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Accentures Grand Vision: Corporate

Americas Superstar Maker
He (William Green) will find a way to get his goals done and make you happy1.
Tucci, EMCs chief executive
We want to become part of the fabric of the industries we serve 2.
William Green, CEO, Accenture.

Accenture, one of the worlds prominent management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing firms (Exhibit 1),
has more than 110 offices in about 50 countries. The companys business is structured around five operating groups,
comprising of 18 industry groups (Exhibit 2). For the fiscal year 2004, revenues increased by 13% to $15.11 billion and net
incomerose 39%to $690.8million3 (Exhibit 3). While traditional management consulting was the main business of Accenture,
areas such as systems integration and outsourcing quickly became key growth sectors for the company. The firm successfully
diversified its global operations such that, revenue from outside the US makes up a majority of its sales mix4 . But its broad
geographic and market diversification increased its competition. The new CEO William D Green developed a grand vision
for Accenture and began focusing on it. Green believed that the company had the manpower and financial resources to
make the grand vision a success. But analysts are skeptical about the success of the grand vision in an increasingly
competitive consultancy market.

Evolution of Accenture
Accentures history dates back to 1913, when Northwestern University professor Arthur Andersen founded an accounting
firm called Arthur Andersen & Co. The firms expanding scope of operations led it into accounting and advising clients on
financial reporting processes, forming the basis for a management-consulting arm. In 1947, Leonard Spacek succeeded
Arthur Andersen as head and split off the consulting operations as a separate unit in 1954.
The consulting business grew quickly during the 1970s and 1980s. By 1988 consulting accounted for 40% of Andersens
sales. Problems in profit sharing with auditors and legal hassles of accounting irregularities led to a restructuring in 1989,
which established Andersen Worldwide as the parent of two independent units, Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting
(AC). AC soon began offering a new breed of business integration solutions to clientssolutions that aligned organizations
technologies, processes, and people with their strategies. In 1990ArthurAndersen established its own business consultancy.
Since 2000 the strategy consulting market had shrunk and not witnessed the high growth rates of the late 1990s. Clients
were reluctant to pay large fees for advice that had long term implications and might be difficult to implement. All the pure
strategy companies like McKinsey & Co, Bain, Booz Allen, and others had seen a decline in business and were attempting
to diversify into other competency areas. Strategy consulting was a small but profitable part of ACs consulting business. In

Spencer E. Ante Accentures New High-Wire Act,, November 15th 2004
Bramhall, Joe Company -Fact Sheet

This case study was written by R Muthukumar under the guidance of Srinath Manda, IBSCDC. It is intended to be used as
the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. The case
was compiled from published sources.

2005, IBSCDC.
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Accentures Grand Vision: Corporate Americas Superstar Maker

