Accenture Plc is a multinational Consulting major dealing in Management Consulting, Information Technology Consulting and Outsourcing Services. Accenture is headquartered at Dublin, Ireland. It is also the world’s largest company in consulting domain. Also, in terms of the total number of Employees, it is one of the world’s top recruiters in consulting domain. Accenture employs almost 300000 employees. Accenture was initially formed as a technology and audit consulting arm of Arthur Anderson and then later split up to form Accenture worldwide.
Being an IT company majorly and dealing in consulting domain, Accenture in recent years has put a large emphasis on all the Quality measures and standards to follow, which are generally essential for an IT services organization. Accenture’s tagline of “High Performance, Delivered” commits their emphasis on Quality output delivered by them for their clients and satisfying them always.
Accenture has also emerged out to be the choice of destination by all kinds of employees in IT sector and has been one of the best companies to work for in consulting domain (Paik, 2005).
Accenture adheres to various Quality Management Standards like CMMI, ISO 9001, 140001 and 27001, Lean Six Sigma, ITIL and eSCM-SP etc.
a) Concepts of quality in Accenture
Accenture is an industry leader in defining and using best practices. Accenture has got an industry best practices services delivery gateway known as, The Accenture Delivery Suite (ADS). ADS incorporates proprietary best practices that distinguish them from their competitors, but they are also at the forefront of using proven industry standards and have been early adopters of models such as CMMI®, eSCM-SP, ITIL® v3, and ISO® 9001:2000. Accenture embraces quality initiatives globally, using:
- Capability Maturity Model
- eSourcing Capability Model Service Providers (eSCM-SP)
- ISO Standards
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®)
- Lean Six Sigma®
Accenture also ensures Information Technology Project Management (IPTM) Quality for Project delivery, as per the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) (Duncan, 1996). According to PMBOK, IT Project Quality Management is, “The processes required to ensure that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken. It includes all activities of the overall management function that determine the quality policy, objectives, and responsibility and implements them by means of quality planning, quality assurance, quality control, and quality improvement within the quality system.”
Quality in general is referred as to, Superior or Non-Inferior in comparison, with respect to any service being delivered by any organization. Quality has different notions in different environments in all the organization. Quality is also differently implied in different business scenario. It has several aspects to it, related to companies like Accenture and in general, like, Producing (Coding, Consulting, and Analysing etc.), Checking (Reviewing), Controlling, Management (Overall) and Assurance. Quality is referred in IT organizations to, Corporate overall Quality Standards (in every process and overall company strategy) and Service (or Product delivery) Quality. Similar is the case with Accenture, to meet with various Quality Standards they have reconcile with, various models, as discussed above.
CMMI Model – For Organizational Maturity and Evolution standards
ITIL – For IT Infrastructure Standards
ISO – For Organization, Environmental and Software Quality Standards
Six Sigma Lean Processes – For Organizational processes
As per PMBOK, IT PQM and Quality standards in general also, has following processes,
- Quality Planning
- Determining which quality standards are important and how they will be met.
- Quality Assurance
- Evaluating overall project performance to ensure quality standards are being met.
- Quality Control
- Monitoring the activities and results of the project to ensure that the project complies with the quality standards (Ireland, 2006).
b) What drives Accenture to meet the customer requirements and quality standards as well as how quality is measured in meeting the customer requirements in general?
Accenture’s Vision and Strategy of delivering Quality Standards and Customer Requirements –
Drivers of Quality and customer requirements fulfilment for Hilton comes from –
- Tagline – “High Performance, Delivered”
- “To become world’s leading company, bringing innovations to improve the way the world works and lives.”
- As per their company’s core values,
- Stewardship - Fulfilling our obligation of building a better, stronger and more durable company for future generations, protecting the Accenture brand, meeting our commitments to stakeholders, acting with an owner mentality, developing our people and helping improve communities and the global business environment.
- Best People - Attracting, developing and retaining the best talent for our business, challenging our people, demonstrating a “can-do” attitude and fostering a collaborative and mutually supportive environment.
- Client Value Creation- Enabling clients to become high-performance businesses and creating long-term relationships by being responsive and relevant and by consistently delivering value.
- One Global Network - Leveraging the power of global insight, relationships, collaboration and learning to deliver exceptional service to clients wherever they do business.
