Transitioning from a private partnership to a global public company gave Accenture the opportunity to create an ERP strategy from a clean slate and lay a new IT foundation.
At the time Accenture made the strategic decision to create a single global instance of SAP and undertook a journey to leverage this instance and determine how to operate on it.
From the beginning the approach was less about the technology and more about how Accenture wanted to operate its business.
Accenture made decisions that have served it well and gained valuable insights along the way.
Today its ERP operations are better, faster and cheaper than ever. Accenture passes its insights along to others who seek to take a similar journey.
The first critical step Accenture took on its SAP journey was to align the business and IT strategies.
Accenture’s business strategy is to collaborate with its clients to help them become high-performance organizations leveraging Accenture’s strategy, digital, technology and operations solutions on their behalf.
Since Accenture operates globally to support its clients, the company decided that it would need to align and operate its IT in a globally consistent way and to enable IT to provide the applications to support the business.
With the IT strategy aligned with the business strategy, Accenture moved forward to define its ERP strategy.
The decision was made to operate Accenture’s business with a single global instance of SAP and to establish one global governance to develop and operate the ERP.
To achieve high performance and efficiency across Accenture’s core functions, Accenture’s internal IT organization worked with the business to undertake a comprehensive business process standardization effort.
Over 18 months, business processes such as record-to-report, order-to-cash, time and expense, and the close process were rigorously standardized across business units and countries to arrive at a set of global business processes and global data model to enable the single instance ERP.
Accenture knew that implementing a multifunction ERP system could become an asset for Accenture to leverage for the future.
As such, Accenture treats SAP as an asset, and looks at the power that a global single instance of SAP can bring to bear to successfully operate and manage the business.
Accenture’s internal IT organization moved the company to a single-instance global SAP platform in 2004 for its internal business functions—starting with Finance, followed by Human Resources; Sales; Denied Party Screenings; Governance, Risk and Compliance; and others. Other capabilities have been added over time along with business acquisitions as well as SAP upgrades and updates.
Today, Accenture’s ERP system integrates the majority of its internal business functions and users, powering the core functions of the organization. It is supported by a single support model as well.
For Accenture, a single instance of SAP:
Enables Accenture’s single economic model and standard global processes (including the ability to better leverage shared services) to provide the business with access to consistent, highly accurate information that drives decision making across the enterprise. The result is better decision making all around.
Served as the catalyst for reduced IT costs. Accenture was able to reduce IT costs as a percentage of net revenue substantially from 2001 through 2012: IT costs as a percentage of net revenue fell by 64 percent, IT spend per person was cut by 73 percent, global applications fell from 600 to 246, and local applications dropped from 1,500 to 249.
Enables Accenture’s HR and Financial financial processes to work in an integrated way.
Enables robust internal controls and reporting through deployment of a consistent risk management process integrated into the business processes and technology from client bidding through delivery resulting in minimal control issues.
Provided a single platform and common processes that in turn enabled Accenture to leverage shared services for business transactions and reporting. An SAP solution support transformation transitioned a team of 250 operations specialists across four countries into the Accenture Global Delivery Network across five countries to become part of an organization of more than 7,400 skilled SAP resources. The transformation reduced Accenture’s cost to serve for SAP solution support activities by more than 30 percent.
Enables Accenture to inexpensively and effectively leverage SAP new business capabilities, such as Treasury, product costing and analytics.
Enables internal IT to keep pace with operating and economic model changes.
Provides the ability to enable enterprise change and support future business growth.