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Interview with Roxanne Taylor, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

What’s your growth emphasis?

We are always focused on evolving our business to be even more relevant, differentiated, and competitive, and to lead with innovation in everything we do. We have aligned Accenture around five distinct businesses, transformed the services we offer, and increased our investments in new and high-growth areas.

Our five businesses—Accenture Strategy, Accenture Consulting, Accenture Digital, Accenture Technology and Accenture Operation—are each highly competitive in their own right as well as synergistic in delivering value for our clients. Today, the breadth of capabilities we provide is truly unique in the marketplace—from being relevant in the boardroom to delivering cutting-edge technologies to operating services on behalf of clients.

We have rapidly shifted our business to what we call “The New,” which we define as digital-related, cloud-related and security-related services, all underpinned and enabled by new, innovative technology. As proof of our success, “The New” together accounted for about $13.5 billion in revenue (or 40 percent of our total revenues) in fiscal year 2016, up from approximately 30 percent of revenues just a year ago.

As a result of our actions, we are driving differentiation for Accenture in the marketplace, capturing significant market share,and making Accenture the most relevant professional services company leading in the new digital world.

What is the most significant and exciting growth initiative that Accenture has undertaken this year?

We continue to grow and evolve our business organically—as evidenced by the double-digit revenue growth we have delivered in the past two fiscal years. In addition, we continue to make significant investments in our business, including investing more than $930 million of capital in acquisitions during our most recent fiscal year 2016.

Two recent acquisitions really stand out. First, is our acquisition of Cloud Sherpas—a global leader in cloud advisory and technology services—which further strengthened our position as the leading cloud services provider. Second is our acquisition of Maglan, a cybersecurity company dedicated to cyber defense R&D. Our focus is to help clients become more resilient in today’s digital world.

In addition, we continue to invest in new capabilities that will drive growth for us and our clients—for example, virtual agents, robotics, and drones.

We’re living in a time where disruption is paramount. What is Accenture doing to ensure you remain in a constant state of disruption/innovation?

We have an ongoing imperative to drive innovation across our business and to help our clients imagine and invent the future. The Accenture Innovation Architecture is a unique approach that enables us to combine our capabilities across our company to invent, develop and deliver disruptive innovations to clients faster—grounded in the context of the client’s industry and the challenges they face. The Accenture Innovation Architecture includes the following elements:

Accenture Research – anticipate and identify future business, market and technology trends.

Accenture Ventures – accelerate development of emerging technologies through investments in growth-stage companies.

Accenture Labs – incubate and prototype new concepts through applied R&D projects.

Accenture Studios – build innovative solutions with speed and agility.

Accenture Innovation Centers – scale re-use of our assets and use cases.

Accenture Delivery Centers – industrialize selling and delivering our innovations.

How do you identify opportunities for growth and get your organization ready to seize each opportunity?

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. We are always anticipating, identifying and looking to capitalize on the next waves of growth and innovation. For example, we believe Artificial Intelligence will be a game changer. We are focused in that space in the same way that we are currently leading in the cutting-edge areas of digital, cloud and security.

Growth is also about changing employees’ mindset and making sure you’ve got the right capabilities and systems to deliver. How do you do so and become a growth-led organization?

At Accenture, we’re on a journey to revolutionize how we help our people be their best. It involves moving performance “management” backstage and bringing performance “achievement” center stage. In an age where millennials dominate the workforce and digital has transformed the workplace, the old ways of employee engagement simply don’t cut it.

So the changes we are making at Accenture puts people at the center, at an individual level, more than ever before. Our people are looking for real-time, on-demand conversations to define priorities and to get and give feedback—and we are putting this power in their hands to set the rhythm for conversations they need to be successful. This new approach is entirely digitally-enabled so that conversations can happen anywhere, anytime and on any device. This is the new world all of us are operating in—with fluid feedback at the point of need. In many ways, digital and social technologies are both the essence and the enabler of the change we’re going through.

Putting our people at the center and helping them to achieve their best is part of our talent-led DNA. Ultimately, we are creating an experience and environment for all people to continuously learn and grow.

In your opinion, what drives brand growth?

Brand growth is driven by a promise to our clients. We promise them a certain level of experience and quality in return for their loyalty. Clients know they are going to get the very best from Accenture which reduces their uncertainty and risk. The same is true for new recruits who join Accenture. They have a choice and to attract new talent to the organization—we need to demonstrate that we live our core values and that Accenture is a great place to have a career. And of course, we must also engage our people and demonstrate the same—once they join the company.

The ability of a brand to deliver on its promise and provide reassurance to clients is crucial in a B2B setting, where B2B branding relies on making an emotional connection with stakeholders every bit as much as—or maybe even more than—consumer branding. The emotions are just different. Strong B2B brands connect to people on a human level, drawing on the core values of the brand to demonstrate a commitment to clients.

In essence, the Accenture brand opens doors to client opportunities and attracts the best and brightest to join our team. And as we continue to grow our business in new and high-growth areas, the brand equity we have enables us to move into new market space with immediate credibility.

Smart investors know that brand value is a critical, though intangible, element of any company’s balance sheet.

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