Two Accenture CIOs: Frank Modruson and Andrew Wilson
Two Accenture CIOs: Frank Modruson and Andrew Wilson
Frank Modruson
Former CIO
Accenture
Andrew Wilson
CIO
Accenture

Frank B. Modruson, former CIO of Accenture, leads a high-performance global IT organization that directly supports the business goals of a $27.9 billion company. He oversees all business applications and technology infrastructure, enabling more than 266,000 employees to serve clients in more than 120 countries and work anytime, anywhere. Frank has transformed IT into a strategic asset for Accenture. Under his leadership, the IT organization has produced an unparalleled ability to run IT as a business, implemented a comprehensive governance model, streamlined the technology infrastructure and much more. Formerly serving as a client partner, he delivered large, complex IT transformation projects and business solutions that maximized ROI.

As Chief Information Officer for Accenture, Andrew Wilson leads the global IT operations of a $28.6 billion company, including the infrastructure, services and applications that enable Accenture people to work anytime, anywhere to serve clients in more than 120 countries. Mr. Wilson ensures that Accenture is at the forefront of innovation as a digital business—from mission-critical applications to the network, from e-mail and laptops to enterprise social media and collaboration tools. Mr. Wilson is also responsible for end-to-end performance and service operations of Navitaire, a wholly-owned Accenture subsidiary, which works together with Accenture to provide expertise and to deliver services for airlines in key operational and revenue generating areas.

Video Transcript: Two Accenture CIOs: Frank Modruson and Andrew Wilson

Michael:         

(00:02) Hello, welcome to another episode of CXOTalk and this is episode 30. I’d like to thank you for joining us, I’m Michael Krigsman and I’m here with my absolutely wonderful co-host, Mr Vala Afshar, Vala how are you

Vala:   

(00:24) What an honour and pleasure to have episode 30 with not one, but two incredible CIO’s.

Michael:         

(00:31) I know, to very innovative CIOs who are going to tell us a wonderful story. The present CIO of Accenture, Andrew Wilson and the retiring CIO of Accenture, Frank Modruson. Gentlemen thank you I’d like to thank SAP as well for sponsoring this week’s episode, we really really do appreciate that.

(01:04) So gentlemen, Frank and Andrew, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your roles. Andrew, since you’re the present CIO, maybe we should start with you.

Andrew:

(01:15) Delighted to and thank you for the invite for joining today. I think your programme is very innovative and interesting. I am the new CIO for Accenture, but not new to Accenture. I’ve spent the majority of my career in a technology and business process industry, and most recently I ran Accenture’s infrastructure outsourcing practice serving clients all over the world, running mission-critical production systems.

(01:40) The biggest client of all for us is ourselves, and this challenge is allowing me to take up the baton from Frank, who will in a moment described where he’s been for the last 11 years as CIO.

(01:52)On an agenda of digital transformation for an organisation, which is itself at the heart of technology transformation industry. So I’m delighted to be the CIO and I’m delighted to join you today.

Michael:

(02:04) Great, thank you so much, and Frank tell us a little bit about yourself.

Frank:

(02:10)Well thank you Michael and thank you Andrew. I’m wrapping up 11 years of Accenture’s CIO. I joined Accenture in 1987 and I spent the first chunk of my career serving our clients. And then in 02, I moved over to become the CIO of Accenture. And I’ve had a wonderful ride and we’ve done some really wonderful things with technology, and now I’m passing the baton to Andrew and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. I think our technology is well positioned, but technology keeps moving and it really is a race to keep in front. So handing the baton to Andrew means he’ll be moving forward, and over time replace everything I’ve done and I’m actually quite excited about that. Because technology just keeps moving, and I was at an event with (Horowitz? 02:55) this week, and somebody asked the question, what enterprise you know technology today is going to exist tomorrow.

(03:05)Actually I think the right answer is probably none of it. It’s pretty amazing how much things will change over time. Over to you Andrew.

Andrew:          

(03:13) I think the nature of what the enterprise of technology is actually changing as well. 10 - 15 years ago, it was all about data centres, networks and everything behind a fire wall and we all know that is now very different. But the actual range and extent of technology which a CIO is actually responsible for – or indirectly responsible for, because there is a lot of Velcroing out into cloud and into managed services, has change the nature of the role significantly.

(03:39) So, we look now at TV studios and social and collaboration media as is important to the traditional back-office core systems, which I think used to typify the role but I think less so and increasingly so today.

Vala:   

(03:53) Question to Frank, Accenture is one of the largest consultant firms in the world, 275,000 employees and considered to be a Fortune 500 company, and you’ve been the CIO for 11 years. What does the role of the CIO encompass for such a massive organisation that’s servicing clients around the globe?

