Paul Daugherty, Accenture

Paul Daugherty

The Intersection of Technology and Business

Editors’ Note

Paul Daugherty leads the Technology Innovation & Ecosystem group and is a member of Accenture’s Global Management Committee. In addition, he runs Accenture’s CIO Council of more than 200 global CIOs. Before being named Chief Technology Officer in 2012, Daugherty was Accenture’s Chief Technology Architect. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Avanade and is on the board of directors for Accenture Global Services Limited. Daugherty serves on the board of trustees of the Computer History Museum and on the CIO Advisory Board for NPower. He also helped found the New York Advisory Board of the Academy of Information Technology. Daugherty joined Accenture in 1986 and became a partner in 1999. He earned his bachelor of science degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan.

Company Brief

Accenture (accenture.com) is a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company with approximately 319,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience and comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.

What makes Accenture so successful?

There has never been a time of greater excitement or disruption in information technology than right now, and the disruption is creating great opportunities. Working at the intersection of technology and business is the heart and soul of what we do, and where we have always been able to specialize and drive value for our clients.

We work with leading businesses and governments around the world to help them be more successful in this new environment. We help transform them to take advantage of these new technologies and run their organizations more effectively. We accomplish this by providing a very comprehensive end-to-end set of services that is broader than anybody else can bring to bear in helping our clients with everything from strategy to digital services, and from technology to operations.

The future is coming quickly, and it’s very exciting. The world is becoming increasingly connected, and data is the currency of the new economy, much like energy and natural resources were for the industrial economy. Businesses and IT will be more intelligent, and marked by highly automated business processes incorporating things like robotics and artificial intelligence.

Girls Who Code

Paul Daugherty with Girls Who Code participants

How critical is the role of Chief Tech-nology Officer as part of business strategy?

My role as Chief Technology Officer is to anticipate where we need to take our business as technology changes, and make sure that everything we do from a technology perspective is relevant and positions us to lead as the market continually changes. I’m also responsible for our technology strategy, our research and development, our alliances and partnerships, and the new technology businesses that we launch.

We look at the impact of evolving technology trends through the lens of our Technology Vision. The title of our newest Tech Vision for 2015 is the “Digital Business Era: Stretch Your Boundaries” in which we find that companies are stretching their boundaries by tapping new digital ecosystems and shifting from the “me” to the “we” economy. To be successful at leveraging technology, companies need to ensure they form the right ecosystem to deliver the products and services that their customers are going to want in a digital world, like platform-based business models where a new view of the markets and services becomes very important.

As we look at the implications of these technology trends, we need to continually evolve our services and innovate to make sure we are offering the right mix of services that our clients need to take advantage of the new digital future. We have invested about $800 million in new technology capabilities in areas like cloud services and digital services to help accomplish this and to make sure we’re positioning our business to move forward as the environment changes.

How challenging is it to stay on top of technology?

We approach innovation from several different angles. One is through our formal research and development programs. The Accenture Technology Labs are composed of a group of scientists around the world that are looking three to five years out at what is going to be important. We’re focused on using research to drive results.

In addition to our own R&D, we’re also a big believer in open innovation. We have launched formal programs where we work with the leading universities around the world, the R&D arms of leading technology companies, and with venture capital firms, investors, and start-ups to harvest the best innovation and apply it to our business.

We’re also tapping into the vast pool of knowledge, creativity, and innovative ideas of our employees. For example, to identify the key trends featured in our Tech Vision, we used collaboration technologies and a crowdsourcing approach to launch and run an online contest among Accenture professionals to uncover the most interesting emerging technology themes.

What is the objective behind your commitment to Girls Who Code?

Our partnership with Girls Who Code reflects our commitment to advancing career opportunities for women in technology. In the United States, women represent half of the workforce but hold just 25 percent of technical and computing jobs. Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit that is working to change this by closing the gender gap in technology, specifically in computer science. Through our partnership – and by harnessing the power of our more than 115,000 women around the world – we are helping Girls Who Code do three things: inspire, educate and equip young women with the computing and professional skills they need to pursue technology careers; further expand across the United States; and establish and foster a new online community for their alumni. We know that demand for IT talent will continue to explode across industries in the next decade, and we have a tremendous opportunity to benefit from the untapped skills and experience that talented women can bring to this field.

Do Accenture’s Corporate Citizenship initiatives align with the business?

They’re aligned, however our focus is on helping to create career opportunities for people worldwide, across all industries, by making sure they’re prepared with the right skills for the right jobs so they can actively participate in the economy. Our approximately 319,000 people have a strong passion for their careers and for client service, and they bring that same passion and rigor to our corporate citizenship initiatives. A great example is our Skills to Succeed initiative. Together with our strategic partners, we aim to equip more than three million people with the skills to get a job or build a business, while increasing our focus on an individual’s successful transition from skill-building programs to sustainable jobs and businesses.•