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CLIENT CASE STUDY


Accenture transforms its core HR systems

Setting the stage for a digital Accenture

Overview

Accenture's growth since our inception drove the need to revamp our legacy HR systems in order to enable more robust capabilities, greater flexibility and the ability to change with the business over time. By tapping the industry-leading skills of our own professionals around the world and by collaborating with our strategic business partners, Accenture developed an integrated HR IT system that will not only support the company's future growth for years to come, but also serve as a strong foundation for becoming a digital business and providing a competitive advantage.

The number of employees at Accenture has grown from 65,000 to more than 358,000 in the last 10 years.

Opportunity

Accenture's success is significantly based on the ability of its global workforce to deliver high performance to its clients. Robust and flexible human resources (HR) systems are critical to attract, develop, manage, deploy and compensate Accenture's employees.

Accenture reached a point where it needed to develop an integrated HR solution that would be flexible enough to grow and change with the company over time, as well as serve as a strong foundation for becoming a digital business and providing a competitive advantage.

Accenture began developing integrated, global HR processes that would provide seamless integration across the company and superior HR reporting and analysis functions. This solution also needed to be flexible enough to support the company's evolving HR needs.

Solution

Accenture developed a solution based on SAP Human Capital Management technology, using three SAP modules—Personnel Administration, Organizational Administration and the Qualifications Module.

In line with our own best practice principles, Accenture’s goal was to maximize the data resident in its single, global SAP instance (integrated with Finance and Sales) to drive digital HR capabilities.

Rather than focusing on software solutions that would improve performance in discrete functional areas, Accenture defined requirements for establishing best-in-class, end-to-end HR processes that would drive improvements in key areas such as hiring, forecasting, management reporting and compensation. The goal was to implement a system—integrated with Finance—that would not only support Accenture's efforts to position HR as a strategic partner with the business, but also establish a platform for driving high-performance business results and digital operations.

To develop the HR solution, Accenture assembled a global team, comprised of people from the company’s HR and internal IT organization, the Consulting workforce and Accenture's 38,000-strong SAP practice. The extended team included key HR personnel representing 48 countries. This group’s involvement was critical, since most HR activities occur at the country level.

Following an intensive four-month global design phase involving a number of stakeholders and the creation of several prototypes, the team spent five months configuring the SAP IT solution. They then conducted three full mock data conversions and all appropriate system tests before migrating to the new SAP system.

Working closely with 10 geographic training teams, Accenture's talent and organization performance professionals conducted face-to-face training sessions with key users.

Results

The new HR system has enabled greater HR efficiencies across Accenture by having one source of the truth, while the one database and one application significantly reduced IT costs. In addition, the new system provides a global, flexible and scalable personnel administration capability that not only answers Accenture’s need for geographic specificity, but also supports the company’s digital agenda and plans for growth.

Since the initial implementation:

  • The solution demonstrated its flexibility through a seamless upgrade implementation and integration across a changing spectrum of applications to continuously improve data integrity.
  • The adoption of self-service applications, coupled with the industrialization of key processes has reduced the operations team by half.
  • IT costs have been reduced even though Accenture has added significantly more capability and usage of the system.
  • The solution integrates HR and Finance data in a single instance of SAP, providing access to consistent, highly accurate, global information and facilitates the creation of a standard set of processes and more rigorous internal control procedures.

The success of this major HR transformation was evident in the value it delivered. Several factors contributed to the success of this implementation, especially Accenture’s deep expertise in SAP solutions and proven systems integration practices, as well as its rigorous solution delivery methodologies and tools. Accenture was also able to tap resources from its long-standing alliance partners, SAP and Microsoft, to help ensure quick problem resolution and accelerate solution development and delivery.