- Respect for the Individual - Valuing diversity and unique contributions, fostering a trusting, open and inclusive environment and treating each person in a manner that reflects Accenture’s values.
- Integrity - Being ethically unyielding and honest and inspiring trust by saying what we mean, matching our behaviours to our words and taking responsibility for our actions (Neely, 2002).
Accenture’s Pillar for delivering Quality in all its work and meeting customer requirements always,
Accenture’s Quality Philosophies and principles for delivering Quality service success always –
- Focus on customer service and satisfaction
- Prevention not inspection
- Improve the process to improve the product
- Quality is everyone’s responsibility
- Fact-based management (Atkinson, 1999)
Measuring Accenture’s Quality meeting the Customer Requirements by following ways (Barkley, 1994) –
- As per the following Model,
Quality Metrics –
- Control the defects introduced by the processes required to create the project deliverables
- Can be used to improve software development or maintenance
- Should focus on the effectiveness of identifying and removing defects or bugs
- Focuses on the intrinsic quality of the deliverables and satisfaction of the customer, client, or sponsor with these deliverables
- Attempt to describe the characteristics of the project’s deliverables and final product
- Focus on the control of the project management processes to ensure that the project meets its overall goal as well as its scope, schedule, and budget objectives (Kan, 2002)
a) Application of quality systems and scheme for Accenture and how such systems can lead to customer satisfaction, continuous improvement and add value to the product or service delivery
Accenture’s implemented Quality Management Systems & Models/Schemes, their Continuous Improvement endeavour and adding value to their service delivery –
- Capability Maturity Models –
- Accenture has been an active user of the Capability Maturity Model (CMMI) family of models since the early 1990s. They maintain Capability Maturity Model Integration for Development (CMMI®-DEV) Level 5, the highest level, in all of their Global Delivery Network locations. Approximately 90 percent of delivery centre employees currently work in Level 5 centres, which include the Accenture Delivery Centres in India, China, Philippines, Spain, and Brazil.
- Accenture is also one of the few organizations in the world to have achieved People Capability Maturity Model (People CMM®) Level 5. They are also pursuing People CMM® across Global Delivery Network and have been independently appraised at Level 5 in centres in India, China, and the Philippines.
- Accenture has an active role assisting the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in building and improving the CMM's. Accenture was one of the first Transition Partners with SEI, has provided input into CMM development and continues to be a licensed SEI Partner (Green, 2008).
- eSourcing Capability Model –
- Accenture is a sponsor for the eSourcing Capability Model for Service Providers (eSCM-SP) and the eSourcing Capability Model for Client Organizations (eSCM-CL). Both are quality models developed by Carnegie Mellon University to help reduce the risk of failures and improve quality and predictability in IT-enabled sourcing. Accenture has been an early adopter of the eSCM-SP, with the Accenture Delivery Centre in Bangalore being the first BPO organization in the world to achieve eSCM-SP certification.
- Accenture played an active role in eSCM, with Accenture co-authoring eSCM-SP v2 with Carnegie Mellon.
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library –
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) is an industry standard that focuses on best practices in IT service management. Accenture has implemented ITIL globally for its entire Infrastructure Outsourcing practice.
- Accenture has an active role in assisting the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in building and improving ITIL®. Accenture is a co-author with Carnegie Mellon University for one of the five ITIL® v3 books: Service Strategies. This book forms the core for ITIL® v3 and demonstrates Accenture's deep knowledge of service management and business strategy.
- ISO Standards –
- Accenture is an active user of ISO® standards, including ISO® 9001, ISO® 14001, and ISO® 27001.
- ISO 9001® specifies requirements for a quality management system. Accenture has been ISO® 9001 certified since 1991. Accenture currently has ISO 9001 certification covering services delivered in Europe, Africa, and Japan.
- ISO® 14001 is an environment standard that is based on having good environment management practices, such as recycling and power management. Accenture has multiple global initiatives geared towards an effort to “green” their business activities and operations, and has used ISO® 14001 to assist with those initiatives. Accenture has achieved global ISO® 14001 certification.
- ISO® 27001, which specifies requirements applicable to information security management and the related ISO® 27002, are subscribed to by Accenture as part of its security management activities globally. Certification is achieved where appropriate. Accenture has certified Delivery Centres in India, China, the Philippines, Warwick (UK), Prague (Czech Republic), Hof and Kornberg (Germany), Bucharest (Romania), and Warsaw (Poland).
