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Governance: Developing and Operating a Model for a Global Company

Tom Barfield, Global Knowledge Management Lead November 16, 2005

Copyright 2005 Accenture All Rights Reserved.

Accenture Overview
Accenture differentiates itself as a global leader with unmatched capabilities, experience and relationships. We help clients architect and deliver solutions that create value.
Over $15 Billion in Revenue Over 117,000 Professionals in 46 Countries 91 of the Fortune Global 100 Half of the Fortune Global 500 350 startups and spin-offs

More than 90% of the worlds top companies benefit from our insights and solutions.

Our experienced professionals bring the latest technology to deliver solutions, no matter how complex or risky.

Using data networks and a suite of powerful online applications, we can help clients focus on their core business.

Over $500M in R&D expenditures Over $500M in Training expenditures


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Accenture Emphasis on KM

Winner of Global Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise award for eight years - placed second overall in 2005

Best practice site visit company for American Productivity & Quality Centers study of the integration of organizational learning and knowledge

Harvard Business School case study on Accenture KM.

Named one of top 24 Companies for Enterprise Learning by American Society for Training & Development
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Accenture Organization Structure

Comm. & High Tech

Financial Services




Business Consulting Capability GroupService Lines and Solution Units Technology & Outsourcing Capability GroupService Lines and Solution Units Affiliated Companies

Global Strategic Delivery Approach Alliances

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Knowledge sharing at Accenture enables us to make our clients high performing businesses
"The execution of our entire business strategy to be a market maker, architect and builder of the new economy is dependent on how we create, share and protect knowledge. Knowledge sharing is the essence of how we bring innovations to change the way the world works and lives." -- Joe Forehand, Accenture Chairman

KM Mission

Drive value from knowledge to enhance revenue, reduce cost and foster innovation
KM Vision

To create a world class knowledge sharing culture and environment which contributes to Accentures success
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Accentures Knowledge Management Evolution

Business Drivers
Enabling Infrastructure
Build it, and they will come

Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge is a by-product

Knowledge Enabling
Knowledge is actively managed

Knowledge Worker
Knowledge-enabled Enterprise


Global communications

Organizational memory

Relevant quality content, when and where needed

People guided and enabled by personalized knowledge, tools & learning

Lotus Notes

Build KX Global Rollout Infrastructure SCAs DB development (Libraries, Discussions, Methods)

KX Takeup Growth of content Growth of KM supporting orgs. Web-enablement begins

The Accenture Portal; Capability Development Site aggregation Expert Locator KM org merges with Learning, Methods, Tools Operational Effectiveness

Centralization; Integration Lotus Notes to Microsoft Evolved KM strategies and infrastructure


1993 - 1996




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Accentures evolution has required key aspects of our Knowledge Management approach to change
Area User experience Technology infrastructure & support Yesterday Multiple applications with an organizationcentric index Each organization operates their own knowledge applications, development and operations teams Today Tomorrow Single application with a Knowledge integrated into topic-centric index key processes Implementation of centralized infrastructure and shared services for development and content management. Continued implementation of shared services and integration of knowledge learning and collaboration enabling technologies.


Small central component Strategy and infrastructure decisions driven by local teams

Centralized infrastructure and strategy driven by a representative governance model representing senior Accenture leadership and leadership from across KM groups

Extended governance designed to ensure that learning, knowledge and HR organizational intellectual assets are shared and adopted.

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Governance challenges faced by Accentures KM organization

Vision Leadership Each KM team independently sets vision and direction for their KM programs KM teams report to different organizations leaders with differing priorities Every team wants direct involvement in every decision KM leadership needs to sign off on all decisions getting into the details Siloed - each team felt loyalty to their specific internal unit and immediate leadership, not to the entire community. Individual teams assessed by their own sponsors vs. global vision Past relationship with large Global KM team was strained. New smaller Global KM team had few relationships among the KM teams Few relationships between the KM teams or players on the teams Strained relationship between CIO (development) and KM teams


Relationships Compliance

Policies and standards exist only at the individual team level There are not global audit mechanisms and explicit consequences for noncompliance Each team has an individual budget governing their team and applications


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Operational challenges to overcome

Application Development Little trust in the development team Development team off shore, far from immediate leadership proximity Little to no experience in new technology Each KM team had their own content management processes and standards and these were inconsistently applied 30 applications owned by as many teams, each one with its own unique content architecture and navigation structures There was no common content taxonomy. Each team structures and indexes its content categories autonomously Everyone works in separate locations around the world most out of their homes. All meetings were virtual. Diverse global group for several English is their second language causing communication challenges