Frank: 

(04:18) Well it encompasses a lot at its simplest level and it encompasses all our infrastructure that are our hosting data centers, all that stuff. And then all the applications to really allow the company to operate on a daily basis. But that in a nutshell is our technology, then you break it into operations and investments and we try to buy us as much effort on innovations as possible to drive our self forward into the future.

(04:50) But it’s about transforming Accenture. Transforming how we work, how we interact, and constantly moving the company forward into the future. So IT today, looks nothing like it did in 2011, in fact most of that IT has been all replaced and if you spin forward, I think for Andrew’s leadership it may actually happen faster in the next wave.

Michael:         

(05:14) So you’re going after this constant renewal of IT, and it sounds like your reference point is how can IT play important aspects to the business.

Frank:

(05:29) Correct, absolutely.

Andrew:          

(05:32) Keeping up with the rapidly changing business. Accenture isn’t a single homogenous entity. Itself has transformed, it enables high-performance and it needs to be very nimble. So 10 years ago it was predominantly a client-based mobile workforce, but working in the same locations as its clients and working in the same locations as each other with basic technology enablement, email etc.

(05:56)Now we have global delivery networks. We have large client teams, multi-sourced from many different shared service entities all over the world. We operate in every time zone continuously, and so we do a lot more of our work through virtual enablement than through physically being together.

(06:13) But then on top of that we have an increasingly mobile workforce that needs increasingly sophisticated tools infield to do their job, and bringing all that together and the demand profile is very different from the more classic role if you like.

Vala:   

(06:27 Is mobility the megatrend that’s most impacting the transformation – not just within Accenture but your clients.

Andrew:          

(06:37) The main ability is a megatrend, but an increasingly and equal one is a demand for mission critical always on for services which were not initially perceived to be that mission-critical. It’s easy to see why the back-office finance office will be regarded as you know key.

(06:57) Now, collaboration, which started as aim and basic messaging, is the way we all talk every day for voice, for video, and for virtual meeting enablement on quite a sophisticated scale and on huge scale as well.

(07:12) Now that has changed completely in the last couple of years. The adoption you know breaks all records goes through the roof. We are well over 100 million minutes of activity every month through something which has to be absolutely mission-critical. And frankly, if there is any is destruction to it then it is far more impactful and immediately evident that if the finance system, for instance has an hour-long outage.

(07:36) So we’ve had to completely reimagine the nature of the frontline service interface of that client i.e. all the end users. And then you’re right, you know and by the way they’re on the move, so is not the case of being in a nice quiet room in the studio, they want to access it through mobile tablets, through smart devices as well. And they want to be able to collaborate with their clients through that, which inlayers in security, which I would argue is a third megatrend that we have to deal with as well.

Michael:         

(08:03) Frank, you’ve been CIO for 11 years now and for many CIOs asked the question, how can we be relevant and how can IT be relevant to the business. But it sounds like in your case the issue of relevancy kind of goes away because it seems that you see yourself and you see IT as kinds of intricate with the business and transformation strategy. Is that a correct way for me to look at it.

Frank: 

(08:35)Well it is a very good way to look at it, and I think the key part is to have a very engaging dialogue with the business. We have an IT spearing committee composed of the COO’s of the company, the people that run Accenture on an everyday basis. We spend a lot of time interacting with them, and have over the years they’re the governing body of IT, but they also guide us on what’s best for Accenture. They are the voice of the senior level of what Accenture wants.

(09:07)They help us ferret through all the requests we have, but then we go down into the business to work hand-in-hand with business people, because ultimately IT is here to help Accenture operate better. Whether it’s in our back-office function, in our collaboration, and working with clients. You know, we see the barriers between ourselves and our clients going down and we want more integration across the firewall. We want more integration for our people around the world.

(09:37)As Andrew put it, the people that show up as our clients can be anywhere in the world. Teams are often made of individuals from different parts of the world, coming together both physically and virtually to serve a client. Those teams might be five people, those teams might be 500 people.

(09:56)The technology is what brings it together, but we need to constantly be talking to our end users and getting feedback. In fact we have a project underway right now, where we are actually doing deep dive focus groups to get better information about exactly what the organisation wants in different areas of our technology.

Vala:   

(10:16) Do you have a sense of what percentage of the 275,000 employees are mobile, virtual office telecommuters? I get a sense with this mobile megatrend, social and collaboration and the fact that we live in an economy, and the notion of an office space may overtime go away. How much of that is true within Accenture?

