Accenture's Own ERP Production Support Model


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Accenture's Own ERP Production Support Model

  1. 1. Planning for and sustaining high performance Accenture’s Own ERP Production Support Model
  2. 2. Over the past decade, most large corporations have turned to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions to enable a seamless flow of information and transactions across diverse business functions, business units and geographic boundaries. These companies have transitioned to common ERP solutions with the intention of maximizing efficiency, improving internal controls, facilitating more accurate business planning and generating greater value from their technology investments. This effort has produced clear winners post-implementation management global instance on a uniform, cross- and losers—some companies get and maintenance. Instead, these functional platform. This is unique, considerably more value from their companies find themselves scrambling given that Accenture research ERP implementations than others. to create or update the support confirms that only one-third of high structures-while concurrently performing companies have A 2006 Accenture research effort stabilizing the solution-immediately consolidated its enterprise system into entitled "New Growth from Enterprise after the implementation. As a result, a single global instance. More Systems" found that while the productivity declines that are to important and even more unique is organizations have made progress in be expected immediately after the fact that the Accenture program realizing value from their enterprise implementation are exacerbated and incorporated-from its very inception-a systems, most still have significant can last months or even years. The rigorous production support model to opportunities to maximize the value longer the stabilization period, the ensure its immediate and long-term from their investments. For Accenture, longer a company has to wait to success. This innovative production creating and managing a production generate results. support model allowed Accenture to support environment was a key take full advantage of its single- contributing factor to realizing Over a 21-month period, Accenture instance, multi-function ERP solution benefits from their enterprise system. introduced a comprehensive ERP from day one. It enabled a capability based on the SAP Production Support helps ensure the transformation to a process-driven application suite to deploy new stable and efficient operation of the environment, firmly aligned to solutions for its three core functional ERP system on which an organization business needs. And it provided a areas of Finance, Human Resources depends. Many companies focus critical foundation for long-term high and Sales. This effort not only marks intensely on developing, testing and performance for its key business one of the world's most ambitious deploying their ERP solution, but give functions. ERP implementations in the services much less attention to the need for sector, but it also leverages a single 1
  3. 3. Business challenge productivity by focusing on end-to- run Accenture's business for years. At end processes, across countries, the same time, the program needed to Accenture's ongoing research into the throughout the enterprise. The create an environment that would characteristics of high-performance company also believed it could enable internal organizations to work businesses reveals that top companies benefit from a single instance of together on a shared, fully integrated regard IT as a source of both integrated business data, which would system. As quickly as possible, operational excellence and provide much greater visibility into Accenture had to get its people back competitive advantage. They look the business and enable the earlier to where they had been with their beyond using IT as a tool for identification of challenges and core proficiencies, but with controlling costs. Rather, they opportunities. Finally, Accenture completely new tools and processes. understand that IT is a strategic asset believed a comprehensive ERP that can drive productivity and From the very beginning, Accenture solution would not only help address generate bottom-line results. In this knew that implementing a multi- statutory compliance risks that vary regard, Accenture itself operates like function ERP system entailed more by country, but also facilitate the a high-performance business. than simply changing the company's integration of new business areas and technology platform. The company To generate greater value from its acquisitions by providing consistent also needed to introduce sweeping own IT investments and help manage processes and tools across Finance, new user and application support its explosive growth, Accenture made Human Resources and Sales. processes and methodologies to help the strategic decision to migrate to a To achieve these benefits, Accenture employees master the solution quickly single global instance of SAP and first needed to overcome a significant and to maintain the solution for long- establish a global production support challenge. The proposed program term gain. For this reason, Accenture model. By implementing a fully replaced the core Finance, Human set out to build a leading-edge integrated ERP solution-starting with Resources and Sales systems, taking production support environment. the Finance function, followed by away the familiar applications and Human Resources and then Sales, reporting tools that had been used to Accenture felt it could improve 2
