BENGALURU: Accenture’s group chief executive for operations Mike Salvino said the profile of people that his $6-billion division was hiring had changed drastically, as the business moves towards delivering outcomes for customers, rather than simply processing transactions.
“We used to have a lot of basic accounting folk, BComs etc, but now we have a lot more PhDs, MBA degree holders, engineers, doctors, and nurses,” he told TOI in an exclusive interaction.
The traditional transaction processing work in outsourced businesses is fast getting automated and Salvino’s business is now focused on delivering outcomes — either increase in revenue or decrease in cost — for customers through analytics and domain expertise. Customers pay depending on the extent of the outcomes delivered.
The move away from the repetitive, and therefore dull and boring area of transaction processing, has also had a deep impact on attrition levels. “We have changed how we think about talent. We are offering employees careers to go from processers to doing analytics, to becoming business advisors, and that has reduced attrition to half of what it used to be some years ago. And when people stay longer, it is amazing to see how they have the capacity to contribute to business outcomes,” said Manish Sharma, senior MD of global BPO delivery at Accenture.
Accenture operations — which integrates the traditional business process services with infrastructure and cloud services — accounts for $6 billion of the company’s overall revenue of $31 billion. Salvino said the division’s revenue was growing at double digits annually. The division has 84,000 of Accenture’s employee strength of 3.4 lakh. Much of this business is delivered through the India centres, and the tasteful design and large open spaces in its newest facility in Bengaluru reflect the move up the value chain.
This division of Accenture began years ago with the focus on outsourcing of business processes. Machine-based learning technologies have allowed many of these processes to be automated. Simultaneously, the vast amounts of data collected over the years, and the emergence of affordable big data analytics technologies and capabilities have allowed the company to provide predictive and prescriptive analytics to customers, on top of transaction services. Now, with the addition of domain experts to the analytics services, Accenture is able to create innovative solutions for customers that help the company develop a business model where it charges customers, not for the manhours it puts on a job, but based on the revenue it has helped increase or the cost it has helped bring down.
“We believe we have helped move the industry from revenues being tied to FTEs (full-time equivalent or the workload of an employed person), to the revenue being what clients pay us for the results,” Salvino said.
Among the innovative solutions that the India centre has been involved in developing is an app store, with apps for a range of enterprise issues that can be easily deployed. There are apps for pricing optimization, for customer profiling, for demand forecasting. “We can build an app for any problem that clients face repeatedly,” Sharma said.
For a global education testing company that prints its question papers in New York and sends them all around the world, Accenture apps have been used to more accurately predict the number of test registrations that were likely in different centres. “We forecast registrations 3-4 months in advance and that has brought down emergency shipments (by air) of test papers by 90%. That’s a significant drop in cost for the client,” Sharma said.