Call for change

Technology is constantly evolving. And while technology lies at the heart of change and innovation, on its own it’s not enough to drive effective transformation. People must embrace and evangelize technology if it is to contribute to successful business outcomes.

The 2020 Accenture Global Digital Fluency study found that organizations need to have digital fluency if they want to realize their full potential. This means bringing together and aligning the workforce with digital technologies, tools and training, alongside leadership and cultural support.

At Accenture, our mission is to lead with a human-first approach to inspire Accenture employees to embrace change, adopt new behaviors and use technology to the full to deliver value. Yet, neglecting the people-side of change to fully exploit technology is often the missing ingredient in many digital transformation efforts.

So, while significant time and money is being spent on new platforms, new agile processes and capabilities, it’s important to empower people by applying an effective change and adoption strategy.

As change leaders, we don’t just teach people how to use something; we explain why they’re using it and the value it delivers. In turn, this adds more value to our own business and, ultimately, our work with clients.

"Our people must use our systems fully, in the way they were intended, not only for our technology investments to be successful, but also to add value to our business outcomes."

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

When tech meets human ingenuity

Accenture aims to transform the way we work as a company, enabling our people to work in a modern, smart way. To do so, we know Accenture people need to connect, collaborate and create effectively with team members and our clients.

As the pandemic has reminded us, one size does not fit all—we recognize our people want to work however, whenever and wherever they want. That means we need to make sure our tools are connected and frictionless to elevate collaboration and productivity, breaking down traditional boundaries.

While technology is a key enabler, we have found that strategy, process and technology work together to realize returns. Often IT teams define their success by measures such as uptime, security, performance or response time, ease of use and speed to market. Systems may hit the right metrics for all of those measures, but if people don’t know how to use the technology or understand the full extent of its capabilities to achieve business results, we’re missing out on the real value.

Here are the critical stages that continue to make a difference as we apply our change and adoption approach:

We define a clear journey and change management strategy: Before getting started on any technology deployment it’s important to understand the north star—what the desired business outcomes are and what success looks like. It’s not enough that a system goes live—in the longer term, the new technology must position the organization to enable transformational change. Entire organizational systems need to be reimagined to get the full value from technology. Changing behaviors, culture and ways of working are all necessary to secure adoption and drive value from IT change.

We adopt a modern approach to IT deployment: There are standard activities around any successful rollout: communications, stakeholder management, training and metrics. We’ve updated these traditional methods using our Center of Excellence to work in tandem with the business. We’ve adopted a user-centric approach with elements like design thinking, gamification and next-generation communications. When we offer live workshops and learning, we employ storytelling and interaction to bring the content to life and engage with learners. While communications involve active engagement through social media, live events, personalized news articles and other digital channels. And we measure and monitor the impact before, during and after deployment.

We focus on the vital role of adoption: We recognize that logging in to an application does not equate to adoption. We partner with the business to understand the desired business outcomes that the technology can help to achieve. Then we define and measure the behaviors that demonstrate adoption . The business impact is the ultimate indicator of whether adoption of the change is successful; for example, increased productivity, increased revenue or improved forecasting all illustrate an uptick in performance enabled by the tech change. We look at the neuroscience of change to create new behaviors and habits—how the brain processes new things—and we adopt a persona perspective to address how tech change will impact specific individuals and how they might feel about it. Long after new technology is live we continue to encourage and motivate people to work differently, using tools such as champion networks, next-generation communications and incentives.

Focus on behaviors

An overview of behaviors at Accenture

We maintain end-user support and enablement ongoing: Tech take-up doesn’t end when the rollout does. We use technology to enable technology, using digital adoption platforms that guide users through an application and provide contextual support as they use a new tool. We are proactive in communications, with a notification framework that’s embedded within all our applications to communicate information and updates, where it makes sense, rather than sending e-mails when users aren’t in the app. We encourage user-driven support using social platforms, such as Microsoft Yammer Communities, where our people can ask questions for other users to respond. We rely on our people—our leaders sponsor new ways of working and set an example to our clients; and our change networks share details on new features and how to use them, provide feedback and channel requests for new capabilities. And we use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principles to increase the chances of people finding the right content when they need it.

Adoption at work

Adoption has been fundamental to our approach to getting the most out of technologies. Here are some examples of how change and adoption has been integral to our digital transformation journey.

