Digitizing Accenture’s business services
How a strategic digital business services vision and road map accelerated Accenture’s business transformation, unlocking post-digital value
Companies such as Accenture use the power of digital transformation to reshape themselves. Accenture invested heavily in digitizing core technologies and is now harnessing the power of that investment to achieve new post-digital value.
Before Accenture’s digital transformation, client account teams managed, sold and delivered services to clients using siloed applications. They performed redundant data entry and made key business decisions using different versions of data truth. The lack of online, end-to-end management processes and reporting ultimately impacted company growth and profitability.
This environment led to the launch of a multi-program portfolio to build a digital business services suite of applications and fundamentally streamline client account and business unit management at Accenture. Laying an application foundation and building comprehensive integration and automation created new opportunities to transform business processes and make previously unattainable insights available to business teams—all of which is now unlocking new, post-digital value.
Getting from the old to the new digital business services suite was a multi-year journey of four key phases. Every step involved the internal IT organization working closely with business stakeholders to address challenges and develop solutions collaboratively.
Accenture’s efforts went beyond simply meeting current business requirements and also envisioned flexibility for future business changes, enabled by extensible platforms. These platforms could become adaptable, boundary-less and radically human, characteristics of what Accenture calls future systems—systems that adjust seamlessly to business and technology change.
Phase 1: Business focus and foundation
The vision was to enable digital business services: a suite of applications to manage, sell and deliver work for Accenture’s clients in an integrated experience. Achieving this vision would transform processes for account planning, forecasting, sales, pricing, revenue management and reporting, and would lead to major business and operational impact.
Given this, the team obtained the executive sponsorship to mandate change and put the right skills in place: consultative IT, deep business acumen, agile software engineers and change management professionals. This team carefully crafted the strategic road map. They mapped out five “MMx” applications by priority—starting with contract revenue management (Manage myEngagements) and followed by sales (Manage mySales), reporting (Manage myBusiness), pricing (Manage myPrice) and forecasting (Client Business Projection).
Phase 2: Integration and automation
Implementing integration and automation was done in parallel. Teams built integrations across applications and with Accenture’s enterprise systems, eliminating redundant data processing, automating manual tasks and improving data quality.
One example of an integration outcome is with pricing. Accenture often sells work to clients made up of many of its consulting, system implementation and outsourcing offerings. Historically, each of these were separately priced in different systems, lengthening the sales cycle and adding overhead to client account teams. The deployment of Manage myPrice now streamlines that problem by allowing teams to price many different client solution types in one place.
In terms of automation, one focus was rethinking the approach to invoice production. The outcome is a digital automating billing solution that supports billing production requests and fulfillment in a single cohesive flow across Accenture platforms coupled with automation. Today, Accenture teams are producing client billing invoices in minutes rather than days, improving the company’s financial position.
Phase 3: Process transformation
The foundational suite of applications, coupled with integration and automation, now allows Accenture to transform business processes.
One example is the transformation of the new sales and approval process. By bringing this sales review and approval process online, the team transformed how client deal proposals are evaluated and optimized before they are sold. By streamlining approval processes, deals that previously required days or weeks to approve can now close in 24 to 48 hours, significantly accelerating the Accenture sales revenue cycle.
Another example is client business projections. A new forecasting solution integrates with Accenture’s enterprise applications and brings sales and revenue together in real time to enable a new online forecast. It allows client teams to move from an offline and quarterly cycle with limited visibility to a digital experience that allows them to review, in real time, progress against their plan.
Phase 4: Insights and analytics
Having more data available across many systems and a high-performance data architecture allows Accenture to produce insights previously unattainable.
Today, business users can surface insights through self-service analytics in Manage myBusiness as they are transacting business. Those insights can help them make more informed and better business decisions, which ultimately helps company growth and profitability. Aiding further in that is Win Probability Prediction. Connected to Manage mySales, this AI model rapidly scores potential sales opportunities on their likelihood to win. This score gives sales teams clear insight into deals to pursue or deals to avoid, improving Accenture’s client sales win rates and its cost of sales.
The journey to creating digital business services has been one of steadily overcoming challenges and achieving new solutions. The outcome for Accenture today is the digitization of core account business processes with a suite of applications and tools to manage, sell and deliver work to clients. This level of transformation and agility was made possible due to the power of the platform and the cloud where Accenture today has 95 percent of its enterprise IT infrastructure.
Accenture’s digital transformation broke down barriers of internal inefficiencies and unleashed the power of global connection. With technologies working across platforms, Accenture’s client account teams can more directly influence the direction, growth and profitability of Accenture’s business. They work faster and more effectively, winning work more quickly and profitably. They also spend less time on administration and more time focused on growing business.
The post-digital journey is just beginning and holds huge potential for delivering more business value. Internal IT continues to integrate additional business processes like legal, staffing, risk management and more in support of Accenture’s vision for digital business services.