Frank: 

(10:39) Well Accenture well there’s a couple of different parts to Accenture I would say we have about 300 locations of our own around the world. I would say roughly half the people are in our locations and the other half are somewhere else in the world. We know that our people show up every day is about 10,000 different locations, and those locations can be clients, home, airport,Internet café. It can be anywhere

Vala:   

(11:09) That is unbelievable

Michael:         

(11:11) So you’re supporting this infrastructure of 10,000 nondeterministic locations.

Frank: 

(11:19)It makes for an interesting day.

Vala:   

(11:21) That’s unbelievable, so tell us in terms of security and availability, you know how do you ensure the user experience is the same at a client’s location, or on the way to the desired space, or even in the office. That is just fascinating, you would have to have lots of checks and balances monitoring and and really to pulse up the network from 10,000 locations.

Frank:

(11:48)Well there are a couple of things we do. First off its the architecting our solutions to be simple and accessible from anywhere, right. So we’re very much an IT, ATTPS architecture for everything. If you can get a network connection, our technology needs to be able to show up. We cannot control all of the links over the network because often at times people aren’t on the Internet. But as the Internet has gotten better this has become a very viable solution for hours.

(12:18) In fact I was in a discussion with one of our large financial services clients this week. Interesting enough it was over video with some of the people in person, our CEO was actually in Paris, and we were in the Bay area all stitched together. And one of the members of the team that was presenting to the client from our labs group, talked about how they worked with a group in the Philippines and India and that they use some of our high definition video to talk to those teams from home in the evening.

(12:47)And the CEO of the financial services company was frustrated because he said, I can’t get the video to work on my internal network. You’ve got it working on the Internet, internationally, how is that possible? Well, the technology is actually getting pretty good. We do a lot of work to try to enable that and educate our people in what’s necessary for it to work, and then we watch the launch and then work it.

Michael:         

(13:14) Yes pretty extraordinary. Let’s go back to this topic of innovation and transformation. We hear your people use that phrase, IT innovation and IT transformation, business innovation, and business transformation. At Accenture in respect to IT and the relationship to the organisation, what exactly does it mean? And where does the rubber meet the road in practice as opposed to just concepts of buzzwords. Andrew, do you want to take a stab at that one?

Andrew:          

(13:50) Well in my prior role, that was a question clients asked all the time. And I boiled it down to its around ensuring that the technology that you operate isn’t a function of its past to derail its present.

(14:07)So large-scale network are typically built up over a period of time and they can be a function of rapid expansion. They can be a function of acquisition, and the technology is inevitably if not managed in a transformationalist way, going behind the business appetite for communication and collaborations, simplification and clearly costs.

(14:26)So there’s always a combination of cost, availability and tell me what the right innovation is. There’s too much in this ecosystem, too many new ideas, too many swirling things. How on earth do I select something which is going to be around long enough that I can get in place and that I can integrate with the other components that I need to integrate it with.

(14:50)That boiled down is the question most clients have asked me. So a pragmatic transformational agenda is something that brings simplification, remote operation, low cost of operation, standardization. And then an availability to augment it in a rapid way. But to regard it as something that’s going to change completely in a more rapid refresh cycle that it would have done 10 years ago.

(15:15) So if it’s your network that is typically combining voice and data and video, it’s got to have new security protocols, it’s got to have a higher state of availability and resilience. It’s got to be automatically always on and tested as such. Features and factors that if not designed in from the start are typically difficult to add later.

(15:36) So and innovative agenda is how to bring that about more quickly and to deliver benefits in a business case, which then the IT can be run as a business which is one of the things that we want to do.

(15:46) Accenture its business is technology, so to a certain extent the CIO organisation has to be pre-eminent as an example to that, because our clients often want to see us doing it to ourselves in order to prove that we are a safe pair of hands to do it to them as well.

Frank: 

(16:02) Michael, can I add one point to Andrews which I think is important, so I also think as you go to the future, you need to be very cognizant of getting rid of 100% of the past. That’s what actually a lot of organizations trip upon. They move to the new stuff, but they don’t retire everything from the past. They retire most of it, but not all of it and then they have this legacy of little problems that end up popping up and getting in the way of things.

(16:36) So I often think about you know, if you remember the old days of railroad in North America, when they went into parts of the country they would lay the rail in, but since metal was valuable and they went after natural resources like lumber and lay the rail in. When they cut down the trees they wanted, they actually would come back and pick up the rail; they would remove the railroad.

(16:58)They didn’t have to do that it would be hard work right. But getting rid of the old decants of all technology is really hard. It’s incredibly valuable to do it.

