising three primary components:

  • Strong governance. To manage and integrate information related to enterprise functions, a governing body was formed to balance the three groups’ requirements and guide the right decisions for the business. The governance structure includes business leaders from key organizations within the business as well as a cross-operations team composed of IT and OSE resources that work across three support tiers to track service level agreements, measure production support effectiveness, monitor benefits, drive business requirements and provide user support.

  • Robust methodology. The team tailored and then leveraged a repeatable production support enablement methodology based on Accenture Delivery Methods for SAP to ensure that production support structures were in place when the new solutions went live. This approach ensured that the procedures, tools and people were ready to support users as soon as they logged onto the system for the first time.

  • Comprehensive, scalable support structure. For day-to-day support, one group controls master data and user security access and delivers process and technical support via a single global network and a common toolset. A three-tiered support model, in which both IT and business representatives play crucial roles, is also in place. As new capabilities are added to SAP, business, process and technology teams are adjusted to support those capabilities.

According to Matt Foulger, Accenture’s Director of OSE, "Our expansive approach to governance is arguably the most pivotal aspect of Accenture’s production support capability."

RESULTS

“From the perspective of our IT organization, a critical success factor for the implementation and maintenance of our single global instance of SAP has always been the ongoing engagement of our business stakeholders,” explains Dan Kirner, executive director–Global SAP and Finance Applications Lead, Accenture. “The collaborative partnership that we have forged with our internal business functions, and embedding them into our production support model at all levels, has been central to the internal process improvements that we have been able to drive for Accenture.”

By tapping IT and business resources from across the organization, Accenture developed a leading-edge production support capability that enables the company to quickly maximize returns on its ERP investment. Specifically, the production support model:

  • Encourages enterprise-wide, end-to-end process orientation that blurs the traditional functional boundaries.

  • Promotes standardization, which improves the company’s business and risk management capabilities, while reducing costs.

  • Reduces the stabilization period, leading to faster value realization from new capabilities.

  • Creates operational efficiencies by reducing the learning curve for users and minimizing the post-implementation productivity dip that is typically experienced.

  • Reduces internal costs by reducing the number and size of support teams and leveraging Accenture’s Global Shared Services teams.

  • Enables the company to prioritize and deliver enhancements across multiple functions, improving efficiency and value realized.

  • Establishes common, scalable support processes that ensure that new capabilities, users and business acquisitions are fully supported from the outset.

  • Sets a solid foundation for taking SAP to the next phase, evolving it to a digital ERP to continue to build Accenture’s digital capabilities and improve ERP operations as Accenture’s businesses become more differentiated.