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Accenture’s secret to innovating at warp speed and scale

Published: February 19th, 2018 By: Cindy Baker


It’s not easy to change the way over 400,000 people across the globe work. But in just two years, Accenture is nearing completion of a project to move its entire workforce into the digital era.

“The workforce has changed,” said Andrew Wilson, chief operating officer, at the professional services company. “We are now 75 per cent millennial. I see in that workforce a completely different set of requirements and demands to deliver a different set of services.”

Accenture’s digital strategy is to move away from the traditional PC-centric way of working to become more mobile and to encourage employees to collaborate from anywhere in the world. A major component of this program is equipping employees with the latest Microsoft tools through the deployment of Microsoft Windows 10.

“Office 365 and Windows 10 are at the heart of a digital worker proposition which is really speeding up our workforce,” said Wilson.

Increasing the warp factor

Both business and IT leadership wanted to seize the benefits of upgrading to Windows 10 as quickly as possible. With employees in 200 cities in 55 countries, “the challenge is that we’re large. We couldn’t let that be a barrier. We had to change the rules,” said Brad Nyers, Accenture’s infrastructure services strategy lead.

The company took a two-track deployment approach. First, they rolled out new PCs with Windows 10. For existing computers, which were running Windows 7, employees could use Microsoft’s In-Place Upgrade tool to perform the upgrade. The tool validates whether an employee’s computer meets the necessary criteria to receive Windows 10. This innovative tool played a key part in supporting the deployment at pace and scale, said Nyers. “The best part is the tool eliminated the need to come into an office and have an IT person perform the upgrade. Employees could make the upgrade wherever and whenever,” he said.

The upgrade tool, combined with Windows as a service, automates operating system upgrades in the future. “We will be able to deliver new features to our people faster,” said Nyers.

To assist in the implementation, Microsoft offers a free Windows 10 Adoption Planning Toolkit which includes a Gartner report with advice on how to ensure a successful deployment.

Changing the workplace with cloud first

Accenture’s focus on quickly moving its data and applications to the cloud was fundamental to its transformation strategy. OneDrive, a file hosting service that’s integrated with Windows 10, was a game changer, said Nyers. It gives employees the ability to access their files in the cloud from anywhere and from any device. “It has changed the way employees work across the company in different time zones, enabling them to collaborate and communicate in real time in a virtualized project environment,” he said. The service has become so heavily used that Accenture has the biggest OneDrive in the world at over 6 petabytes.

“I think the reason why this has been successful to us is that it has seamlessly integrated with a lot of the other tools, particularly Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud-based solutions,” said Nyers. For example, employees can collaborate by using Microsoft Teams, which provides a hub for teamwork with a chat function.

It all adds up to greater flexibility for the digital worker. “If they’re used to Netflix, Wikipedia, YouTube, Skype, Snap, Slack – that informs their lives,” said Wilson. “If they watch content on demand or binge on Netflix or watch half an episode a week, they have all that choice. The enterprise has to feel like that. Our goal is to become a prime example of what digital transformation can bring.”

Get the free Windows 10 Adoption Planning kit here.