Michael:         

(17:09) How do you do it? In an organisation at this scale of Accenture, I mean I can see how small company can do that, but how do you manage that at the scale of which you operate?

Frank: 

(17:24)Aggressive standardization and regular refresh cycles is not as hard as actually you would think. You’ve got to attack a problem the right way and think holistically, but one of the hallmarks of our IT is not only is it brand-new, but it’s the least expensive IT in our industry. Which is a bit of an oxymoron, but you know what, that’s what happens. The new technology is always cheaper than the old technology.

Andrew:

(17:54) Effective governance with your client base as well, again we practice what we set out to do at our external clients, so typically large multinational so scale is something we are used to. We see clients working at 100 operating countries, we’re running business processes for them, we’re running IT enablement is under that.

(18:16)The way it works successfully is when there’s a clear mandate from center, to act and to action and to mandate standard. There’s local enforcement as standard, and then there’s automation and management and monitoring of standard; we do all of those things, and that’s viable from the security agenda that we were touching on earlier.

(18:36) But to allow sufficient flexibility, there is a fine balance and I’m finding it already is as we roll out additional security arrangements that are in our organisation. There is a fine balance between encouraging the creativity and mobility and freedom, which I think the modern generation has grown up with IT. They have an expectation and entitlement to this, at the same time as governing from an enterprise perspective the overall risk, security etc.

(19:04) And that balance is something I think is going to get harder to deliver to a business that feels under pressure to demonstrate cloud and innovation and you know, the newest aspects of go to market.

(19:17)And so CIO has a very careful governance role to ensure that we don’t leap before we’re ready, but then when we do leap we leap progressively and along the way.

Vala:   

(19:26) Staying along the same theme of going into the future and retiring the past. I believe it was earlier in the year, ATOS, a company with nearly 100,000 employees has said that by 2014 they would abandon email completely, and use social collaboration technology to communicate within their enterprise. Can you give an example if you can fast forward to maybe 3 to 5 years or at the end of this decade, what are some of these technologies that you would vision is it email, is it on premise datacenter versus a SAS cloud base solution. What do you envision companies retiring as they transform their business to a more innovative organisation?

Andrew:          

(20:12) I think businesses of the future will use existing platforms differently but migrate through time, so email as an example. Email has been classically used and overused as a communication vehicle, and it’s become progressively less and less effective. Push email of that nature does not fit in which the way individuals now sells data and collaborate.

(20:38) So knowledge exchanges, social collaboration, environments where individuals connect on ideas and threads and follow each other becomes the way to now insert corporate communication and to and to land a bit more effectively in the lines of the user’s, and that’s what we are doing.

(20:54)So I think email will be used less for a less wide range of activities – just as the telephone has been. The telephones do not ring in offices now, because social collaboration indicates who’s on your call, who is available to call, and you call people when they’re available. So voice messaging and things of that nature I think are also becoming a thing of the past as well.

Frank: 

(21:21) I would add specialized devices. I think the phone is a great example of a specialized device that we don’t need any more. I think we are going to see more and more of those things show up on individual your cellphone or your laptop. Software takes over the world and I think that’s been pretty obvious for a long time. So a lot of specialized devices are going to go away, the phone is already is an example Andrew.

Andrew:          

(21:48) Then I think at the other end of the spectrum the expectation of what technology was to offer, so like Facebook and YouTube and Twitter, we are all very familiar with the capabilities that those services offer. The enterprise needs the equivalent but with additional security and containment. And any application service or proposition that I take the business does not have those collaborative components is going to fail. So as an example I would take the communication one a step further.

(22:20)We’re no longer going to broadcast out long emails with, ‘by the way, what’s happening this week.’ We have a channel, which is a TV channel and bite-size chunks of media where we can focus messaging that people can configure and look at as a TV channel. And that’s a way to get the message home to a workforce, who will then draw on that content when they need it, where they need it and through what mechanism they prefer to use it.

Frank: 

(22:47) In effect let me just build on that for a second, because some of the stuff we have we kind of forget we have. So for example we have two soon to be three broadcast centers, where we can plug together any number of locations around the world and also stream to the web at the same time.

(23:11)So our CEO can get in there and speak to a small group, a large group, he can have interactive audience. Other executives can use it and you can really be anywhere in the world to use that and it streams out to the web. And I talk to other CEOs and they are kind of like, wow why don’t other companies have that? The technology is right there.

Andrew:

(23:34) Bringing in yet another dimension of always on, because now we’re TV channel and we’re TV content, generator and broadcaster. And the expectations of the video always working and the TV always being there are very high.