order to differentiate the company from its competitors, AC started to focus on continual reinvention. The company continued
search those areas where it could help clients differentiate from its competitors.
AC expanded its offerings and capitalized on evolving management trends and technologies to benefit its clients. The
company pioneered systems integration and business integration; led the deployment of enterprise resource planning,
customer relationship management, and electronic services. But the Andersen family feud of sharing profits led to a breakup
of AC from its parent in mid-2001 and was renamed Accenture. The company faced a number of challenges following the
breakup: building a brand from scratch, addressing the lowered demand for consulting services in an ailing economy.
Accenture became a public company in July 2001.
Accenture sold its venture and investment portfolio to CIBC World Markets in August 2002. During 2003, Accenture and
Microsoft co-developed new set of web services-enabled solutions built on Microsoft technologies to support cross-functional
communication business operations for service providers.
Accenture further expanded its portfolio of BPO and ERP to tap higher share of these fast growing markets. In 2003,
Fortune magazine ranked AccentureAmericas third most admired company in the industry, and the company improved
its position to 52nd in Business Weeks ranking of the 100 most valuable global brands.
During fiscal 2003, Accenture invested $391 million to train its employees with requisite skills to compete in a rapidly
changing market. The leadership development programme, which was built on the idea of leaders teaching leaders, was
an enormous success, with more than 1,700 of its partners having participated till 2003. It was also extended to other
executive levels. To build awareness for its new high performance delivered brand positioning in the marketplace, at the
end of 2003, Accenture launched an integrated marketing programme, including a new global advertising campaign
featuring world-champion golfer Tiger Woods.
During fiscal 2003, Accenture experienced a reduction in global demand for commercial project-oriented activities as
customers reduced discretionary spending in response to the continuing uncertainty in global economic and political
environment, and due to the lack of a significant new wave of technology to stimulate spending. Accenture remained
dependant upon IT spending on outsourcing projects in large commercial corporations. Any reduction in IT budgets, delays
or cancellation of projects in future could severely impact Accentures revenue growth.
But Accentures revenues for the year 2003 increased by about 2.1% from 2002 figures to $11.8 billion. The increase
was due to rise in outsourcing and consulting revenues in the communications and high tech division (3%) and government
business (20.2%) divisions. Profit before tax in 2003 was about $1.6 billion, an increase of about $545.3 million or 51% from
During 2004,Accenture entered into alliances with Microsoft,AT&T and iSOFT for improving its IT portfolio for providing
solutions to large and medium enterprises and US government agencies. During that period, Accenture planned to expand
into seven new countries in Africa, namely Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya5 . In June
2004, the US Department of Homeland Security approached Accenture for designing a security programme for tracking the
foreign visitors while entering the US6 . In addition, Accenture won IT outsourcing contracts with Barclays UK, Wrtsil, a
leading global ship power, and power plant provider and Best Buy Co., Inc. Accenture was among the winners of 2004
Global MAKE (Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises) Awards7 (Exhibit 4). In November 2004, Accenture announced the
opening of an office in Guangzhou, expanding its presence in Southern China. Accenture had maintained operations in
China for over 10 years, with offices in Beijing and Shanghai. The new office would leverage Guangzhous high-quality
local workforce to enhance Accentures expertise and capabilities in the region. With additional offices in Taipei and Hong
Kong, Accenture created a large local network in China8 . Accentures clients in the area included the state government,
large local enterprises, regional companies, and multi-national corporations across industries. Accentures worldwide
capital markets clients include three of the five largest exchanges, four of the five largest global custodians, 17 of the top 20
securities firms and 80 of the top 100 asset managers9 .
Accenture to expand in Africa,, March 23rd 2004
Accenture wins $10 billion contract to create virtual US borders,, June 9th 2004
Accenture and McKinsey among Global MAKE awards winners,, December 8th 2004
Accenture Establishes Guangzhou Office to Maximize Opportunities in South China,, November 8th 2004
Accenture and Deutsche Brse to Help Shanghai Stock Exchange Build New Generation Trading System,, November 10th 2004


