Accenture’s Cloud Migration Sets Standard for Other Large Businesses


Embracing its mantra of “Let there be change,” Accenture embarked on an ambitious journey to transform both its technology landscape and its workforce.

Accenture was going through a period most companies would envy.

The Dublin-based, global professional services leader had grown significantly organically and inorganically, including expanding into diverse businesses, propelled by $14 billion invested in more than 177 acquisitions in the last five years. As the company grew and expanded into new markets and services, its legacy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system became increasingly complex, costly, and inflexible. Accenture needed a more agile, scalable, and innovative platform to support its dynamic and diverse business needs.

As Eli Lambert, Managing Director of Accenture’s Global IT Finance Platforms, noted, “a significant challenge for a large IT enterprise is keeping up with the speed of business and ahead of technology change. Large enterprises often have expansive landscapes, with legacy systems that stand in the way of speed, agility, and innovation.”

Embracing its mantra of “Let there be change,” the company embarked on an ambitious journey to transform both its technology landscape and its workforce.

‘Rising’ to transformation

Accenture has been a long-standing partner of SAP, using its ERP solutions to manage its core business processes, such as finance and procurement. As they embarked on their transformation journey, the company once again partnered with SAP to migrate to RISE with SAP, a live cloud service utilized by companies spanning 26 industries and more than 100 countries.

RISE with SAP combines SAP S/4HANA, the intelligent cloud ERP solution, with SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), the integrated platform for data, analytics, integration, and extension, as well as other services, such as cloud infrastructure, application management, and business process intelligence.

By moving to RISE with SAP, Accenture was able to simplify its IT landscape, reduce its total cost of ownership, and gain access to the latest innovations and best practices from SAP.  Further, consuming RISE with SAP as a managed service allowed Accenture Global IT to reduce required night and weekend support by 60 percent, enhancing employee work/life balance, and led to valuable upskilling for 50 percent of the retained IT team.

Cloud mindset and composable architecture era

Building upon the move to RISE with SAP, Accenture adopted a modern digital core strategy, which centers on keeping its core ERP system as standard and as simple as possible, using SAP BTP to extend and enhance its capabilities, and anchoring to a cloud mindset for both IT and business professionals. This approach allows Accenture to avoid unnecessary customizations and modifications in its SAP platform, which can create complexity, risk, and technical debt, and instead focus on delivering value-added solutions.

Since the strategy was introduced, 21 percent of the platform’s custom code has been removed, improving performance and reducing overhead. Beyond that, re-solutioning legacy custom code to leverage extensibility has provided its own benefits.

Leveraging SAP BTP, a cash application scheduler was developed to improve integration; now the integration runs 77 percent faster, and the already successful SAP Cash Application solution has even greater results – auto-clearing of cash application has now doubled since the solution was introduced and increased a further 7 percent with the scheduler activation.

Another key solution that Accenture uses to implement its clean digital core strategy is SAP Profitability and Performance Management (PaPM), a cloud-native application that runs on SAP BTP and enables advanced profitability analysis, performance measurement, and optimization. The use of SAP PaPM for Corporate Allocations “streamlined and reduced risk in delivering financial results,” said Lisa Pearson, director of the company’s Management Reporting Process.  “It also gave us transparency and control of our processes and calculations while also eliminating manual actions – valuable benefits our previous custom solution could not offer.”

The solution now runs 50 percent faster with greater traceability.

Earlier this year, Accenture’s RISE with SAP and clean digital core journey led to the company being celebrated as a winner in the “Business Innovator” category at the 2024 SAP Innovation Awards, an annual ceremony honoring organizations using SAP technologies to make the world run better.

And this is only the beginning, Lambert said, with employees “freed up to focus on future-proofing our processes and technology by consuming cloud capabilities enabled by” the revolutionary platform.

This article first appeared in CIO Magazine.