Michael:         

(23:49) Gentlemen, what do you do on the business side because you’re talking about the introduction of technology – again across this very large organisation. And so what are the cultural attributes and the changes that you have to drive to ensure adoption on the business side.

Andrew:          

(24:13) Accenture is a very adoptive culture. It’s demographic, it’s technologists that like technology, so we have that advantage and it can be an overdone advantage because we can have very rapid adoption which is why we find ourselves demonstrating scale in the industry which it is difficult to find other examples of. So we will often be leading edge in terms of scale, performance, and load and proving these technologies are at the scale perhaps beyond which they have been proven before and that is definitely a dynamic.

(24:44)And I think we have a very adoptive leadership culture as well, so we’re not just talking simple internal little broadcasts. So we routinely work with the industry analysts, we routinely work with clients. We introduce clients to our global capability and not by everybody getting on planes, but literally by providing a window to our locations in Asia-Pacific particularly.

(25:10)And all of this is enabled on a backbone which we’re both managing and providing the content. So it requires back to my theme earlier and always on mentality very much like a TV network.

Michael:         

(25:25) I’d like to just invite people who are listening to submit questions. We’re joined today by Andrew Wilson, who is the CIO of Accenture and Frank Modruson, who is the retiring CIO. So if you’re listening, this is just an extraordinary to ask these gentlemen questions, and I also want to very heartily thank SAP for sponsoring this episode.

Vala:   

(25:56) Question to Frank, you know more and more you hear potentially the chief executive in the enterprise that will champion this adoptive culture of what you spoke about at Accenture. Is the chief digital officer, not necessarily CIO all or the CMO, but what appears to be a hybrid role of the two.Whereby this individual is really focused on transforming the business on the mobiles, social, cloud, big data, application economy, and overall user experience. Is there a CDO at Accenture, and if not is it the CIOs role to really champion this adoptive culture that you speak about?

Frank: 

(26:47) First off there is not a defined role as a Chief Digital Officer. We believe every company has become is already or becoming a digital company, a digital business, so I think that’s real.

(26:58) I would tell you that here and in turn our CEO does lots to sponsor the adoption of some technologies, particularly video, desktop communications and he’s out there on blogs, on social etc. But he’s one person. He’s a senior leader but he’s one person. Our group chief executives for our different industry groups do the same thing. Head of technology – same thing. So you can’t get this wrapped up in one person, it’s really the tone from the top, that cascades down to their leadership, which cascades down to their leadership, which cascades down to their members.

(27:36) In fact, one thing we’ve found that is quite interesting or at least to us, is the gamification of adoption of technology. One thing we do, we have a group called our global leadership Council which has the top 150 or so leaders of Accenture.

(27:53)When we get together with them and we do this with other groups as well, we have all these stats of whose blogging and you know posting stuff is how much video minutes – whatever. We have stats, and we put them up. And invariably everyone is curious on the leaderboard of where they stand. They come over and they look at it and like, ‘wait a minute, there is no way I’m behind that person.’ And it becomes like competition and it’s amazing how engaging; they can’t what by the leaderboard and it has everybody’s name on there and they are like, ‘wait a minute they are ahead of me in audio, but and I ahead of them in video’.

(28:40) It’s actually quite interesting and we’ve taken to adding a little ribbons and awards that go around their people’s page if you get over you know, 1000 minutes of audio or video, or 2000, or 3000 – you can see them when you look up people and it’s become kind of important and that’s beyond the hundred and 50. That’s the 275,000.

(29:01)It’s amazing how this happens right, it builds on itself. So if you’re expecting one person to get the job done, it ain’t going to happen.

Vala:   

(29:09) What an amazing…

Frank: 

(29:11)By the way Andrew is a little competitive in this these a – where are you standing Andrew.

Andrew:          

(29:17) I’m currently number three in the company. I’ve just overtaken number four and I’m well ahead of Frank.

Michael:         

(29:26) Just in case anybody was wondering.

Vala:   

(29:29) Well I would have thought just by the number of monitors around you that you would have been in the top three.

Michael:         

(29:35) So Andrew, how many monitors do you have there?

Andrew:          

(29:30) I have six monitors in my home office and I use it for a combination of work, but I also have an interest in broadcast technology in video editing, which goes back to my time in the UK as a student when I worked on radio and in television.

(29:54) And one of the interesting things – and actually one of the things that I like to think has helped me step up to the CIO is that it is a coregent of broadcasting technology and IT technology, which I think will be illustrative success for the next five or 10 years. And it’s another reason why I was very keen to step into Frank shoes.

(30:15) My friends duties me on the number of monitors, but I enjoy them and of course there are three behind me and I’m looking at three in front of me right now.