Processes Design & Navigation Taxonomy


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Key success factors

1. Start with a vision 2. Create the governance team 3. Develop roles/responsibilities and guiding principles 4. Define a decision making process 5. Operate and evolve the model

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1. Start with a vision

Define the business problems Ensure you have senior leadership sponsorship Establish the vision
Build a one stop shop KM capability

Lessons Learned: May not get unanimous agreement on the business problems
Some groups will say those arent problems for my team Let it go be careful about which battles to fight

If possible have a driving factor If you dont move off of Lotus Notes your application will be deleted
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2. Create the governance team

Define the roles and responsibilities Secure senior leadership support for the model Choose the right members Capability Development Steering Team

Lessons Learned: Keep senior leaders out of the details One group can not handle the details of an entire KM system create smaller sub-groups to handle the details (Examples: Search, topic pages, content management processes) Ideal sizes Working group ~ 5 people Advisory board ~ 10 people Every team does not have to be on every working group Keep the high level Advisory Board small by having members represent more than one group If possible, have an in person meeting to start and focus on networking them together
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KM Advisory Board

Working Groups


3. Develop roles/responsibilities and guiding principles

Members of each group need to understand the responsibility of the group and of themselves Develop guiding principles to drive decisions Examples: End user capabilities take higher priority over content owner We will not extend the software to the extent that it risks future vendor upgrades Assign an Advisory Board member to play a leadership role on each working group
Lessons Learned: Make it the responsibility of the Advisory Board member to ensure their leadership agrees with decisions

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4. Define a decision making process

Develop a work plan for key decisions to be made this is a living document Send materials to Advisory Board before meeting for their review prefer at least 3 days Spend meeting time discussing the materials vs. presenting When a decision is going to be made give Advisory Board members one week to consider and validate support Tally the vote at the following meeting

Lessons Learned: Minimize presentations a Word document usually suffices Focus meeting time on discussion rather than on reviewing Clearly state the expected outcome of each topic (info, discuss, decide) Leverage collaboration technologies Centralized document repository (minimize email attachments) Leverage online survey capability for casting votes
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5. Operate and evolve the model

Simplify communications example: Publish agenda and meeting materials in a central location Take meeting notes directly in the agenda during the meeting Save the notes in a central repository where members can access and use with their teams Lessons Learned: Identify a quick win for the governance board we chose search as the first part of the infrastructure to centralize this demonstrated that working together produced better results then working independently Acknowledge when decisions are outside of our control. When this happens give your board members a way out when discussing with their leadership so they dont take the blame On controversial topics make sure someone has your back run the idea by a couple members ahead of time Dissenters ask the group opinion. If the opinion is valid the group will rally for it. If not the group will rally against Learn when to take a discussion offline dont allow one persons problem derail the group Dont be afraid to change any element of the governance model or the whole thing. If it isnt working change it
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Benefits of good governance

1. Collaboration between KM teams is better than ever we have learned to trust each other 2. Easier to evolve and re-shape our KM capability to meet the ever changing business needs and strategies 3. Our investments are more focused on the most immediate strategic needs 4. Make the most efficient use of people, money and resources 5. Enhance our users' satisfaction by offering them consistent design, development and delivery of our services
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What is Accentures KM team working on now?

Perform audience analysis and segmentation Improve our ability to connect people to people

Expected Outcomes
Better understand who our most important audiences are and tailor our KM capabilities and services to their needs. Simplify the process for Accenture to know who knows what and who knows whom

Develop consistent metrics and performance support indicators

Validate that we have all the governance pieces in place

Improve strategic focus of our managed knowledge, eliminate inefficiencies, allow nimble adaptability of our strategy and services to a rapidly changing environment.
Ensure that we are making decisions as efficiently as possible (example: taxonomy decisions)

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The main entry point to the Knowledge Exchange is via the Accenture Portal What is the Accenture Portal? The Accenture
Portal is the channel to deliver tools, services, information and knowledge to all Accenture people. The Accenture Portal:
Enables quick access to information from across the organization Helps user perform tasks efficiently. Brings together relevant information in one central location.

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Knowledge Exchange main page -

The main entry point to knowledge and people via search and browse Contact others via
Communities of Practice Discussions Find an expert

Maintain KX/Expert profile Contribute content to the system

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The search looks at all documents stored in Accenture Portal and the Knowledge Exchange Recommends key topic pages Search results organized by tabs to search across other content areas Robust advanced search

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Browse Content is primarily organized by Topic

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Technologies examples (displayed)

Architectures Security Database

Products examples
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A topic page provides a window to all the best capabilities related to a topic

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