Case Study Review of Accenture's
Global Knowledge Management System
Joseph M. Mitchell
University of Maryland University College
Accenture is one of the world's largest management consultancies, employing over 75,000 people in 48 countries with net revenues in excess of 11.8 billion (Paik & Choi, 2005). The company operates in a highly competitive global business environment with firms such as McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group and, in the area of information technology (IT) outsourcing, competes with companies like IBM, CSC and EDS (Paik & Choi, 2005). As a major global player, Accenture's business environment has also been transformed by contemporary shifts in the global economy. The collapse of the dotcoms' and the economic slowdown associated with 9/11 have created a more challenging environment for management consultancy and as a result Accenture has attempted to evolve their business structure through the use of knowledge management (KM).
Accenture considers knowledge, especially KM, to be a core capability for achieving competitive advantage, spending more than $500 million on IT and staff's over 500 people to facilitate their KM system (Paik & Choi, 2005). Analytical knowledge, or knowledge and intelligence that is drawn from the experiences of particular client assignments, is one of the most important forms of knowledge for the company. Whereas previously this kind of knowledge may simply have been collected and added to a relatively static database or library, Accenture now concentrates on more highly skilled and operationally experienced KM professionals interpreting, assessing and classifying this kind of knowledge (Paik & Choi, 2005).
Traditionally, KM had been sponsored and managed by industry groups, service lines or geographic regions that resulted in a somewhat segregated approach (Smith, 1998). This meant that project teams might be contacted by a number of different KM
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