Accenture faces a dynamic business market of new trends, services and future possibilities that leads us to periodically change our business operating model and company structure to compete and grow. In 2020, our leadership launched a redesigned operating model—a next-generation growth model—as a catalyst for the next wave of change. Our global IT organization was a key value partner as we updated our technology landscape to help Accenture achieve this goal.
The new operating model identified new Accenture growth priorities and go-to-market services. It was launched with the expectation that all areas of the business would rapidly align to this structure once it was formally announced. The changes would restructure the entire Accenture organization.
Our global IT organization was ready to move quickly because we were at the leadership table in the early days as the new operating model was in discussion. During the planning process, we were able to share technical implications and help shape what was possible to enable an agile and quick transition.
Once the launch announcement was made, our global IT organization needed to implement the first round in a series of changes in eight weeks. Not only did the changes need to be done quickly, but they also needed to be done strategically to minimize disruption to the business and ensure we continued serving our clients seamlessly.
We began with a quick assessment and developed an implementation plan for a host of changes. Full implementation involved change to more than 400 key systems supporting 40 Accenture business processes. These included organization structures, senior leadership responsibilities, employee workforce alignments, new service lines, sales pipelines and revenue forecast updates, reporting and application security. The effort was made unexpectedly more challenging by happening just as the pandemic set in and all our people had to move to working remotely.
When tech meets human ingenuity
Our global IT organization embraced the need for change at speed while working closely with our business partners. Our goal was to respond quickly and cost-effectively to enable the business to move to the new structure without impacting running the business. We made background technology changes invisible. Further, we set an objective to use this opportunity to increase our IT flexibility by designing the technology changes so that future operating model changes could be made with even more speed and agility.
Prioritizing at a fast pace
In order to fully function on Day 1 of the new operating model, it was most important to know who the new business leads were, how the business aligned and where people fit. Leadership wanted to operate in this new model the day it was announced. To support this need, the most urgent components to have in place were the new organization structure, leadership in the new structure, people’s alignments and accountabilities for the sales pipeline and delivery.
These fast moves allowed Accenture to focus our leaders and teams on the new growth priorities. The growth priorities defined where Accenture will focus next, and how Accenture will report progress on achieving planned growth. As a result, Accenture changed how the company encodes sales and books revenue. To support leadership decision making, we providedstatic focused management briefings to provide meaningful insights to the business.
We followed with a series of rapid, agile releases to implement the remaining changes across our IT landscape. We changed how sold client work is staffed, how we track revenue in the new model, and the management reporting we use to measure new Accenture growth priorities. Throughout the journey, we paired our cross-functional change management team with our business leaders to manage the change without impacting running the business.
Strategic change management was a critical element. We started with the key leaders and took a white glove approach. We identified the 20 new leaders that had been given major new responsibilities in the operating model and were critical to a successful implementation. The team met with each leader individually, discussed and identified their needs, defined their security access and key applications, and provided tailored training. This approach prepared our leaders to immediately manage in the new model and t support and encourage their people to move to the new ways.
Starting from a position of fast IT
The ability to react quickly to massive business change needs to start before the changes happen. Our global IT team was positioned to react quickly because of our ongoing technology investments and move to “fast IT” concepts. Fast IT is about having a culture of speed, a strong cloud posture to support continuous delivery, intelligent automation for agile teams, a common language in data and strategic change management.
Leadership and talent are at the core of enabling fast IT. Our global IT organization maintains a flat, stakeholder-centric leadership structure. Those leaders promote a culture of product ownership in teams that collaborate without friction across technology platforms.
A strong cloud posture is a pillar of fast IT. A networked ecosystem of platform SaaS partners allows our global IT teams to gain efficiencies by mobilizing technology updates and providing expertise. Cloud supports updates to systems continuously, helping to make platforms resilient with no downtime. Additionally, cloud scalability enables changes without downtime.
Intelligent automation is another piece of fast IT. Our global IT organization focuses on applying intelligent automation to remove manual workloads, allowing agile teams to implement business changes faster.
An additional component of fast IT is a common language in data across technologies. This creates a flexible backbone to allow IT to adapt faster and more cost-effectively to business change.
"Our global IT teams are always looking ahead to innovate, so that when a request to restructure the enterprise comes, they are prepared to respond."
— STEVE COLLINS, Managing Director – Global IT, Chief Data Architect, Accenture
A valuable difference
The pace of market change is accelerating. Companies that are prepared to respond to and participate in that change will gain advantage. Accenture has changed how we operate so that we can be in the best position to help our clients respond themselves. This required evolving how Accenture operates itself as a company, how we lead, where we focus, and what we sell and deliver for our clients.
Our global IT organization worked as a strategic value partner with Accenture’s leaders to adapt to change with the business. In this most recent case, we implemented new operating model changes starting in weeks and not months, helping Accenture navigate market change faster as an enterprise.
Accenture’s transition to our new growth model:
"When we changed over to the new growth model, we changed how we report P&L in six months. That is extraordinary. It was something we were able to do because of our fast IT."
— PENELOPE PRETT, Chief Information Officer, Accenture
Leaders taking new operating model responsibilities
Employees realigned within the new organization structure
Applications impacted, enhanced and remediated
Mobilization to first release, with no impact on the business itself
Meet the team
Managing Director – Global IT, Chief Data Architect