- Accenture is pursuing ISO® 20000 (previously known as BS15000) certification, which is closely aligned to ITIL®. Accenture has achieved ISO® 20000 certification in delivery centres in India, Philippines, and Europe.
- Lean Six Sigma® -
- Lean Six Sigma® incorporates approaches and techniques from Lean Manufacturing and from Six Sigma® in order to reduce waste, improve speed, and increase quality. While formal certification or assessment is not applicable, Accenture uses Lean Six Sigma® techniques to support process improvement in Global Delivery Network and also to provide consulting to their clients. Accenture currently has hundreds of Lean Six Sigma® experts globally.
b) Operating system of Accenture and comparison of various quality systems
Input-Output Basically Described –
- Large tables of data that describe the interconnectedness of the industries, households, and government entities in an area… the output of an industry will appear as the input of other industries.
- This helps us to track the flow of money from one entity to the next.
- IO models describe both the transactions between the region and the rest of the world among activities within the region.
- These models produce a multiplier index that measures the total effect or impact of an increase in demand on employment or income.
- They can be used for predicting and forecasting the impacts of potential future performance of a regional economy & changes in inter-industry transactions (Stimson, 2002).
Practical Uses –
- Descriptive – can reveal knowledge about an area’s economy that would be impossible to get otherwise.
- Forecasting – estimate total impact of certain events or policy changes
- Assessment – evaluate and assess specific goals, scenarios, etc.
IO is used to identify the best approach!!
The international quality standard BS EN ISO 9000 is a widely accepted definition of the basic features of an effective quality-management system. Where, BS refers to British Standards and is awarded by British Standards Institution (BSI), EN refers to European Nations Standards and are awarded by European Foundation for Quality Management and ISO is International Standards awarded by International Standardization Organization.
Quality Systems ISO 9000 Principles –
- Customer Focus
- Involvement of People
- Process Approach
- System Approach to Management
- Continual Improvement
- Factual Approach to Decision Making
- Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships
Organizations and companies often want to get certified to ISO’s management system standards (for example ISO 9001 or ISO 14001) although certification is not a requirement. The best reason for wanting to implement these standards is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of company operations.
A company may decide to seek certification for many reasons, as certification may:
- Be a contractual or regulatory requirement
- Be necessary to meet customer preferences
- Fall within the context of a risk management program, and
- Help motivate staff by setting a clear goal for the development of its management system (Green, 2008).
a) Role of communication and the various communication methods that can be used in developing a quality system, including standards for quality control
A project fraught with communication problems leads to delays, misunderstandings, frustration, workplace conflicts and a mismatch in stakeholder expectations. Hence, employing effective communication methods are necessary to ensure project success.
The PMBOK categorizes methods of communication into –
- Interactive Communication –
- All stakeholders involved in the communication can respond to each other in real-time.
- Some examples of interactive communication include face-to-face meetings, video conferencing, phone calls, and messenger chats.
- These modes enable to view the body language and facial expressions of the communicating stakeholders.
- Push Communication –
- In this type of communication method, information is distributed without any feedback from the recipients.
- For example - Organizations use push communication to notify shareholders through a press release.
- These methods of communication are commonly found in projects and organizations.
- Pull Communication (PMBOK, 2000) –
- It is best for a large audience that needs to access information at their discretion.
- Precedence Diagrams and Decision Tree analysis forms some of its types.
The IT Project Quality Plan - Change Control and Configuration Management
- Change is inevitable throughout the project life cycle
- At some point, changes must be managed
- What changes were made?
- Who made the changes?
- When were the changes made?
- Why were the changes made?
