Lessons learned from Accenture's FBI HR modernization project

Accenture has successfully completed the first phase of modernizing the FBI's human resource system, and the project is already giving up lessons on the power of partnership.

“The collaboration that the Accenture team and the FBI team have had throughout this whole process, and the support that the program had all the way up to the senior levels of the FBI organization really resulted in a great outcome,” said Jennifer Pratt, managing director and lead of all of Accenture’s Justice Department work.

Accenture’s new HR Source system provides the FBI with a modern, web-based human resource application for accessing personnel information, benefits and payroll documents, and organization and position management.

But there’s more to it than just implementing a new system.

“A lot of times, these programs struggle. You can have a successful technical solution get deployed, but if the users on the other end aren’t really ready to adopt a solution, you can have a lot of challenges once it’s implemented,” Pratt said.

Accenture made efforts to avoid that. “We did a lot around training and user engagement and outreach throughout the whole program to make sure they were really ready when we implemented the solution,” she said.

Accenture was aided by a team strong in Oracle PeopleSoft – the commercial off-the-shelf solution that the company used during the first phase – as well as those who had expertise on FBI processes in general, Pratt said. The team includes:

  • The Quadrint
  • Buchanan & Edwards
  • DSSI
  • Tsymmetry
  • Federal Data  

Pratt said two important things about the work that Accenture is doing with the FBI; first, this kind of contract emphasizes the importance of the workforce. “There’s an interesting parallel between Accenture and the FBI in this space in that both sides, our workforces are our biggest asset,” Pratt said. “This was about enabling [the FBI] to retain and attract the talent that they need to really achieve their mission the way that they need to in the future.”

Because the workforce is so important, commercial technologies are the way to go because they address challenges in the back office, but also on the mission side, helping clients leverage costs and bringing out efficiencies in the long-term, Pratt said.

The opportunity here is not just with the FBI, either. “Focus on workforce is a strong demand area. Being able to manage your workforce effectively and efficiently is critically important on a number of fronts," Pratt said. "Not just to retain and attract the talent, but also to optimize your workforce from a cost perspective as well."

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at mhoover@washingtontechnology.com, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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