Three core plans make up the business resilience program:
Business continuity focuses on developing and implementing processes to support continued business operations. Accenture employs a range of capabilities to support business continuity planning that use our own methodology, following industry guidelines and standards. We undertake standardized analysis and reviews to identify critical business processes and the resources they rely on. We develop and implement solutions based on risks and requirements, conducting training (in-house and with vendors) and maintaining and measuring compliance.
Technology continuity focuses on the technology required to continue mission-critical systems. Our capabilities to support technology continuity include geographic distributions of data centers and service providers across multiple locations, data backup to maintain data integrity, specialist support teams with 24x7x365 coverage, standardized processes and testing and exercising programs to validate effectiveness.
Crisis management focuses on Accenture people and facilities—preventing, mitigating, preparing for, responding to and recovering from conditions that threaten life, property, or operations. Our people are our first priority—but in taking care of our people, we are also taking care of our business continuity for our clients. Accenture supports crisis management with dedicated teams; for example, the Global Asset Protection team was a huge part of our early and swift response to the global pandemic, setting up a Pandemic Task Force in China and surrounding areas in January 2020. We also created a global people emergency communication system and a 24x7 Accenture Security Operations Center (ASOC)—a global watch program to advise our people on safety, security, health and travel and specialist risk intelligence that is shared across the world.
In the past 15 years, we have seen many extreme events in various corners of the world that had the potential to seriously impact business continuity. From the volcanic ash eruption in Iceland that caused enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe in 2010, to a major hurricane in the United States in 2016 or a global cyberattack in 2017, we have seen and dealt with our fair share of crises. In each situation, our crisis management teams were not only prepared to handle the event, but also skilled in understanding the specific needs of those circumstances, through effective collaboration, agile response and being able to manage uncertainty.
One of the areas of specialty that has proved especially helpful in the last year has been our team handling infectious disease outbreaks. Accenture has a global Infectious Disease Plan (IDP) which provides preventative measures and recommends pre-planning for, and responses to, situations such as COVID-19.
The plan includes inputs from leading health authorities (such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and respective regional and local health agencies. We adjust global and location actions based on developing situations and support regional and local business resilience teams following a defined crisis management process.
As a result, our ability to manage the fallout from the pandemic was eased by a robust and well-informed team. It was able to put in place the plans and people to deliver a timely and response that was right for us and our business. For instance, we enabled 95% of Accenture people to work from home, including 350,000 delivery center people, while completing 42 acquisitions and establishing 100 Return to Office Workplace protocols.