Call for change

In the last couple of years, Accenture has been transforming our business to enable our people to work in a modern, smart way. We want Accenture people to securely connect, collaborate and create with each other and clients—and introduced the platform, Microsoft Teams, to help them do so.

Working without barriers is part of our organization’s DNA. Our global IT team wants to bring the right tools to where our people work, rather than expecting them to search out multiple, disparate tools to be effective and productive. As early as 2017, we decided to migrate to Teams, a chat-centered business collaboration platform that brings together people, content and tools to get things done.

The adoption of new tools and technologies is an ongoing journey that doesn’t end when the technology is implemented. For Teams, we employed a rigorous change management program to retire our existing platform. We started the Teams roll out with organic growth and then completed a large-scale deployment in December 2019.

We couldn’t have predicted the timing would be so fortuitous. By March 2020 our adoption program was given a hyper-boost. Faced with the need to engage 500,000 remote workers in a consistent way, we were ready as our employees were actively using Teams to chat, call and conduct meetings.

But we realized quickly that our people were at different stages of adoption and our journey continued. They needed to know how to use the extensive capabilities in Teams so that they could collaborate more effectively and securely and continue to innovate and create with clients.

"We couldn't have achieved our goals without the dedicated support of our senior leaders and the willingness of our people to adopt a new way of working."

— SARAH DUGAN, Global IT Journey and Change Management Lead – Accenture

When tech meets human ingenuity

Introducing any new technology is not without its challenges. When people are busy, they naturally prefer to use the tools and processes that are familiar to them. And with a half a million people, change and adoption activities needed to be tailored to the specific audience and how they use the digital worker tools to be effective.

Using an employee-centric approach, we were able to target our efforts on the new behaviors necessary to adopt and realize the benefits of Teams. Rather than focusing on the technology and how to do something in the tool, we talked about the way people worked, like whiteboarding and collaborating, increasing team engagement and being truly human along the way.

Our three-staged approach included:

  1. Crawl: Most people were at this stage when we shifted to a virtual work environment, having used Skype for Business already for chats, meetings and calls. We helped users understand that Teams enabled them to collaborate effectively and personalize their communications. The Teams mobile app provides a unified experience with full capability. Here’s what we said to our people: “Stay connected with persistent chat, threaded conversations and video meetings, from your desk and on the go.”
  2. Walk: Once people were comfortable with the basics, we introduced working together in real time in the cloud—with advanced features such as meeting notes, and using channels to co-create and co-collaborate. We reminded people that Teams took care of the admin and that they can say goodbye to version control issues with real-time editing. Here’s what we said to our people: “Teams is your new digital workspace. Collaborate and ideate with your team, in real time and in the cloud.”
  3. Run: Now, many of our people are in this phase. We are focused on helping them to use Teams as a digital workspace to manage work centrally and unleash its full potential. We’ve added apps and micro services to elevate collaboration to the next level. All our users have their conversations, content and team members at their fingertips in one central hub. Teams supercharges how people work, eliminating the need to go to other destinations and applications. Here’s what we said to our people: “Elevate collaboration to the next level with Power BI, bots, Planner and other micro services.”

An ongoing journey

Our adoption journey didn’t end once Teams was out there—we continue to employ change management to progress how it is being used. To help our people get the most value from Teams, we guide them to work in a new way. For example, the concept of creating a private or public “team” and inviting individual members was new and people didn’t know why, when or how to best create one and use this feature.

With the shift to remote working, the increased strain of working during a pandemic and the loss of human interaction, we also looked to Teams to help people to be “truly human.” And as most of our employees continue to work virtually, we use Teams to improve connections and find creative ways to work together and with our clients. For example, we encourage people to use Teams for “virtual water cooler” chats, to play games, such as “Working from Home Bingo,” use the mobile app to take a walk during a meeting and update the status message when they need to step away. Teams can even be used for virtual meditation and yoga sessions. We also leverage Teams Live Events for town halls and larger group gatherings and events.

Four aspects of how we approach ongoing adoption are fundamental to our success:

We capitalize on the support of our senior leadership

Fundamental to the adoption of Teams across the business is the active use and endorsement of Teams by our senior leaders. We provide one-to-one training sessions with senior management, chiefs of staff and executive assistants and attend leadership meetings to provide individualized help and advice. We have a dedicated Digital Concierge team to provide tech support and answer any issues that arise for our senior leadership, ensuring that there is a swift resolution.

We employ change networks and gaming techniques

Creating a grass roots change network during the early phases of the program was critical. We continue to use our original “Team Stars”—early adopters of the platform—as an ongoing adoption change network. The people in this group give feedback on new features and then act as change agents on the ground. We offer the group incentives, such as access to early features.

We also rely on other natural change networks in the enterprise, such as our executive assistants and our learning organization who is responsible for skill building and professional development for our people. We get them up to speed with new features early and ask them to help champion any changes. Using techniques like social campaigns and gamification, prizes and recognition, we encourage people to continue to learn and explore the full capabilities and new enhancements in Teams.

We continue to promote the solution ongoing

We have a dedicated, centralized training group that offers virtual workshops on new Teams capabilities, 1:1 coaching, a blog and training videos. We communicate regularly, through articles on our company portal, commercials in all-company broadcasts and social media. We have a centralized Teams support site that provides in-depth guidance, new features and frequently asked questions. We also use social networking site Yammer to provide announcements, ask questions and create a Digital Worker community.

We inspire new ways of working in Teams

We focus our efforts on creating usability habits and introducing new tools in Teams. As we release new capabilities, such as Microsoft Forms and Yammer communities, we do so in the context of how to use them within Teams. The more that people are able to do when working in Teams, the more they want to use it. As our global IT team considers any new capability for our users, we always ask, how can it be used in Teams?

Key benefits include:

Promotes a consistent way of working across the organization—from employees to top leadership.

Focuses on behaviors rather than technology so users naturally adopt it in their daily flow.

Adopts a user-centric approach to capture hearts and minds from the get-go.

Provides ongoing enablement and support—users aren’t “left on their own.”

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A valuable difference

Our change and adoption strategy focuses on making Teams a core platform where people spend their time. We are bringing services to our people and embedding them naturally, with collaboration. In this way we can connect business processes, services and actions—and support the next generation of digital workers—by placing information intuitively where people expect to find it.

Here are some of the successful elements of any change and adoption strategy for Teams:

  1. Focus on behaviors, not technology. Rather than promoting how to do specific tasks in the tool, think about how the tool integrates into the natural flow of work and how it can deliver value, such as co-creating with people’s own team or collaborating and conducting meetings.
  2. Lead them along the journey. Teams is a powerful tool that offers many rich features—but don’t expect people to understand and embrace it all at once in the early stages. Start with what is familiar to people and help them learn and grow along the way.
  3. Leadership sets the tone. Getting leadership on board early and supporting them so they can use Teams confidently is critical. When people see their leaders sharing a file in Teams rather than sending it via e-mail, they will do the same.
  4. Make it “where you work.” Rather than positioning Teams as a separate tool that gets added to the other technologies, Teams brings together all of the tools, content, and processes into a single location to enable a new way of working.
  5. Adoption isn’t a one-time event. Teams is an evolving platform with more services and apps available every day. Helping people continue to embrace it and discover the value is part of an ongoing adoption journey.


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