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Digitizing talent management

Accenture’s Talent Hub delivers real-time, single source-of-the-truth data

Project snapshot

Accenture’s internal IT organization collaborated with Human Resources to develop the Talent Hub, a technology solution based on a new data model and “HR talent architecture” that bridges old and new employee talent data, operates in real-time and is cloud-based. It replaces a complex network of legacy data approaches, skill taxonomies and systems. The Talent Hub has made talent management at Accenture better and faster by becoming the new, single system of record for competency data, enabling almost instant accessibility to it. This enhanced capability allows the business to better manage people by understanding and then leveraging their strengths, creating more value for clients and the company.

Growth drives rethinking

Accenture’s robust growth required it to rethink its current talent management solution. Different interpretations and customizations of data values had developed across Accenture office locations globally and across Accenture’s Global Delivery Network, resulting in no single “source of truth” for talent data. This meant Human Resources people had no single view of employee skills, specialties and credentials. Moreover, data delays from batch jobs relayed from location to location.

The situation was ready to be addressed with a new digitization perspective. Accenture’s internal IT organization collaborated with a Human Resources team on developing a new, fully functional enterprise software system based on Microsoft technologies.

Clean-slate solution

The IT/HR team started from a clean slate with four basic tenants: 1) consolidate all employee talent data and create “one source of truth,” 2) enable the solution to operate in real time, 3) make it scalable, expandable, flexible and 4) make it cloud based. The team also wanted to use more generic and open data frameworks than Accenture had in the past, and to make the solution as simple and flexible as possible.

One Source of the truth
Real-time Operation

The project unfolded in three phases:

Data model/architecture
The initial focus was on the data. This involved building out a conceptual data model reflecting Accenture’s skills taxonomy. The outcome: an enterprise view of the entities around talent, in the multiple ways needed. This led to the development of an enterprise entity framework and the formal codification of talent entities. The team continued to design the model out based on the Resource Description Framework.

To support this data model, a new, core “HR talent architecture” was developed. The solution was to create a pure micro services architecture, where every bit of data arrives via services or is pushed out via services. In this way, the Talent Hub would operate entirely on services in real time for inbound data and via services also for outbound data, as well as via an event-driven architecture.

The IT/HR team executed the solution: One team worked on front-end components and the other on the back end, building out the service layer of the architecture. The solution was Microsoft based and to be hosted in Microsoft Azure. The project team used an Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) approach to provision the application in the cloud, and used software within the cloud that detects load and automatically assigns new resources to handle that load, enabling the Talent Hub to scale instantly and infinitely.

The work was complex and challenging. The project team needed to integrate with the legacy enterprise systems, figuring out all the connectivity and enabling Accenture’s SAP ERP to “talk” to the cloud. They also needed to integrate the new Talent Hub skills taxonomy with the earlier and multiple taxonomies of legacy systems. They overcame this problem by developing and embedding logic into the work flow within the Talent Hub services that was able to take the new skills scenario and map it to the legacy skills taxonomy.

New front and back ends were deployed. This entailed converting skills data into the new skills taxonomy on the back end while also populating a mapping table behind the Talent Hub. This approach allows Accenture to operate in both worlds—one using a new taxonomy and the other of mapping into the “old” world.

Improved talent management

The Talent Hub is an important digital investment in Accenture’s capabilities to create a better workforce. It has made talent management at Accenture better and faster—and at huge scale. It has become the new system of record—with more than 16 million active records—for competency data, enabling almost instant accessibility to skills data versus in weeks. The Talent Hub is now the “single source of truth” for skills and provides insights to Accenture in ways that previously was not possible.

This enhanced capability allows the business to find skills, credentials, specialties and strengths to enable targeted buy, borrow or build talent investments. It ultimately lets Accenture make more informed decisions and better manage its people by leveraging their strengths, which in turn creates more value for Accenture’s clients and for the company.