One of my recent LinkedIn posts talked about how Accenture was empowering people to use technology for value. It set the scene for a number of topics I’ve covered around our change and adoption strategy and explored what a difference it makes to put people first when you’re striving for business change.

Smiling man

But just as technology doesn’t stand still, our need for change and adoption has accelerated. You’ll know in your own business that sometimes a solution you thought would be a big hit fails and the technology you thought might be useful for only a few people really takes off. So, let’s get practical for a moment. What’s the most effective way to get the best outcome for the largest number of people when you’re investing in technology solutions? For us, it’s been a dedicated—and now award-winning—Journey and Change Management Center of Excellence.

I can guess you might be thinking: “But surely the technology speaks for itself?”—and, unfortunately, that’s generally not the case. We found out the hard way ourselves. Before we set up the center of excellence, we had limited, siloed change and adoption efforts which were largely driven by individual technology and project leads. It meant there was lower adoption and a less than ideal user experience.

What’s more, without a formal organization structure and centralized oversight, career model and skill development opportunities for change practitioners in Global IT were unclear. It’s no surprise that this piecemeal approach, based on tactical deployment, meant we sometimes failed to fully realize technology investments since people didn’t understand how to work differently to drive more value.

By establishing a formal center of excellence we could not only bring the latest thinking, innovations and experience to our technology projects, but also build a community that was a home for change talent. With the focus of a specific center we could also provide governance, standardization, innovative tools and manage the financial impact of change work. And, of course, we could involve our change experts in nurturing changemakers.

Next-level change

We took our IT change and adoption approach to the next level by securing the backing of our leadership, identifying our vision and establishing a three-year plan to grow the center. It was important to define a clear operating model to account for the different types of change work we do and the various customers we serve.

Also, we defined formal job families and career paths for our change practitioners and created a structured onboarding process that integrates new joiners quickly and helps them feel part of the community. And we teamed with the Accenture Talent & Organization people to align with the services they deliver to our clients—so we can all benefit from lessons learned.

Here’s some of the important actions you should take if you’re thinking of setting up your own center of excellence:

  • Educate IT leaders ongoing about people change management and adoption and value it brings.
  • Reinforce clarity around the center’s products and services, including work that change practitioners do not do.
  • Collaborate with business partners to help define clearly how the technology aligns with the business strategy to drive outcomes.
  • Structure the center to provide targeted services and points of contact by area.

Our center now has more than 250 change practitioners and it’s running more than 75 change and adoption projects or programs. And we’ve had some consistently high satisfaction rates from our regular surveys among team members—100% of IT leaders using the center’s services not only agree that they would highly recommend the Journey and Change Management Center of Excellence, but also that it is a critical part of the success of their area.

We’ve seen recognition for our change and adoption work in the market, too. For instance, our digital worker hub that drives tech take up and adoption won the coveted Platinum award for its website design in the 2022 Hermes Creative Awards competition in April 2022.

Take a look at our change and adoption case study for more. With the backing of our change leaders who serve as dedicated, strategic partners, the center helps Accenture people to adapt their behaviors, work in new ways and make full use of the innovative technologies we invest in—and, more than this, to get the most out of them.

Sarah Dugan

Managing Director – Global IT, Journey & Change Management

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