- Methods and Procedures
- Component Identification
- Naming conventions
- Version Control
- Evolutionary changes
- Configuration Building
- Builds & Releases
- Change Control
- Proposed changes are evaluated, approved or rejected, scheduled, and tracked
- Reporting & auditing
- Quality Control Tools (Reich, 2006) -
b) Role of customer satisfaction surveys and complaint resolution process as related to Accenture
Complaint Resolution Management at Accenture for Projects and overall –
- Scope Verification (Related to any kind of Project Quality and Scope) –
- That the project’s scope is well-defined, accurate and complete
- The project’s scope is acceptable to the project stakeholders
- That standards exist so that the project’s scope will be completed correctly
- That the project’s MOV will be achieved if the project scope is completed
- Scope Verification Checklist
- Tools Complaint Resolution at Accenture –
- Request Log Book
- Complaint Form
a) Principles of quality management and the criteria for quality standards, service improvement policies and complaints handling in general
The dimensions that are designed to prompt thinking as to assess current skills, and the importance of these skills to an organization’s development can be explained Accenture’s Self-Assessment Matrix. Thinking about the importance of each of the dimensions that have been defined as they relate to their goals, for each skill area, there may be a number of specific criteria or techniques that are important. Thinking about the criteria that are most care about or need to address, in order to make the self-assessment results as relevant as possible, are the one about realizing the actual standing and the goals to achieve by any organization. Accenture’s central tool for using that is Project Management Institute’s Standards Benchmark. PMI Standards Benchmark is a self-assessment tool that lets organization measure its project and program processes. A survey-based product, PMI Standards Benchmark uses 42 questions for project management and 47 questions for program management, letting organization to quickly see where they are and where they need to improve. The first time they take a survey creates a baseline for future improvement. Each subsequent time they take it reveals if they have improved their project or program management capabilities.
Communication is an essential part of any project management. A successful project manager with many projects under his belt will always be a good communicator. This is due to the inherent nature of project work as compared to process work. Projects are unique one-of-a-kind set of activities. An individual could be trained for a job, placed in it and the expectations would be clear. But project work is always different. That is why good communication is needed. Those working on the project need to understand what are required on this project, when it is required, how it should be done, and what other activities it must integrate with. Without good communication, projects fall into chaos.
Project Communications Management includes the processes that are required to ensure timely and appropriate planning, collection, creation, distribution, storage, retrieval, management, control, monitoring, and the ultimate disposition of project information (Burke, 2013).
Record Keeping –
The vital functions what any Record keeping exercise does for a consulting company to deliver their projects can be ascertained as –
- Verification –
- Focuses on process-related activities to ensure that the products & deliverables meet specified requirements before final testing
- Are we building the product the right way?
- Tools - Technical Reviews, Business Reviews and Management Reviews
- Validation –
- Product-oriented activities that attempt to determine if the system or project deliverables meet the customer or client’s expectations
- Does the system function as intended and have all the capabilities & features defined in the project’s scope and requirements definition? (Guide, 2001)
Explore solution of Unit 22 Developing Counselling Skills
b) Quality systems and processes and how they impact on the overall performance of Accenture
Accenture has a detailed plan for ensuring quality in the overall performance. To validate the effectiveness of their project team, teaming arrangements and to promote quality within deliverables, Accenture employs established, rigorous internal processes across all aspects of the program. Their quality assurance plan integrates methods and tools to mitigate risks, prevent and resolve issues and deliver quality solutions.
Quality and Process Improvement Program (QPI)–
QPI program supports their externally certified CMMI Level 4 compliance and enables continuous improvements in management processes. Accenture’s Government Operating Unit was one of the first organizations of its kind to be externally certified as CMMI Level 4 compliant in 2004. The QPI process enforces the measurement of project performance against key metrics, both those in the quality process as well as internal metrics, through periodic audits of project performance. QPI provides for early detection of quality issues, allowing program management to take timely corrective action and deliver quality solutions. The effectiveness of the QPI process, based on Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI) Level 4 standards, is evidenced by key metrics, including,
- Cost and Scheduling reductions – For every hour of QPI performed, five hours of rework are avoided.
- Project Start-up Time – Using Standard tools and methods save approx. two weeks of preparation time.
- Requirements Revision Time – Reduction in errors during requirements definition reduces rework costs
Client Quality Management Assessment (CQMA) –
The CQMA process is one of their methods of assessing client satisfaction. This process, which occurs at least once every six months, involves a senior Accenture adviser conducting independent assessments of our progress toward their objectives (Yang, 2008).
Accenture is a Global giant in IT and consulting delivery services. Their aim is to be most trusted consulting partner for their clients and be the number one company across all the sectors and domains in consulting. Quality is the prime most important feature of their every endeavour and they have been an early mover in adopting any new framework or standards across the industry for maintaining and endorsing their credibility. Having adopted to all the necessary and required standards available for their industry varying from corporate excellence to Project Quality excellence to environmentally sustainable business to infrastructure quality management proves their intention to adhere to Quality in delivering any and every service to their clients and in doing business.