Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Accenture - Transformation to Success

-Problem/Issue Statement

            The issue that Accenture faced in the case study is foreshadowed in the title, “Strategic IT transformation at Accenture”. Accenture, which was an entity of Arthur Anderson, decided to split from its parent company and become its own business. The root of the problem began from the moment they decided that it was crucial for them to restructure the current IT organization because it inherited software and hardware configuration, which would not be able to meet the needs of its clients. These “legacy” systems that Arthur Anderson operated under would not be sufficient for a company that prided itself on advising clients on advanced technologies and best practices in IT implementation. The obsolete platforms that Anderson used were very limited to certain aspects of financial information, database access, and remote networking. In the consulting world, consultants and support personnel need to have a kind of “anytime, anywhere” software platform. Your typical consultant is our of the office more so than he is in so wireless connectivity at a client site or airport was a fundamental need. Accenture was faced was some challenging choices in the restructure of their IT organization. An opportunity not often available to organizations of this magnitude, presented itself for Accenture to start from scratch and build an IT infrastructure from scratch. The question they had to ask was, which was the correct path?

-List of Plausible Alternative Courses of Action
-Evaluation of Alternatives

            There were two methods of approach that were presented to the IT steering committee that would need to be debated. The best-of-breed strategy, which was expensive, was to just select the best possible application and software available in the market for each specific need they had. It had several pitfalls to it, which made it seem unattractive:

-       Too many applications to manage
-       Wide variety of vendors
-       Poor bargaining power
-       Not in sync as a whole application

The other method was to adopt a one-platform approach, which meant to find one vendor that would provide all the necessary applications required even though they would not be top of the line. This was attractive in more ways then one.

-       Economies of scale
-       Great bargaining power due to high leverage
-       Seamless flow information from similar applications
-       New technology deployment cost efficiently.

The one downfall that was dangerous is with a one-vendor approach, Accenture could put itself at risk by being vulnerable to the failure of the company.

            Accenture has over 75,000 employees and operates on 600 global and 1,500 local applications on multiple platforms currently. This generated way too much complexity so simplifying their infrastructure would be a benefit they would look for. With this in mind Accenture chose the singe-vendor approach, which as a result minimized the total, cost of the IT dept. and simplified its strategy. To help combat the risk of a single vendor failure, they chose Microsoft as their partner to supply all their needs. For the financial sector, they opted with SAP. Single platform software that they adopted helped them achieve important cost reductions and happier customer satisfaction. The implementation of their new strategy was a success and was logical from beginning to end so I would not have a recommendation which would deviate from the one chosen because I believe in any organization, the key to a strategy is to reduce costs while increasing customer satisfaction. That is exactly what they managed to accomplish

Presentation of the Accenture case seems more of an analysis style approach rather then a recommendation. I would look at the options and try to assess both sides showing how it would impact the company, financially and structurally. 

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