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Accenture: IT transformation

Consolidating, centralizing and standardizing IT operations to work anytime, anywhere.


Accenture's internal IT organization delivers high performance IT capabilities that enables our group of technology, business process and outsourcing professionals to work anytime, anywhere.

As impressive as this mastery is, it was only achieved through years of hard work and transformational change.

Accenture transformed IT by keeping its operational budget low and its investment budget high.

This was achieved by consolidating, centralizing and standardizing IT operations, instituting a strong IT governance model, aligning the IT operating model with Accenture’s go-to-market strategy, running IT as a business and adopting an aggressive approach to outsourcing and performance measurement.

The journey to high performance improved the IT tools and service levels for Accenture's rapidly growing employee base. Moreover, reducing technology costs and investing in technology innovations closely aligned Accenture's technology decisions with our business strategy.

Ten years later, the results are impressive: increased efficiencies, stunning cost reductions and a 300 percent return on Accenture’s transformational IT initiative.


In the late 1990s, Accenture inherited widely distributed legacy systems from our then-parent company. These systems were ill-suited to the global enterprise that Accenture intended to become.

The company was expanding rapidly, entering new markets and enhancing our global delivery capabilities. New joint ventures and affiliate companies needed support from common systems.

Accenture's business model had evolved to include business consulting, technology services and outsourcing, each of which had varying IT requirements.

Mobility was becoming increasingly important as employees worked flexibly from office, home or client premises.

With so many employees always on the move, Accenture needed the latest technology solutions and a robust messaging and collaboration platform.

With so many employees always on the move, Accenture needed the latest technology solutions and a robust messaging and collaboration platform.


For starters, we moved overall IT strategy and management to our CIO Organization.

All key decisions are now confirmed by an IT steering committee. Our leaders are intimately involved in all key decisions, ensuring that IT is always aligned with business strategy.

By running IT like a business, our CIO Organization defined a managed-services model—providing infrastructure and business application products and services with guarantees and prices linked to the marketplace.

The CIO Organization empowered users to “serve themselves” via direct access to IT products and services, boosting productivity and increasing user satisfaction. For example, if employees need to set up a team website, they can do so at the touch of a button.

The CIO Organization consolidated and centralized IT operations, reducing maintenance and costs by migrating company-wide messaging and collaboration tools to a single Microsoft platform.

At the height of the rollout, up to 1,000 email users were transferred a day in one of the largest and fastest such migrations ever completed. We installed capability for employees on the go to manage email on mobile devices.

We also launched a centralized knowledge management repository based on Microsoft’s SharePoint Server to replace a legacy system.

And in yet another step, we implemented an SAP-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to better integrate core functions, such as Finance and Human Resources, and reduce our technology costs.


We’ve enjoyed dramatic growth since 2001, as our employee ranks increased by 306 percent and revenue increased by 162 percent.

Even as we expanded, our IT costs fell substantially as measured by several key metrics:

  • IT costs as a percentage of net revenue fell 65 percent.

  • Spending per person fell 75 percent.

  • Global applications fell from 600 to 275.

  • Local applications dropped from 1,500 to 251.

Best of all, these efficiencies came without hurting user satisfaction. In fact, sponsor satisfaction with IT services improved more than 36 percent during this period.

In the decade through 2010, we invested approximately $1 billion in our transformational initiative.

Over the same period, we estimated we saved $3.5 billion in IT costs, netting are in excess of 300 percent on our transformation program.

These results illustrate the high performance potential available to other enterprises considering large-scale transformation of their IT infrastructure.

Today, our applications are on average less than five years old. New systems have improved our ability to respond more quickly and efficiently to market changes and client requests.

A unique scorecard allows us to better monitor information and better align IT with the business goals to deliver value.

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