Accentures Grand Vision: Corporate Americas Superstar Maker

A Grand Vision
In September 2004, William D. Green, who was Accentures chief operating officer Client Services, became CEO of
Accenture. Green developed a new vision called high-performance business. The idea behind the vision was to use
Accentures business and tech know-how to help clients become superstars in their respective industries. Green was
confidant that Accenture could become the must-have adviser for Corporate America. Green said, We want to become part
of the fabric of the industries we serve. How do you become the de facto standard for a set of products or services that an
industry uses to operate? How do you become not optional?10 I am firmly committed to our strategy of helping our clients
become high-performing businesses, as well as delivering results that demonstrate Accentures own high performance11 .
Traditionally, tech consultants helped companies to install computer systems and got paid for that. Green was trying to shift
focus away from using tech for techs sake and instead use it to achieve specific business goals such as cutting costs and
improving customer satisfaction. Accenture guaranteed the success of the goals.
Green needed to make his high-performance initiative pay off. The concept grew out of a research effort that found that
less than 1 among 10 companies outperformed its peers over a 10-year period. Accenture needed to develop a unique
formula for each client. That began with defining the factors necessary for superior performance in a clients industry and
then led to a detailed blueprint on how a particular client could climb up to the top of the industry.
For achieving the grand vision, Accenture started bidding for larger contracts. The company boosted research and
development and increased staff by 20,000 during the fiscal year 2004, to 103,000 employees. It planned to add another
20,000 workers by August 2005.12 The company planned to achieve double-digit growth in business consulting over the
three years from 2004-07. It identified fast growing areas like supply chain, customer transformation, security, IT optimization,
and finance and performance management, in which it could bring innovation to help its clientele perform better.
In October 2004, Accenture launched a new Human Resources (HR) outsourcing solution that could enable mid-sized
organizations to outsource their end-to-end HR services and functions, achieving higher performance levels in HR services
while lowering their costs. Providing predictive pricing, improved service delivery, and access to new technology
including employee and manager self-service at a significant cost savings, the solution could enable customers to avoid
the expensive capital outlays that resulted from implementing highly customized enterprise-resource planning solutions13 .
In addition, Accenture and SAP introduced a software solution designed to help energy companies efficiently manage
their upstream asset portfolios to improve operations. This could allow upstream energy companies to integrate critical
knowledge, data and applications including those for development, production, operations, and maintenance activities.
Accenture and SAP planned to enhance the new solution to include support for additional functions including procurement,
operations planning and accounting14 . As of November 2004, 30% of Accentures contracts included quantitative measures
and that number continued to grow.
In November 2004, Accenture signed an agreement with EMS Pipeline Services (EMS), a pipeline operations and
maintenance service provider, to provide applications management and software development services on an outsourced
basis. Under the agreement, Accenture would provide services for the support, testing and developing of EMS suite of
gas-measurement software products. Accenture and EMS also signed a seven-year global market agreement to jointly
develop and market gas and liquids measurement systems for gas production, transmission, and distribution companies
worldwide15 .
In December 2004, Accenture unveiled a technology toolkit that could make it easier for businesses to deploy an
emerging class of applications based on networks of wireless sensors. The new offering, the Accenture Sensor Telemetry
Rapid Deployment Toolkit, could enable companies to save time it would take to build a new application by an average of
four to six weeks16 .

Accentures New High-Wire Act, op.cit.
Accenture Names William D. Green as Chief Executive Officer,, April 8th 2004
Accentures New High-Wire Act, op.cit.
Accenture Launches HR Outsourcing Solution for Mid-Sized Organizations,, October 12th 2004
Accenture and SAP Launch Software Solution to Help Energy Companies Integrate Upstream Operational and Business Processes, (PR Newswire), November 11th
Accenture Ltd. to Provide Applications Management and Development Services to EMS,, November 15th 2004
Accenture Ltd. Unveils Accenture Sensor Telemetry Rapid Deployment Toolkit; Pickberry Vineyard Using Technology to Monitor and Improve Growing Conditions,,
December 1st 2004


