Accenture and ServiceNow launch global skills training partnership


We previously blogged about our strategic partnership with Accenture and promised to take you behind the scenes of this flourishing collaboration. It’s such an ambitious and successful project that we want to provide a view of the scope and innovation involved to help other businesses on their digital transformation journeys.

One of the key aspects to understand is that this isn’t a straightforward technology integration or sales partnership. We’re not plugging what we’ve already got into a new framework and rebadging our offering. Instead, ServiceNow and Accenture are offering a new approach to delivering digital transformation projects. 

We are building from the ground up and investing in each other’s capabilities. We are training ourselves and leveraging unique resources like the Accenture Cloud Innovation Centre in Rome, where customers can build, test, and implement cloud solutions. By going back to the fundamentals, we can come up with new ways to tackle the huge challenges businesses are facing today—that will only get more difficult tomorrow.

Chris Pope, global VP of innovation at ServiceNow,  recently highlighted education as a significant building block when it comes to realising the full potential of digital transformation. As such, it forms a big part of our partnership with Accenture.

Real-world experience to bridge the skills gap
There are important questions that need to be answered if we are to deliver on our corporate goal of creating the new digital workflows that unlock the full potential of today’s workforce and solve the sector-specific challenges that businesses are facing.

These questions include: 

  • Who will be delivering these projects on the frontline?
  • What skills do they need to have? 
  • How do we accelerate learning so customers and employees can quickly see the benefits? 
  • How can we help businesses extract the full value of the Now Platform®?

Of course, there are a huge number of computer science courses available today, but there is a gap between those courses and real-world digital transformation projects. Typically, new graduates will need to go through three to six months of academic training before they are set to work as fully-fledged consultants on a live project. There is almost no way for new recruits to get the specific, hands-on training they need to be successful unless we give them that experience.

Our goal is to accelerate that process and get the brightest graduates delivering real-world benefits in a fraction of the time. That’s why we created the new Accenture ServiceNow Academy programme—a new way of training students to become consultants who will be the digital transformation leaders of the future. 

The power of mistakes
At the heart of our academy methodology for turning students into consultants is embracing the power of mistakes. Digital transformation is incredibly complex. Making mistakes is how students will learn the best strategies and techniques for leading projects. 

As a result, we are intentionally creating an environment where students can be put through their paces on real-world challenges—where errors will likely occur. This isn’t a test to trip up students, but rather an approach that gives them permission to be wrong, as we know this will accelerate the learning process.

Recently, we completed a trial of this new academy programme with our first cohort of students in Madrid, where months of learning was condensed into a four-week course. The crucial difference versus typical training courses was that our academic training was consolidated into the first two weeks of the course, while the remaining time was spent working on real-world tasks. This “learning through doing” period included instruction provided by both ServiceNow and Accenture.

Absolutely stunning results
The results have been absolutely stunning. All of our students successfully completed the course and started work as junior consultants the next day—on live projects—with minimal supervision. 

Critically, the new consultants have highlighted how comfortable they felt moving onto customer projects straight after the completion of the course. The acceleration in their personal development was an opportunity they all embraced. Several of the former students said they were “pinching themselves” because they were so happy to be working on live customer projects soon after finishing the programme. 

Equally satisfying, customers have commented to us that these new consultants are incredibly impressive. 

Delivering in-depth skill training at scale
The academy programme is just one example of the innovation that we are generating within the Accenture and ServiceNow partnership. Following the success of the trial, we expect to train another 200 students in the next six months. There is a long-term plan to usher as many as 5,000 new students through the academy.

From the recognition that graduate trainees with more tangible real-world skills are needed, we created a hugely ambitious and innovative global education programme. 

ServiceNow is now busy running “train the trainers” sessions for Accenture across Europe and the US. And Accenture is busy identifying the best locations for the next students to embark on the course. This is an excellent example of how to deliver in-depth skills training at scale.

The Accenture ServiceNow Academy is just one aspect our strategic partnership. Be sure to read our next blog to learn about another example of how we are delivering more meaningful services to help customers solve their transformation challenges.

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