Why Apis and Accenture are a great match
September 9, 2020
After 17 years of building a specialist federal government consultancy, Tim and his partners decided to join Accenture’s global family. Despite a massive difference in size, the two organisations have a lot in common.
I joined Apis early on in 2003, when there were about 10 of us. By 2019, when Accenture became interested in us, we’d grown to more than 100 people.
Apis specialises in social policy reform and service delivery in age care, health, social services, veterans, education, disability, welfare and employment. It’s work that matters, fundamentally impacting every day citizens. We’re not just project managers or business analysts, we have a deep understanding and years of experience helping our clients evolve policy and service delivery reforms. Our mission for our clients is: Shape, Serve, Solve.
I’m proud of the reputation we’ve been able to build. We have solid business relationships in place and are doing good work for clients we’ve grown with over 17 years. In that time, we’ve navigated changes of government, the GFC, and now a global pandemic – all the while providing continuous value to our clients.
From the first conversation with Accenture, the other partners and I could see we had a lot in common. Setting aside Accenture’s mind-blowing global scale, we approach work with a similar ethos. Both organisations are genuinely client-centric and outcomes-focused. We work on-site as part of blended teams with our clients. And we have the same ‘can do’ attitude.
Taken pre-COVID, from L–R: Louise May, Managing Director for Strategy and Consulting at Accenture Australia and New Zealand with Anthony Honeyman and Tim Ryan, Managing Directors at Apis, part of Accenture.
Like Accenture, we’re very pragmatic. Essentially, we’re government business problem solvers. We like to bring theory down into practical implementation, and take strategy down into delivery.
The match worked because Accenture was looking to broaden and deepen its value proposition at the policy reform end of government – not just the systems reform end. While with government services becoming increasingly digital, Apis needed deeper expertise in specialty areas like data and analytics. We’d considered building that capability ourselves, but that’s challenging and takes time. Whereas, joining Accenture gave us immediate access to those and a whole range of other world-leading capabilities.
It was a ‘1+1=3’ move for our company, our clients and our people, who are now part of an organisation with far deeper learning and networking capabilities than we could offer them. Accenture has given all of us access to geographies, case studies and experts in a raft of complementary skills and areas – not to mention a lot of new opportunities.
Initially, our focus has been to get everyone comfortable. Accenture has a lot of systems in play and a complex structure. We’re now part of a global firm – but also one that’s very much focused on regional markets. We’ve had to figure out what that means and where we sit. It’s taken us a bit of time to get our heads around all that and find our feet. You have to give yourself permission to take time to listen and let it soak in.
Our clients have been highly supportive. They basically said, “Great, let’s crack on!” – and continued to access our services without missing a beat. It was a testament to who we are and to Accenture’s reputation. We are looking forward to telling them about all the expanded value we can bring, while continuing to focus on areas we do well. We’re already working with cross-Accenture teams on synergy opportunities, pulling multiple parts of the business together to give clients the best possible service.
When COVID-19 hit, I was impressed with the speed at which Accenture moved. Despite being such a large organisation, its ability to move quickly at the market level has been pretty amazing. I think a lot of that is about being connected and grounded with the client. When you’re truly working in a blended team, you can move with the client effectively. If you’re separate from the client – or just an add on’ – you get left behind.
For me personally, work from home hasn’t been too challenging. My three kids all still live at home, but they’re pretty self-contained. It would have been much trickier if they were younger or needing supervision. Two are at uni in Canberra and my youngest is in her last year of school. We have two dogs and two cats, so there’s never a dull moment! The kids are sports-mad. My eldest two have represented Australia in dragon boating and my youngest represents Australia in rugby. The family members happiest about COVID are the dogs. They’ve really enjoyed having everyone around.
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