Accentures Grand Vision: Corporate Americas Superstar Maker

The riskiest part of Greens strategy was his determination to win larger, higher-profile deals. Such contracts would
require multimillion-dollar up-front investments and payments could be delayed because of faulty technology, poor
performance, or government red tape, leading to huge losses. Rival Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS) took a $559
million hit on one contract with the US Navy and said that toll could rise with its quarterly earnings announcement on
November 5th 2004. While Accenture hasnt had any serious problems, its too early to tell how the firm would fare.
Accenture is in a honeymoon period,17 said analyst Frances Karamouzis of researcher Gartner Inc. (IT). However,
Industry watchers doubted that such contracts could become major money-losers. Green was well aware of the high wire.
So he appointed former high-tech operating group COO Robert N. Frerichs to a newly created job: Chief Quality & Risk
The IT services market was subject to rapid change, was highly competitive and had a large number of competitors.
Primary competitors were large consulting firms, smaller systems consulting and implementation firms, application software
firms, service groups of computer equipment companies, outsourcing companies, system integration companies and general
management consulting firms. Accenture could face pricing pressure and longer sales cycles due to increased competition.
But Green was confident about his strategy and his consultants. He believed that, by blending outsourcing and other work,
it could provide even more value to its clients.
Some analysts were skeptical about its success and felt that Accenture had to face the maturing outsourcing market with
low cost competition from India and China besides from reputed direct competitors like EDS and IBM (Annexure 1). Low cost
providers like Tata Consultancy Services, InfoSys and Wipro started expanding globally and opened offices in the US and
Europe to compete directly with Accenture, IBM, and EDS. As a result, Accenture already reported pressure on margins
and fewer deals that were attractive enough to cover the risks involved. For EDS, IBM and a lot of other traditional IT
players, outsourcing was either their core business or they had to move into it to protect their existing businesses, be it
hardware, software or IT services. This could increase competition for Accenture from strong local companies as well. IDC
estimated that the worldwide procurement BPO market would increase to $12 billion by 200718 . Green planned to increase
the firms outsourcing business to 50% of the firms total revenues, though consulting represented major share of Accentures
total business (61%).19 Green planned to move up the outsourcing chain and get closer to the core processes of companies
where low-cost providers had no knowledge and experience.20
But a section of analysts commented that an industry downturn or a problematic mega contract between companies
certainly could give an opportunity to Accenture to prove its capability. Clients said Accenture already proved itself as an
invaluable partner in everything from drug development to asset management. And as the firm added staff and invested in
research and development, its momentum was likely to continue. Goldman, Sachs & Co. expected the firm to boost its net
income by 11%, to $1.35 billion in 2005. You have to know the clients business well, and thats what Accenture does better
than anyone, 21 said Goldman analyst Gregory Gould.
Frank Ottink, COO of YEALD22 , felt that Accenture had a good chance of succeeding because of the following reasons:
in the increasing competitive era, companies had started focusing on profitability enhancement and continuous stable
growth. For that they would need some partnership for outsourcing their business processes with competitive advantage.
Accenture had a well-equipped research team that had an in-depth understanding of the clients businesses and implement
the required strategies successfully much faster than its competitors. He believed that Accenture had the right culture to do
this kind of work.23
Green said, We know all of our competitors want to be more like us. We need to be gone when they get there. In order
to be gone, theres this continual reinvention. The company will continue to find those areas where it can help clients
differentiate. To be relevant to clients, were going to have to have deeper insights than weve ever had. Its going to be
tremendously important to our future. We have an opportunity to put distance between us and our competitors by continuing

Accentures New High-Wire Act, op.cit.
Accenture: Procurement BPO on the rise,, April 6th 2004
Subramony, S Accentures new chief plans to focus on outsourcing,, April 10th 2004
Ottink, Frank Can Green deliver high performance for Accenture?,
Accentures New High-Wire Act, op.cit.
It is an investing journal, which provides consulting and survey programs
Can Green deliver high performance for Accenture?, op.cit.


Accentures Grand Vision: Corporate Americas Superstar Maker

to enhance the innovative nature of what we do. Our proposals will include industry leverage and insights that no one has,
and levers that make it happen. And well have to be more aligned with their success than weve ever been. The most
important thing for Accenture is we need to fight every day to be relevant to our clients. We had to read the tea leaves and
change our offerings. To rationalization, cost improvement, simplification.24
Green commented on Accentures strategy related to offshore operations, Whats good for our clients is consistent
service around the globe. Competency is good. The third thing is the cost of providing service. Weve always had a global
delivery network. Having a global delivery network is a differentiator. We continue to enhance it. We dont take jobs and
move them to lower-cost locales.Theres a lot more we want to do in certain areas of business-process outsourcing. Five
years from now, we dont even know what were going to be. The possibilities are endless. 25
In the first quarter of 2005, Accenture posted profits of $196.3 million, while total revenue rose by 14% to $4.07 billion.26
Accenture expected its net income to be $1.3 billion for fiscal 2005. Green said, Pricing is showing some evidence of
improving for both the consulting and outsourcing business, along with a pick-up in demand. Contracts booked for the year
and in the pipeline have increased, with a shift evident towards small to midsize deals. We see the shift in size and the quicker
turnover in contract cycle time as very positive for Accentures top line and margins, particularly as the risks associated with
timing related to recognizing revenues are minimized.27
But several analysts were still skeptical whether Accenture would achieve its grand vision, given its current 13th rank (in
2004) among consulting firms. They felt there is a long way ahead to reach to the top.

