Accenture’s Irish Shared Services organisation is located in the heart of Dublin’s growing technology hub in the historic docklands at Grand Canal Plaza. Originally established over 15 years ago as a greenfield site providing centralised finance and IT transaction processing, the Dublin operation has evolved year on year, steering the dramatic redesign of internal global business processes, leveraging the latest automation technologies, and leading transformational change to run Accenture as a high performance business.
The centre initially focused on finance, IT and procurement services for Europe. Over the past 15 years, it has matured significantly in terms of reach, depth and complexity and now encompasses functions including Intellectual Asset Management and Sales Support. Today, the centre is responsible for driving global standard methodologies, tools and architectures and leading operational process efficiencies.
The evolution of Accenture’s own internal organisation is an example of how the shared services model can yield a wealth of operational improvements, enable economies of scale, maximise return on investments in technology and skills, and drive both standardisation and agility in responding to changing economic conditions. A key priority in the initial days of the centre was to eliminate the significant variances in processes driven by the legacy, often country-specific systems in countries where Accenture operates. Early wins were achieved by driving a standard systems architecture and defining consistent processes and policies. Today’s integrated business services model nourishes growth, bringing analytical insights to solve specific challenges, and drives economic value through revenue and margin enhancement.
The use of analytics is driving a new wave of insights, business changes and improvements. Partnering with finance process owners, the Dublin centre drove the application of predictive analytics to improve the effectiveness of our claims handling process.
Hugh McCallum, Director of Operations in Dublin, tells us: “The project involved developing a model that examined over 40 lead variables associated with the claim, including employee-related data, business data, historical non-compliance data and claims data. The beauty of the predictive analytics model is that it continues to learn. As employee behaviours and policies change, the model can be refreshed to identify new predictors and archive ones that are no longer significant, ensuring we continue to derive benefit over time.”
Overall, the project led to policy changes, process optimisation and far greater targeted employee education campaigns. It is this improved effectiveness for Accenture’s employees which allows the entire company to boost productivity and enhance the ease of doing business.
Accenture’s Shared Services operation in Ireland boasts a flexible and agile operating model, with strong talent availability, experienced leadership and a stellar track record of delivery in complex capabilities. Hugh McCallum notes: “Ireland has the ability to attract strong talent and in our Dublin centre. Two-thirds of our people have a second language. This international workforce enhances the culture we have as a high performance organisation. Rooted to all of this is the deep end-to-end knowledge and ownership of business processes, rigorous standardisation, an ongoing improvement mind-set and a sustained focus on innovation.”
The Dublin centre not only demonstrates its value within Accenture, but is also a showcase operation where clients can see first-hand the realities of designing, implementing and running a shared services organisation, from start-up, through stabilisation, and into next-generation leadership. The mind-set of what can be done in shared services is frequently outdated. The next generation of shared services organisations can go beyond transaction processing to take a key role in driving global business transformation, working across business functions to drive strategic cross-enterprise collaboration and change.
Hugh McCallum can be contacted as follows
Tel: +353 (0)1 407 6000