  4. 4. What Accenture did Accenture Delivery Methods for SAP. The OSE, "Our expansive approach to team tailored the tasks and deliverables governance is arguably the most To achieve the full benefits of its ERP defined in the methodology (based on pivotal aspect of Accenture's solution, Accenture created a the unique requirements of each production support capability." The production support capability that capability being added to SAP) and governance structure includes business could rapidly build employee incorporated them into the overall leaders from Accenture's IT proficiency and drive collaboration implementation plan for each new Organization, Finance, Human across the diverse business functions capability. As a result, the first report to Resources, Sales, Business Operations that use the ERP solution. Resources be designed coincided with the design of and Geographic Services. As Harding from Accenture's Operations Support the first component of the production explains, "Today, the governance for the Enterprise (OSE) partnership, in support structure. In short, the team structure serves as an essential collaboration with Accenture's tailored and then leveraged a repeatable integrator. It challenges each member consultants and IT Organization, began production support enablement and encourages each support person by examining production support methodology that ensured that the to think beyond their departmental capabilities at a number of Accenture's procedures, tools and people were ready boundaries to understand the effects corporate clients. Based on this to support users as soon as they logged that any proposed changes to the ERP assessment, Accenture set out to onto the system for the first time. might have on other processes." rethink the entire concept-and Rounding out the governance model is effectiveness-of production support. The second component was strong a cross-operations team composed of The result? A powerful new ERP governance. Because the single-instance IT and OSE resources, which work production support paradigm steeped ERP would manage and integrate across three support tiers to track in early planning and comprising three information related to Finance, Human service level agreements, measure primary components. Resources and Sales, the Accenture team production support effectiveness and recognized that a sound governing body monitor benefits. The first component was a robust was needed to balance the three groups' methodology. To ensure that requirements and guide the right The final component was a production support structures were in decisions for the business, even under comprehensive, scalable support place when the new solutions went challenging circumstances. According to structure. In planning the day-to-day live, the team leveraged the Service Todd Harding, Accenture's Director of support capabilities, Accenture aimed Introduction components of the 3
  5. 5. Figure 1: Accenture’s Integrated, ERP Support Model Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Geographical and End User Support Production Support Production Support Organizational Leadership Business Lead/ Local Process/Solution Process and Functional Master data Teams Super Functional Teams Business Operations maintenance Users Support Expertise Process Business Data Business Data Learning and Owners Architecture Expertise knowledge management User Security User Security User Production and Compliance communications Support IT Teams Help Desk Global Application Product and Technical Application (Tier 2 &3) Technical Product Solution Operations management Support Management Expertise End User Support (Tier 1) Technical Data Technical Data Basis (developers) Architecture Expertise and technical End Users architecture Production, data and network services Integrated Cross Operations and Governance Business Prioritization, service management (SLAs), metrics and measures, monitoring benefit realization and IT Teams to create as comprehensive a support queries from Tier 1, maintain user level, OSE's Learning & Knowledge structure as possible. The goal was to security access and business data Management team manages the SAP establish a single group to control models, design and test fixes to the Business Procedures website, which master data and user security access solution in production, and identify, lets end users help themselves. and to deliver comprehensive prioritize and design enhancements. Further, this group creates and procedural process and technical These fixes and enhancements entail updates job aids, conducts training support via a single global network not only updates to the system itself, and distributes communications to and a common toolset. To achieve this but also to the process and users to ensure that they are kept objective, a three-tiered support model procedures Accenture uses internally current with issues and changes to was created in which both IT and to manage the business. Pivotal to the solution. business representatives play crucial the structure at this level is the roles (see Figure 1). central team that governs and Many companies take years to integrates the core master and stabilize their ERP implementations. • Tier 1 support is delivered by a reference data used by each of the network of actual end users who are Accenture's early and ongoing focus business functions. The Business on production support-as well as its trained as Super/Lead Users to Data Architecture team ensures that provide their peers authoritative commitment to establishing robust that common data definitions and governance capabilities, methodologies answers about SAP-enabled synchronized data values are used by processes and by the global Help and support structures-allowed the each capability. company to quickly generate value Desk organization, which provides answers to technical questions day • Tier 3 support is also provided from its solutions in the areas of or night. through collaboration between the IT Finance and Human Resources while Organization and business teams. In also adding new capabilities. Within • Within the Tier 2 support level, addition to the developers and just 12 months after incorporating the subject matter experts from technologists that keep the Human Resources functionality, Accenture's business teams (Finance, infrastructure, solution and network Accenture's SAP production support Human Resources, Sales and OSE) well tuned, Tier 3 support includes a capability was extended to include are integrated as full-time robust change management team Sales-Opportunity Management participants in the support that keeps user proficiency equally activities. organization. These resources work well tuned. Within the Tier 3 support with the IT team to answer escalated 4