A Long, Strange Trip For Accentures CEO,, November 15th 2004
McClure, Ben Accenture: Performance Delivered,, January 10th 2005
Crane, Stephanie Positive Accents for Accenture,, January 14th 2005


Accentures Grand Vision: Corporate Americas Superstar Maker

Exhibit 1
The rankings of the top management and strategy-consulting firms (2004)

2004-05 2003-04
1 McKinsey & Company 8.353 1 New York, NY
2 Boston Consulting Group 7.960 2 Boston, MA
3 Bain & Company 7.717 3 Boston, MA
4 Booz Allen Hamilton 6.670 4 McLean, VA
5 Gartner 6.381 7 Stamford, CT
6 Monitor Group 6.327 5 Cambridge, MA
7 Mercer Management Consulting 6.144 6 New York, NY
8 Deloitte 5.955 11 New York, NY
9 Mercer Oliver Wyman 5.811 9 New York, NY
10 Mercer Human Resource Consulting 5.728 13 New York, NY
11 A.T. Kearney 5.690 8 Chicago, IL
12 IBM BCS 5.673 16 Somers, NY
13 Accenture 5.513 12 New York, NY
14 Towers Perrin 5.468 19 Stamford, CT
15 Roland Berger Strategy Consultants 5.447 10 Munich, Germany
16 The Gallup Organization 5.380 NR Washington, DC
17 Parthenon Group, The 5.327 15 Boston, MA
18 Marakon Associates 5.280 14 New York, NY
19 BearingPoint 5.241 20 McLean, VA
20 L.E.K. Consulting 5.214 17 Boston, MA

Source: Vault 2004 Consulting Survey


Accentures Grand Vision: Corporate Americas Superstar Maker

Exhibit 2
Accentures Operating Groups and Industry Groups

Communications & High Financial Products Resources Government

Tech Services
Industry Groups Industry Groups Industry Groups Industry Groups Industry Groups
Communications Banking Automotive Chemicals Government

Electronics & High Tech Capital Markets Health Services Energy

Media & Entertainment Insurance Industrial Forest

Equipment Products

Pharmaceuticals & Metals &

Medical Products Mining

Retail & Consumer Utilities

Transportation &
Travel Services


Exhibit 3
Accenture: Annual Sales and net Income (2001-2004)

2004 2003 2002 2001

Annual Sales ($ million) 15,113.6 13,397.2 13,105.0 13,061.9
Annual Net Income ($ million) 690.8 498.2 244.9 1,057.4


Exhibit 4
The Winners of the 7th Annual Global MAKE Study Awards 2004 (in alphabetical order):
Accenture Intel McKinsey & Company
BP Microsoft
Buckman Laboratories PricewaterhouseCoopers
Dell Computer Royal Dutch/Shell
Ernst & Young Samsung Group
General Electric Siemens
Hewlett-Packard Toyota Motor
IBM World Bank
Infosys Technologies Xerox
Source:Accenture and McKinsey among Global MAKE awards winners,, December 8th 2004