Accenture investments in digital technologies, infrastructure and a collaborative culture have positioned us well to manage the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, our earlier move to scalable public cloud has meant that we could move swiftly to remote working and take advantage of the versatile Microsoft Teams capabilities. Using Teams, Accenture people can communicate, collaborate and interact effectively wherever and whenever and take advantage of a secure, next-generation approach that helps them to enjoy an elastic, digital workplace. We employed a rigorous change and adoption program that new behaviors messaging targeted toward the “crawl, walk, run” stages of adoption. We also offered a dedicated program to support the top-level leadership, used change networks and gamification and maintained enablement and promotion with videos, virtual meetings and roadshows and internal news articles.



In the past, our client-facing teams had managed, sold and delivered services without online, “joined up” processes and reporting. Now, we’ve introduced digital business services to offer our people the best tools to manage, sell and deliver work. By aligning and better integrating our technology and the support of our corporate functions, our teams can focus on better serving their clients. Our change management team was there on the journey to prepare and support our people to use the technology and processes so that they could better manage client accounts, sell more work and deliver on the contract.

Change is part of our DNA. A major change early in 2021 was implementing a new growth model to simplify Accenture’s organizational structure and increase our agility to better serve clients at scale. It required changes to Accenture’s organization structure, people mapping, access to systems, data structures and more. Our global IT organization needed to respond quickly to complete the first wave of technology changes just two months after the announcement. Just as important, we had to develop a way to help our people understand and adopt the changes to ensure the success of the business model transformation. Our talented teams worked with 710,000 Accenture users to adapt to the system changes, all while balancing the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. Our user-centric change management approach that embeds just-in-time learning, aligns to clear business outcomes and focuses on users’ behavior helped to make it happen.

A valuable difference

Our change management and adoption strategy helps people across the organization to work together in a more integrated, collaborative and efficient way. By focusing on people’s behaviors and using everyday common language and visual imagery, we make sure that our messaging is clear and explains the benefits.

But reaching out and touching the hearts and minds of 710,000 people is challenging. We knew we needed to target our approach to appeal to the different user needs and motivations in our organization. We conducted many interviews and formed focus groups to develop six robust digital personas that help us to better understand how our people at Accenture work. This targeted approach means we can offer the right capabilities, tools and resources to help people be productive and effective, whatever their working environment.

We also benefit from a data-driven approach that measures how effective our efforts are and if we are achieving the desired results. In the past, we focused on measuring logins or usage data, but today we look at insightful metrics such as buy-in—what work is being done with the technology and how behaviors or work patterns are changing. Ultimately, we measure business outcomes or the results that are achieved through the use of the technology.

By tailoring our adoption efforts we have been able to reach a number of milestones, including:

24K

Integrating and onboarding 24K contracts into Manage myDeal in the first three months.

500K

Migrating our organization to Microsoft Teams, with 500K active users, 107M minutes of video conferences and 582M chat messages each month.

>3.6K

Rolling out Microsoft Yammer across Accenture, resulting in 3,600 Microsoft Yammer Community Forums before full-scale launch.

99%

Supporting our passwordless journey with 99% of employees with at least one registered authentication method and 536K passwordless-capable employees.

Here are some of the keys to a successful change and adoption journey:

  • Follow a crawl > walk > run approach to enable users to learn and adopt over time. Start early, including change management at the beginning of the project and make room for organic growth, where possible. Recognize the continued criticality of change and adoption post-tech deployment.
  • Define key adoption metrics early on and know how you will collect them to track and measure success; think beyond log-ins as a means to understand user behavior.
  • Establish top-level sponsorship as well as bottom-up change networks to drive change at every level.
  • Engage early by knowing your user base and planning for personalized and targeted change initiatives; understand that one size doesn’t fit all.
  • Partner with the business to understand the intended business value. Discover how the technology aligns with the business strategy and drive outcomes.
"Technology makes the boldest ambitions achievable, but people are the north star that support the vision and direction, open the door to innovation and make new value a reality."

— PENELOPE PRETT, CIO Accenture

Blogs

Read more about how we are transforming the workplace through change and the adoption of advanced technology.

How we empower people to use technology for value

Our dedicated Journey & Change Management Center of Excellence (CoE) helps Accenture people know to use our technology to achieve business outcomes.

Why your tech rollout should start with the end in mind

Explores how to entice users to jump in and start using new technology.

Why adoption could be the most important part of IT deployment

Adoption doesn’t end when the new technology is deployed. It starts after the technology is rolled out and needs to continue for some time.

Why giving more support means your people get more from your tech

Happy users evangelize more reluctant users—and bring greater overall stickiness for the technology for the longer term.

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