  6. 6. Figure 2: User Growth vs Support Team Growth 12,000 (270%) 10,000 Frequent Users* 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 (34%) 300 All Support Teams (46%) 200 IT Support Teams (14%) 100 Business Support Teams 0 2004 2005 2006 SAP for Finance + SAP for Fin & HR + Extend SAP to Other Businesses and Opportunity Management *Frequent users of SAP routinely access the system to perform their ongoing job responsibilities "The need for process and data collaborative partnership that we have • Reduced internal costs by integration with Finance and HR was forged with Finance, HR and Sales, rationalizing the number of support the primary business driver behind the and embedding them into our teams, structures and tools, and by decision to move Accenture's sales production support model at all levels, leveraging common structures and systems to SAP," explains Mark Hawn, has been instrumental to the internal toolsets across the functions using Managing Director, Sales Effectiveness. process improvements that we have SAP. For example, Accenture has "The implementation of SAP Sales- been able to drive for Accenture." added a number of new capabilities Opportunity Management extended By tapping IT and business resources since the first SAP release for the reach of Accenture's SAP program from across the organization, Finance in 2004. Consequently, the beyond the back office, and out to the Accenture developed a leading-edge number of frequent users of the people who serve our clients. As the production support capability that application has grown by 270 third business capability to be added enabled the company to quickly percent. Despite this increase in to Accenture's ERP solution we were maximize returns on its ERP complexity and number of users, the able to capitalize on the production investment. Specifically, the size of the production support teams support model already in place and production support model has: has grown by only 34 percent. (See immediately reap the benefits of Figure 2) • Reduced the post-implementation integration that the model enables." • Enabled the company to prioritize stabilization period, which translates into more rapid benefits realization. and deliver enhancements, which High performance delivered Whereas it took four months to optimize benefits for and across "From the perspective of our IT stabilize the initial SAP Finance multiple functions. Each successive Organization, a critical success factor implementation, more recent release since the initial SAP Finance for the implementation and releases have achieved stabilization implementation has added 50 maintenance of our single global in half the time or less. percent more batch processes. instance of SAP has always been the Despite this increase, the support • Created operational efficiencies by teams have reduced the quarterly- ongoing engagement of our business reducing the slope of the learning close-to-report cycle by nearly 25 stakeholders," explains Dan Kirner, curve for users and minimizing the percent, from 30 days to 23 days. Senior Director-Finance Capability productivity dip that is typically Manager and SAP Program Lead. "The experienced. 5
  7. 7. • Established common, scalable these advantages pale in comparison increase in the total number of support processes that facilitate the to the benefit of having the integrated Accenture users of SAP (from 2,700 quick integration of support for new information necessary to make faster, core Finance users with the original capabilities, users and business better decisions and drive high implementation just 3 years ago), few acquisitions, and which provide a performance in our business additional production support platform for off-shoring and operations." resources have been needed to outsourcing opportunities. Currently, maintain the end-user SAP experience. 60 percent of the support team The production support model also The inherent rigor of the production resources are located offshore. This promotes standardization wherever support model allows flexible, scalable marks an increase of 10 percent possible, which improves the support-even while support costs per since the first SAP implementation. company's business and risk employee decline. management capabilities, while Several important characteristics set reducing costs. "We focus on quality Given the success of Accenture's the Accenture production support at the source, which allows improved production support model, the model apart and form a solid platform visibility of key information across the company plans to extend the for growth and high performance. For enterprise," points out Grant Ireland, capability to additional applications, example, the model blurs the Accenture's Assistant Controller. "More such as recruiting, forecasting, traditionally narrow functional accurate information enables us to procurement and performance boundaries separating Finance, Human manage risks, and provide business management. In this way, the Resources and Sales, encouraging support and analysis that helps grow production support solution will be collaboration and an enterprise-wide, the top and bottom line faster." helping Accenture optimize even more end-to-end process orientation. of its business capabilities and lay an "Production support has helped us Importantly, the production support even stronger foundation for long- integrate our employee data and model is highly scalable. OSE is term high performance. financial data in a powerful way and, responsible for supporting more than a in the process, eliminate many of the total of 25,000 SAP users in the areas legacy activities needed to reconcile of Finance, Human Resources and data between Human Resources and Sales-from "super users" to business Finance," says Michael Adamson, operators and managers who use the Senior Director-HR Infrastructure. "But system occasionally. Despite the rapid 6
  8. 8. Copyright © 2007 Accenture About Accenture All rights reserved. Accenture is a global management Accenture, its logo, and consulting, technology services and High Performance Delivered outsourcing company. Committed to are trademarks of Accenture. delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 158,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$16.65 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2006. Its home page is