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A team of Filipino IT professionals is responsible for creating Accenture’s own social networking tool that allows collaboration among the company’s workers worldwide. Aptly called Accenture People, it resembles popular social networking sites, much like Facebook, and allows employees to create their own profiles. But more than a listing of hobbies and other personal interests, these profiles provide a glimpse of each employee’s role in Accenture, including technical expertise and the projects in which he or she was involved. For a global company with numerous businesses like Accenture, the idea to simply make everyone familiar with each other’s background and then encourage knowledge sharing. In the Philippines alone, Accenture has around 15000 workers doing management consulting, system integration and BPO (business process outsourcing). In terms of size, the Philippines is behind only to the United States and India in Accenture’s global network. “ One of the challenges for us is collaboration,” said Michael Duff, project manager for Accenture Philippines, who leads a six-man team that developed Accenture People.

“ Different teams within Accenture have been using tools before that allow people to share knowledge on projects. This time, we put everything into a single system,” added Duff, who has been with Accenture for more than eight years. The idea for a Web-based tool like Accenture People resulted from a leadership development program held in the United States. Since a local team was responsible for some of Accenture’s presence on the Internet—including the main Accenture webpage and Accenture Careers—the task of building a social networking tool fell into Duff’s team. Accenture People was launched only last December but Duff estimates about one-third Accenture’s entire global workforce of about 175, 000 people have already created profiles.

That includes Accenture’s chairman and CEO Bill Green. Duff recalls an instance when someone working for Accenture in London got in touch with him and asked for his help on a particular technology both were using. Like Friendster or MySpace, employees can create blogs and participate in discussion forums—usually best practices and “ tips and tricks” on tasks like programming code, according to Duff—to ask for help on certain projects. For less technical matters, the search button alone makes for a very useful tool for Annbel Tierro, who heads Accenture’s system integration unit in the Philippines. “ I get to do a lot of conference calls in a day. It helps to at least have an idea what the person I am talking to looks like or what his or her interests are,” said Tierro. “ We have speakers who regularly come here so even before they arrive, at least I am already familiar with their roles and achievements in the company.

Source: Reprinted from Lawrence Casiraya. “ Filipino team builds Accenture’s internal ‘ Facebook,’” Inquirer. net (February 14. 2008).

1. How does the Accenture People site help Accenture better serve its customers? 2. How successful do you think Accenture will be at getting its employees to create their profiles? 3. Can you see any drawbacks related to employees creating their own profiles?