Vala:   

(30:25) But you must have again it is amazing to me that there is 270,000 employees in a $29 billion company has such a great open transparent culture, where you can gamify you know blogging and social collaboration. Can you tell us when did you introduce gamification, and is it true unless you have a very open, transparent, accountable culture gamification could be damaging to your business if it’s not done right. Is that a fair statement?

Frank: 

(30:57) You need to be careful how you do it, and we dipped our toe in the water – I want to say it’s got to be two years ago may be a little bit more – I’ll defer, I just don’t remember.

(31:11)We’ve been doing it for a while and we kind of rolled it out in kind of little waves. We started it with a small group, put the numbers up and we found out how much people kind of came over to see what it was about and wanted to know about themselves. And we said, wait a minute, they’re interested in this and we kind of built on that, and we don’t try to embarrass anybody. Right, these are the numbers right, you know we’re not trying to make it you know – and we try to focus it on the top end of the numbers.

(31:39) Right if somebody asks where they stand will show that and the stuff we display is high end. The addition has been really focused on what you’ve accomplished not lack of what you’ve done. Right, so we try to make it a positive thing right, focus people on the future, focus on where we’re going and it’s worked out well.

(32:00)You know, these are funny things and you’ve got to be and you know our culture is open to it. It works well we have a very… Go ahead.

Michael:         

(32:10) Sorry I was going to say we have a question from Twitter, our friend Warren Bruxelles, who is a reporter at CIO magazine asks, do you use gamification for employee training?

Frank: 

(32:31)That is a good question and I’m not sure I know the answer, Andrew, do you know – and trying to think if we use it with training or not. I think we do, I think there are some things where we try to get people to adopt stuff and I’m trying to remember the example.

Andrew:          

(32:45) I think it’s in the formative days, I don’t think it’s a major theme of training. There is a lot of technology enablement in training and it’s all done remotely. There are quizzes, and one has to get a score and there is some prompting element there. But I don’t think that’s true gamification in the way that Warren is looking for.

Frank:

(33:06) Yeah, but there is some stuff we did on the portal where you could identify leaders and you had time to do this. I’m trying to remember – I thought there was a training class who picked up on that. Andrew is right, we’re in the early days of exploring it over into training, but we have been pushing on this and actually someone pinged me, about three years.

Andrew:          

(33:26)We’re using modern technologies I think to embed almost higher order concepts than individual training topics. So we have some cognitive way, which comes with certain iconography and including a greater than sign, and once you embed that in the coaches DNA of a company.

(33:46)So what we did is we ran a global photo competition, where photographs could be submitted electronically, and where we have encouraged creativity and innovation and got some beautiful artwork which we could publish internally each year. And by the way we communicate the Accenture way through this process.

(34:05)So at the moment I would say that form of competition and enjoyment is being landed at a higher level of individual training courses.

Frank:

(34:13) Yeah Andrew, I’m getting pinged by some of our guys quite a lot and they have given me examples of where we have used this in training. So you and I need to get caught up.

Michael:         

(34:31) The folks on the ground are not going to let you maligned their training.

Frank:

(34:36) Well, this is the new world; we are doing a live interview right, we’re stumbling around trying to remember where we’ve used it for training. The head of infrastructure has pinged me, one of our guys in performance pinged me, one of our comms - geez I’ve got four or five different people you know, John, Ursula, Vid, Kevin

Andrew:          

(35:02) So it’s clear that Frankie and I need to visit Accenture lab and also play the X factor equivalent of security as well.

Frank:

(35:11) Video game – jeez, they’re all over this. I’m getting the URL to go and do it.

Vala:   

(35:18) You have just earned a ribbon for learning about the training use within the company.

Frank:

(35:24) How about embarrassment – there we go. No but it’s all good right. We got the right information like that, that’s the new world.

Andrew:

(35:32)It’s illustrating a very flat open culture. I’ve got the same windows around Frank, people feel an opportunity to reach out real time, simultaneously and that increases the pace. It increases the pace of our business development work and the work we try and deliver every day and the way that we can refresh ourselves. And yes, it also means it challenges the leaders to enable all the time as well.

Michael:         

(36:02) And I think for folks and organizations who are watching who are you know bound up in silos, silos between IT and marketing and other silos for example, it shows how with the right culture and the right technology together, it can just as you said flatten the organisation and break down those silos to enable what we see – real-time communication – we are seeing it here.

Andrew:          

(36:32) Frank was describing our digital agenda earlier, and I mean to say that just one organisation and our website would be patently ridiculous. We enable the website, the marketing also sets the brand, but that interlock around a business process and activity, which frankly spans the firm is a good example of many.