Accentures Grand Vision: Corporate Americas Superstar Maker

Annexure 1
Profiles of Competitors of Accenture
EDS: Electronic Data Systems (EDS) pioneered the computer outsourcing business, and now it is the largest
independent systems management and services firm in the US. EDS delivers such services as systems integration,
network and systems operations, data center management, application development, and outsourcing. The company also
offers management consulting through itsA.T. Kearney unit. It serves customers through a number of different industries,
including healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation.
ACS: Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) company provides business process and information technology (IT)
outsourcing services for commercial clients and government agencies around the world. ACSs business process
outsourcing service offerings handle clients administrative functions; finance and accounting; human resources; payment
processing; sales, marketing, and customer care call centers; and supply chain management. ACS also provides a variety
of systems integration and technology outsourcing services, including data center operations, network management, and
technical support and training services.
CSC: Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), one of the worlds leading information technology (IT) consulting and
outsourcing firms, CSC provides its clients with a wide array of services such as application development, consulting,
network design, and systems integration. About half the companys business comes from IT services it provides for other
companies. CSCs clientle include many corporate giants likeAon Corporation, Bombardier, Motorola, and the UKs Royal
Mail. The company is also a top IT service provider to the US government, receiving more than 25% of its annual
revenues from various contracts with the Defense Department.
IBM: International Business Machines (IBM) is the worlds top provider of computer hardware. Among the leaders
in almost every market in which it competes, the company makes desktop and notebook PCs, mainframes and servers,
storage systems, and peripherals. The companys service arm is the largest in the world. IBM is also one of the largest
providers of both software and semiconductors. The company continues to use acquisitions to augment its software and
service businesses, while streamlining its hardware operations with divestitures and organizational shifts.
Bearing Point: BearingPoint, a leading management consulting and systems integration firm, the company employs
more than 13,000 consultants to provide a variety of services to large and medium-sized businesses, as well as
government agencies and other enterprises. Its industry practices focus on clients in such industries as consumer goods,
financial services, high technology, and the media. BearingPoint operates through about 200 offices worldwide. The firm
was formed as a division of KPMG LLP (the US member firm of accounting giant KPMG International).
McKinsey & Company: it is one of the worlds top management consulting firms with more than 80 offices in 44 countries.
The company provides a full spectrum of consulting services to corporations, government agencies, and foundations,
including leadership training, operations analysis, and strategic planning. Its practice areas include such industries as
banking, energy, manufacturing, and media, among many others. McKinseys consultants also dispense their knowledge
through an avalanche of articles and books.
Boston Consulting Group (BCG), founded in 1963 by industry pioneer Bruce Henderson, is one of the worlds top
ranked consulting practices with about 60 offices in more than 30 countries. The firms 2,600 consultants offer a wide array
of strategic consulting services mainly to blue chip corporate clients in the areas, which include branding and marketing,
corporate development, globalization, and technology. The firm has developed its own original consulting concepts, such
as time-based competition (rapid response to change) and deconstruction (an end to vertical integration).
Deloitte Consulting specializes in e-business consulting and serves businesses in healthcare, manufacturing, financial
services, energy, the public sector, and communications. Deloitte Consultings areas of expertise include IT services,
strategy and financial management, outsourcing, process, and human resources. Deloitte is one of the worlds largest
consulting firms and the largest unit of accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
Teleca is an international IT services company focused on R&D that develops and integrates advanced software and
information technology solutions. The company has more than 3,000 employees with operations in 15 countries in Asia,
Europe and USA. It specialises in building real-time embedded systems, high-throughput services, device-related
applications, industrial IT and automation and information provisioning systems.

Source: Compiled by ICFAI Business School-Case Development Centre


Accentures Grand Vision: Corporate Americas Superstar Maker

Accenture Vs Competitors

Acenture BE EDS IBM Industry

Market Cap. 25.79B 1.56B 11.76B 162.49B 89.48M
Employees 100,000 15,000 132,000 319,273 486
Revenue Growth 12.80% -50.50% -0.10% 9.80% 3.90%
Revenue 15.11B 3.40B 21.14B 94.74B 131.15M
Gross Margin 30.54% 20.60% 5.23% 37.10% 33.23%
EBITDA 2.02B -22.41M 1.88B 15.33B 5.54M
Operating Margin 11.64% -0.82% -3.44% 11.22% 5.09%
Net Income 690.83M -97.31M -686.00M 8.11B 52.00K
EPS 1.219 -0.505 -1.399 4.703 N/A
PE 22.56 N/A N/A 20.75 24.90