Mark Bernardini | Accenture’s $900 million bet on training


Accenture is evaluating its senior executives based on innovation and is spending more than $900 million a year on training, as the global IT giant looks at growing the amount of business it gets from newer technologies.

Digital already contributes over 50% of Accenture’s revenue and it has trained about 70% of its technology workforce to be able to deliver those technologies, a far higher proportion than its Indian rivals.

“For the past 18 months, we have been focusing on measuring innovation as a metric. We measure the end result for a client because it is all about tangible outcomes. Then with the training that we provide and the acquisitions we make, create a combination that keeps us ahead,“ Mohan Sekhar, senior managing director, Technology -Delivery Centers for Technology in India, Accenture, told ET.

Accenture employees, about 1,40,000 of whom are in India, are each assigned 80 hours of classroom training a year, in addition to online courses. Managing direc tors can spend up to a week in training sessions, Sekhar added. The company will spend over $1 billion in acquisitions this year.

The IT company has been running innovation competitions for its employees for the past three years, but has now also added a competition in which clients and employees pitch their innovations together -a client-centric co-innovation challenge. The company has received 384 co-innovation submissions.

Innovation has become the top buzzword for IT executives over the past three years. Infosys touts its zero-distance programme -which aims to innovate in each of the company’s projects. Accenture says it has conducted 250 co-innovation workshops in the first half of FY17 and could end the year with over 400 workshops. The co-innovation not only gives the customers a better outcome but also boosts Accenture’s revenue.

“In some cases, the innovation workshops result in a change request, which is an add-on to the contract. In other cases, they are part of the ongoing innovation that Accenture offers its clients,“ Raghavan Iyer, innovation lead -Accenture Delivery Centers for Technology in India, said.

The company has also focused its innovation challenge on India-specific problems. The latest challenge asked for innovations that would tie-into the Digital India programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“One of the ideas being presented is for a mobile application that will help users pinpoint the nearest clean toilet. If you think about the uses, it is not restricted just to India. The application could have uses in other countries as well,“ Sekhar said.

He added that the reason for the innovation contests, which received 13,700 submissions, was to make innovation a part of every employee’s life. In FY17, the company tripled the number of people thinking about innovation to 40,000.

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