(36:52) I believe that the CIO’s agenda is going to be richer in that in the future. The CIO will no longer be an audit taker to say give me this functionality and deliver it to a cost and budget within six months time. It will be to be directly there and present in a much more evolving real-time world, and that’s another reason why I think things are going to accelerate and change in the next few years.

Frank: 

(37:17) I would also add to build on a point here, when you think about that some organizations are not open to it, I don’t know how they can’t be. Number one, when you’re at university and you get extra credit for class participation, the reason was it made for a better class.

Michael:         

(37:36) Yeah, but may be time hanging out with the wrong crowd, but the stories that I hear inside some organizations are frightening. The boundaries that exist and the difficulty crossing those boundaries, and the politics that prevent innovation because there’s you know, there’s intellectual hoarding and so forth, which is the antithesis of the kind of real time sharing information that you just demonstrated.

Andrew:          

(38:05) Organizational readiness for change is the number one barrier along with the achievement of business case for getting things done in most of the client organizations I’ve worked with. I was referring earlier to a time when I was in business process evolutions. I mean we were applying change in 100 operating companies at one point, a very global manufacturer of consumer goods and it’s okay for Accenture to decide something. But for 102 operating companies to adopt it often, you know changing things that have grown up as customer practice in that country, and all of the politics of a global world and the few that exist.

(38:47)The actual technology is arguably the easiest bit, but the adoption of the business readiness and then the operational control for that as a real challenge, what makes global transformational change much harder than simply deployment.

Vala:   

(39:05) As we talk about different lines of business, and one certain function that is going through massive transformation, and I know this first hand is the marketing function within the enterprise.

Michael:         

(39:19) Yeah, this guys a CMO so feel free to poke at him

Vala:   

Know, there’s no way.

Michael:         

(39:28) That’s right, that’s what we are talking about.

Vala:   

(39:30) Andrew and Frank have demonstrated in half an hour how collaborative they are, so I’m fairly certain I’m not going to get poked from our CIO all guests today.

(39:37) But Accenture just did a research study in terms of defining best practice related between CIOs and CMO’s. I’m interested Andrew in your new role, how close did you work with the CMO at Accenture, and based on your research on clients is there a tension between CIOs and CMO’s? I keep reading, in fact today in CIO magazine there was an article, where the CIO ultimately reports to the CMO., So talk to us a little bit about both of your relationships with marketing at Accenture.

Andrew:

(40:13)From our perspective the CIO works with the entire business, and it will never be a case that the CIO works with one function. I think that would be a massively retrograde step, because finance and business development and other functions that have huge responsibilities in any agile enterprise in the future.

(40:33) But I think any CIO that thought that the CMO interlock and liaison wasn’t anything other than mission-critical would be to not enrolled that one, particularly in the digital age of today. We do work extremely closely, and actually it’s the marketing function that represents some of the most adoptive of our user base, and demanding our user base because there is a combination of creativity in the technology world and technology organisation.

(41:01) And so it’s unsurprising that a lot of the marketing based events etc. are some of our biggest users and our most stressed users in terms of the technology that we provide.

Frank:

(41:12) Yeah, I would agree with that and I would say over the years they have actually been very demanding, is very articulate about their demands and incredibly fast-paced about what they need. They are very analytical and the technology just fulfils the analytics side of it, so I think there’s been a really wonderful move in marketing over the years, and we have a great caring relationship. But I think as Andrew said, is also correct that we serve everyone.

Vala:   

(41:38) Who runs the web at Accenture? Is it IT, is it marketing, is it a collaborative committee, and I ask specifically about the web because according to Gartner, CMO of 1700 CMO’s, is that the corporate web is the number one spend in terms of digital priorities. So I’m wondering do you agree that the web and the user experience is really driving the spend in marketing. And at Accenture, your whole website is that something that IT owns one marketing, or across the whole group?

Frank: 

(42:14) Andrew do you want me to take that one or do you want to take that one?

Andrew:          

(42:17)By all means.

Frank: 

(42:19) Well basically we only technology and rebuild it working with them. They put the content out there. They are responsible for the content, we’re responsible for the technology, but it’s a collaborative undertaking          . And by the way, one of the things we’ve learned is that they set the bar very high. And in fact Andrew, one thing I was reflecting on we believe that the world, Andrew and I have been talking a lot about how everything has to be always on. You know who asks for always on before everyone else? Marketing.

(22:53)Interestingly enough, they saw the future before we saw it in some regards. So you know I think you have got to have that give and take to really have a successful outcome. We build the technology, but it’s working very closely with them.

