Accenture Rx: health care market

Accenture Ltd.

Headquarters: Hamilton, Bermuda; U.S. head office, Illinois

Leadership: William Green, chief executive officer

Head of global government unit: Martin Cole

2003 revenue: $11.8 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2003

2003 global government revenue: $1.6 billion (includes U.S. federal, state and local, and foreign)

Washington Technology Top 100 rank: 24

Employees: 95,000 in 48 countries

Lines of business: Technology research and development, business intelligence, computer resource management, enterprise integration and solutions, finance and performance management, global sourcing, human performance, Microsoft solutions, mobile solutions, outsourcing, radio frequency identification, security solutions, strategic delivery model, strategy and business architecture, supply chain management, technical architectures and Web services

Major U.S. federal customers: Education and Homeland Security departments, IRS, NASA, Air Force, Defense Logistics Agency and Postal Service

Martin Cole is the new chief executive of Accenture Ltd.'s government unit.

Susan Whitney-Wilkerson

New government leader sees expanding opportunities

The new chief executive of Accenture Ltd.'s government unit is looking to health care services as a key area for growth as the company brings its international experience to the United States.

Martin Cole took the reins of Accenture's government operation group Sept. 1, replacing Stephen Rohleder, who was promoted to chief operating officer of the entire company.

Accenture of Hamilton, Bermuda, is projecting that its global government business will have brought in close to $2 billion in fiscal 2004, which ended Aug. 31. The $2 billion figure includes all U.S. and foreign government work.

In an interview outlining his plans for the government group, Cole also identified enterprise resource planning and systems to replace retiring government workers as other growing business opportunities.

After willing the 10-year, $10 billion U.S. Visit contract in May, the company also expects to see its share of the homeland security pie increase.

But Accenture won't see significant revenue from the U.S. Visit project to track foreign visitors as they enter and leave the United States until after 2004 and 2005, Cole said.

On the health care front, Accenture is eyeing opportunities with agencies such as Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services and the Defense departments. These agencies provide health care services directly to citizens and will need help improving service delivery, Cole said.

The company is hoping to expand its U.S. presence by tapping into its international experience, Cole said.

For example, Accenture Plc., the parent company's U.K. unit, won a nearly $2 billion, 10-year contract last December from the U.K.'s National Health Service.

The company will design, build and manage key information systems to support patient care and services in local communities in the northeastern part of the country. A new NHS Care Records Service will be the central part of the systems platform.

"There are significant opportunities here in the United States to deploy some of those same technologies and some of those same solutions," said Cole, who oversees Accenture's federal portfolio for governments around the world.

"The challenge in our health service delivery model is different, but the fact [is] that we have experience, we're gaining experience there and [our] people are developing credentials and expertise," he said.

Ray Bjorklund, senior vice president at market research firm Federal Sources Inc., pointed to several key agencies that need health-related IT services.

Health and Human Services is looking for systems to prevent Medicaid fraud and to handle the homeland security aspects of the public health system and drug certification, he said.

The Defense Department will need help with its Tricare Online military health system computing infrastructure, while Veteran Affairs has expanding needs in patient records privacy.

"The need to mitigate the rising cost of health care, the increasing complexity of federal regulations in managing Medicaid and the requirements for patient privacy under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are driving factors," Bjorklund said.

HIPAA is the 1996 act that requires electronic transactions among health care professionals while safeguarding the security and confidentiality of patients' health information.

"To a lesser degree, there will also be emerging requirements for disaster planning and response in the state and municipal public health systems," he said.

Enterprise resource planning, or ERP, systems, especially in financial reporting and logistics and supply-chain systems in defense-related areas, will continue to be in great demand as well, Cole said.

"The government has been moving over the last several years to streamline and get more consistent financial reporting systems," he said.

The last area Cole has targeted for potential growth is the delivery of systems to replace an aging federal workforce that will retire in increasing numbers over the next several years.

Staff Writer Roseanne Gerin can be reached at rgerin@postnewsweektech.com.

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