Economic volatility: Surviving the sea change

Point of View

Harnessing information management to achieve high performance

Accenture believes that for many organizations navigating the stormy seas of a turbulent economy there is hidden treasure to be salvaged in the form of effective information management. So how can executives steer their information assets to sail toward new opportunities, reduce costs and achieve high performance?

As a recent Accenture survey1 has shown, organizations consider effective information management as a means to outgrow the competition rather than just to stay in business. Information that drives decision making can only be achieved if data is fully integrated and effectively managed. In a climate of economic volatility, an organization’s best assets—its information assets—can be critical to survival. Insight about businesses’ operational levers and the analysis of customer behavior represents the lifeblood of organizations. By evaluating their information assets, filtering them through a maturity gap analysis process and defining how to optimize those capabilities, organizations can build a road map for the future. In short, by defining an information strategy, organizations can charter an approach that not only allows them to execute information transformation, but also provides the means to handle the business demands of today and tomorrow.
1. Source: “Cultivating high performance through information management,” Accenture CIO Survey, 2007.

Strategic planning
Applying an information strategy that addresses the needs of the whole organization, enables organizations to plan strategically for long-term information transformation and high performance. While executives may acknowledge that managing information is a high priority, actions often fall short of aspirations in terms of identifying the quality, critical importance and ownership of their business information. Often, an organization’s inability to address data quality is an obstacle to achieving information asset maturity. Information strategy is important for executives when they are: • Seeking a single view of the truth, vital for fact-based decision making • Deciding which information assets support the organization’s broader strategy • Hoping to manage information more effectively to create new operating models • Using information to enter new markets and promote products to customers more effectively.

Information transformation
Executives should consider the opportunity for information transformation; whether improving access to data, changing a front end, increasing storage or undertaking a content initiative. With today’s plethora of information demands, it is easy to focus on a shortterm fix for managing information without keeping a long-term destination in mind. Effective management of information assets, in line with an information vision that outlines the strategy and defines the destination, can transform business outcomes. In much the same way that the enterprise resource planning (ERP) boom in the past 10 to 15 years has unified transactional systems and processes, so too can information management capabilities be revitalized by a strategic and integrated approach. Indeed, having a consolidated view of what tools and technologies need to be used and the required processes and priorities, primes an organization for the differentiated capabilities that separate the high performance businesses from the rest.


Run through the following checklist to find out if your organization is ripe for information transformation. • Does your organization struggle to manage multiple business intelligence vendors? • Are there uncertainties around your core data assets? • Are your metrics consistent across the leadership team? • Do you need to frequently initiate projects to cleanse and improve data quality? • Are your document and content management goals aligned? • Do you have a clear approach to data governance?

Unless organizations have reached a pioneering maturity level, they are unlikely to have a sufficiently educated workforce with the talent and experience required to use information assets for strategic advantage. However, having reached the pioneering maturity level, the data and content available to organizations will be sufficiently mature and insightful to drive both growth and high performance. Accenture believes that by defining an information strategy road map, and planning for information transformation, organizations can achieve their desired information maturity level.

Accenture’s industrialized approach combines a deep understanding of industry dynamics and business processes with reliable, high-quality, lower-cost solutions tailored to client’s needs. Accenture helps organizations be nimble, by applying collaborative, flexible and dynamic solutions. For example, the Accenture Information Resource Planning Model helps to create a consistent framework for understanding and delivering the components of information management. Furthermore, Accenture has helped clients across many industry sectors and we continue to drive innovative information management solutions. Examples of areas in the resources sector include: • Energy, by creating and fulfilling a demand for data, analytics and portal-enabled solutions. Our core Accenture Information Management Services are complemented by business process outsourcing services for data with serviceoriented architecture services. • Utilities, where organizations are leveraging information management to define the smart technologies of the future; for example, advanced metering infrastructure technologies, commonly referred to as smart metering or smart grid initiatives. • Chemicals and natural resources, by helping organizations use information management to define innovative pricing techniques, achieve synergy savings following mergers and acquisitions and understand their customer base and market share potential.

Industrialization, specialization, innovation
Accenture Information Management Services is a dedicated global, crossindustry organization providing data management, integration and analysis. We offer new ideas to help clients better manage their business, interact with customers and make strategic, financial and operational decisions. Accenture’s skilled professionals employ:

Monitoring maturity
How can information transformation be achieved? Accenture believes organizations must understand where they are today in terms of their information maturity level.

Foundation level
Doing the basics and struggling to meet business, customer and compliance needs.

Business intelligence and analytics capabilities
To help clients transform data into timely, valuable knowledge by deploying effective analytics solutions that enable smart decision making that in turn reduces costs, accelerates product innovation, optimizes supply chains and pinpoints the true drivers of positive financial performance.

Competitive level
Having a “single view of the truth” but needing to create more value from information assets.

Pioneering level
Agile, with self-service information analytics available to the business but the desire to do more. Organizations that wish to move from foundation to competitive levels need to apply a layer of industrialization. Foundation level organizations need to examine how they provide services around their information assets to become competitive. To achieve a pioneering maturity level, organizations need to have mature information services and repositories. Organizations with a pioneering level of information management are able to provide new and unique ways to use information assets to drive business growth and, in some cases, create new business models.

Data management and architecture
To help clients manage data across its entire life cycle so that it is accurate, reliable, secure and consistent throughout the enterprise to significantly reduce the cost of ownership.

Achieving high performance
Doing nothing during periods of economic volatility is not an option for organizations that wish to grow their businesses and cut costs. But despite the turbulent winds of change, by diving deep into their own operations and applying effective information management, organizations can expect to reach the safe harbor of high performance.

Portals and content management
To help clients bring users the information and applications they need to allow their organizations to manage data successfully in all its forms and formats.


About Accenture Information Management Services
Accenture Information Management Services is a global cross-industry organization focused on bringing clients solutions to better manage their business, interact with customers and make strategic, financial and operational decisions. Working across Accenture’s service lines and industry groups, this network of 16,000 professionals specializes in information management services including business intelligence and analytics, portals and content management and data management and architecture. For more information about Accenture Information Management Services, visit informationmanagement.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 186,000 people serving clients in over 120 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$23.39 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2008. Its home page is

Copyright © 2009 Accenture All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and High Performance Delivered are trademarks of Accenture.

For more information contact: Greg B. Todd, executive director and global lead for Accenture Information Management Services Or visit management

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