Michael:         

(43:09) As we start to wind down the show, which I hate to do because this has been an incredible discussion. Can you give us a sense of – let’s maybe offer advice for CIOs who’s organizations are not how do I say it, not quite as innovative as Accenture, and maybe IT is less of a focus. So for those organizations, what can the CIO do to gain a better understanding of the business, and at the same time help ensure that the business has a greater appreciation for the transformation potential of IT in driving business improvement.

Andrew:          

(44:01) Any CIO needs to understand fundamentally the business that it is serving. And so it’s unsurprising that in fact I’m the business leader who has now stepped into CIO. Because as we’ve said earlier in this broadcast is that every business is a digital business and the CIO needs to make that so and make it clear to his executive colleagues, the value and the benefit it can bring, and how mission-critical it is also how vital it is to stay in business.

(44:31)So the audit taker, back-office, cost centre, I’ll make sure that email that is long gone. So a CIO for today and a CIO for tomorrow is an internal consultant. It’s an orchestrator of the various technologies that integrate. It’s a coach, it’s a consultant bringing innovation and ideas to the business saying, do you realise you can do this? Do you realise that you should do this, do it in this order, and don’t do this because of this pitfall. And I can say that because I’m one of you, but at the same time I have an understanding what the technology ecosystem now can deliver.

(45:08) So how about trying this? Technology will glue businesses together more and more fundamentally in the future, and that place is the CIO which is a hugely powerful and influential role. The question is, does the DNA who has grown up to become today’s generation of CIO. Do they adapt to that, and can they navigate that world? Can they adapt to the social enterprise? I suspect in five years time will be reading books about the success traits of those who did and those who didn’t.

Michael:         

(45:37) And Frank any thoughts, you’ve been CIO at Accenture now for 11 years as you leave that role. Any thoughts on advice that you can offer to CIOs who want to emulate the experience that we’ve been discussing today?

Frank:

(45:54)Well I think the point is that Andrew just made are spot on and if you think about it, the world is constantly changing. You have to change with it, you have to embrace the change. I think we all know the individuals who doesn’t have a cellphone or doesn’t have you know, streaming on demand or doesn’t you know, didn’t move forward with technologies – these are the exceptions.

(46:17)The same thing is happening in business. Can you imagine a business today that doesn’t have a website? They are out there, but if you are not becoming more and more digital, someone is going to come by and the technology software, someway somehow is going to eat you up.

(46:39)You’ve got to keep moving. That’s the beauty of technology. It keeps getting better so we can keep doing more things with it and automating things, and taking friction out of business. When you think about your own experiences as a customer of a business, friction is a pain in the neck. No one likes it.

(46:54)Remember your customers don’t like it. Think about your end customers, think about your own people, your employees. The world is changing. It changes very quickly and I think right now we are on the prophecies’ of a new wave of technology that will revolutionize the enterprise. The last 10 years were more consumer centric. The 10 years before that were more enterprise centric. I think we are on this wave – and we’ve talked about some of them today, it’s all coming together and we are probably only a year or two into it and the landscape is going to look completely different in 10 years.

(47:30) No question about it. Embrace the change. It’s going to be a wonderful ride.

Michael:         

(47:35) Well this has been an extraordinary compensation.

Vala:   

(47:40) That was the fastest 50 minutes I think we’ve had on our show.

Michael:         

(47:41) You know the thing that struck me may be the most is when we were talking about gamification and training, and you talk about real-time information.

Vala:   

(47:53) What I love is the innovative ways at Accenture here that they are empowered enough to send their understanding of the business – the two top executives who are running technology at a 275,000 organisation.

Michael:         

(48:08) And basically say, hey guys here is what we’re doing.

(48:15) Well this has been another fantastic show. Vala as always.

Vala:   

(48:21) Thanks very much and also I would like to say thanks to SAP for sponsoring today’s show and Frank and Andrew, you were brilliant thank you very much for joining us.

Michael:         

(48:29) We been talking with Andrew Wilson, who is the present CIO of Accenture, and Frank Modruson, who is the retiring CIO of Accenture, and who’s been there for 11 years. And gentlemen, we can’t thank you enough for joining us and spending the time today, it’s been a wonderful discussion. And everybody who has been watching, I hope you will tune again next time and we are going to have another great show. Thank you very much and have a wonderful weekend, bye bye.

Accenture:                                 www.accenture.com

SAP:                                         www.sap.com

Facebook:                                  www.facebook.com

YouTube:                                   www.youtube.com

Twitter:                                      www.twitter.com

October 13, 2013
Episode: 30