Call for change

As a company that applies technology innovations for its clients, Accenture is driving its own internal agenda to make itself a more digital enterprise. One program is to digitally enable Accenture people with the ability to work productively and collaborate across the globe. A major component of this program was equipping employees with the latest Microsoft tools through the deployment of Microsoft Windows 10.

Accenture’s global IT organization, together with Accenture leaders, also wanted to capitalize on the benefits offered by Windows 10 along with Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft OneDrive for Business. This combination offered significant business value in new capabilities, enhanced security, as-a-service model as well as supported Accenture’s “cloud-first” strategy. Both business and IT leadership wanted to seize the benefits of upgrading as quickly as possible—for more than 400,000 employees at the time.

When tech meets human ingenuity

1. First step: Testing

A global Windows 10 project team, consisting of individuals from the global IT organization and Accenture’s Consulting workforce, kicked off the upgrade project. The project team’s high-level approach was to first test all business applications and validate that they were capable of running on Windows 10, and second, proceed with deployment to employees.

From the start, speed to outcome was key. To accelerate business application testing, the project team leveraged a methodology it has used in the past to quickly assess applications. Nearly all of Accenture’s applications are browser-based and platform independent, which eliminated a huge testing effort. “We had a much smaller testing list because the browser compatibility was guaranteed in Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) on Windows 10,” says Brad Nyers, Infrastructure Services Strategy Lead. “So we were able to move our business applications with no impact and move to production ready in a very short window.” During this time, the Windows 10 project team also examined Accenture’s security tools in the context of Office, and performed a technical business pilot.

2. Next: Initial deployment

Eight months later, initial deployment of PCs loaded with Windows 10 began. The project team set up a “two-lane” deployment approach. The first was to deploy all new PCs with Windows 10 and give a manual upgrade option for early adopters. The second lane addressed existing PCs running Windows 7 and enabled employees to use an In-Place Upgrade tool and process that used OneDrive for file distribution to perform the upgrade to Windows 10.

This innovative In-Place Upgrade tool, developed by the Accenture Windows 10 project team, was key to enabling deployments at scale and pace. The tool validated whether an employee’s computer meets the necessary criteria, such as having sufficient disk space and the proper versions of security software, to receive Windows 10. If not, the user received information on how to remediate the situation. If yes, the user received communication by e-mail that their PC was ready and they received the Windows 10 upgrade file, which they could execute at their convenience. This approach was fast and eliminated the need to come into an Accenture office to have the upgrade performed by local technology support.

3. Execution

Throughout the Windows 10 Upgrade project rigorous project management, robust methodology and priority setting were important factors to achieving results at speed and scale. “At Accenture, we do a fantastic job at setting priorities and getting everyone engaged and to execute as a priority,” notes Nyers. “We set targets, we measure them and we achieve them. This aspect of a program is just as important as having great technology solutions.”

Employees executed in-place upgrades to Windows 10 at a regular cadence, with Accenture completing them by August 2018, with a few exception areas. Accenture embraced the Windows 10-as-a-Service (WaaS), and is staying current with the latest Windows 10 feature update. This model means Accenture has the latest Windows 10 operating system at all times, and is not concerned about falling out of support nor having to fund future large programs to stay current.

A valuable difference

More than 420,000 Accenture people upgraded to Windows 10 by August 2018. Accomplishing this in a span of two-plus years reinforces Accenture’s technology and execution leadership—and provided a robust foundation in digitally enabling Accenture people. Accenture is among the largest deployment of Windows 10 as well as the largest consumer of OneDrive for Business.

Migrating from Office 2013 to Office 365 provided a refreshed set of features to employees and a foundation that supports new ways for Accenture people to work. “Our people want the latest technology and were quick to embrace it,” says Tony Leraris, Infrastructure Services for Accenture Lead. “With the Windows 10 program, we delivered what they needed and were able to deliver it faster than ever, and in turn enhancing overall productivity.”

From a business standpoint, Accenture is benefiting in a number of ways. One is through simplified imaging. New machines no longer require imaging, as the OEM operating system is used, the image is converted to Enterprise edition, and security tools are layered on. Moreover, these tools provide enhanced security. A second is the as-a-service model, which will eliminate the need to perform operating system update projects. And yet a third benefit is use of the cloud for Windows 10, the In-Place Upgrade tool and Office 365, and OneDrive for Business. Lastly, Secure Boot and Device Guard provide enhanced security.

"Accenture's relationship with Microsoft has been a long and collaborative one. Our teams are in regular communication with each other on how to drive better technology and business value from Microsoft’s products and services."

— Tony Leraris, Managing Director – Global IT, User Infrastructure Services

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