No lost jobs at Accenture despite automation and upskilling

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Tech outsourcing firm Accenture said it has not taken away jobs since it mounted a massive year-round training program to upskill its employees for more challenging and meaningful tasks harnessing automation and artificial intelligence (AI).

Accenture’s Intelligent Operations Trailer which will tour Metro Manila to show automation, robotics, and AI at work

The announcement was made by Accenture group operating officer Manish Sharma and operations lead in the Philippines Benedict Hernandez during a media briefing at Barcino in Uptown Parade, Bonifacio Global City on June 14.

“Even though we have been automating at significant levels for years,” said Hernandez, “nobody has really lost any jobs.”

On the contrary, not only have jobs at Accenture been upscaled; they have also increased, the company said.

According to Sharma, automation improves process quality and control systems while decreasing its lead time. It also improves compliance and raises employees’ quality of life.

“We want to give our people higher value-added jobs rather than boring jobs,” he said. “So we wanted to move all the mundane part of the job and give them only jobs which are intellectually stimulating.”

Hernandez shared that a lot of the company’s automation tools and processes were done by staff who used to be in operations. But since they had been trained and certified, they now understand process automation and can perform coding to enable automation.

Citing nurses as an example, Hernandez pointed out that they used to do clinical BPO. But after undergoing training, they are now doing more automation and AI work. Their knowledge of the healthcare system and their clinician backgrounds aid them in coming up with improved AI technologies, he said.

“They can become automation experts, business advisers, cloud experts, AI experts. That is the shift that we are doing,” said Sharma, adding that Accenture’s attrition rate has since gone down significantly. In fact, the company had the lowest attrition rate in the industry.

Automation and AI, along with smart analytics, are part and parcel of applied intelligence which is one of the ingredients of “Intelligent Operations”, the company said. The others are innovative talent, data-driven backbone, cloud computing, and a smart partnership ecosystem which brings together complementary skills between partners and the latest technologies to drive stronger business growth.

(From left) Accenture operations lead in the Philippines Benedict Hernandez, group operating officer Manish Sharma, and marketing and communications managing director Louise Sabariaga officially open the Intelligent Operations Trailer

To illustrate Intelligent Operations, Accenture launched its Intelligent Operations Trailer following the media briefing. Inside the trailer are some of the company’s tools for automation such as the Robotic Process Automation for finance and accounting services, the Chat Chameleon for real-time translation of 40 languages, and Mood Meter for intelligence marketing.

Accenture will bring the trailer to key areas in Metro Manila to show the public some examples of automation, robotics, and AI. “We want to demystify to some extent what AI and robotics are, by showing them real examples of things that are already happening today,” said Hernandez.

According to a study conducted by Accenture and analyst firm HfS Research, enterprises using Intelligent Operations are better equipped to overcome digital disruption, enhance customer experience, and yield excellent business outcomes amid the onslaught of emerging technologies.

The study had a total of 460 respondents from Accenture enterprise clients all over the world involved in buying decisions in connection with technology and services.

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