Cushman & Wakefield hires Accenture for back office transformation

05 September 2016 Consultancy.uk

Real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield has launched a large scale back office transformation. The new operating model will be supported by Workday technology, with consultants from Accenture brought on board to run the implementation programme.

With over 43,000 employees in more than 60 countries, Cushman & Wakefield is one of the globe’s largest commercial real estate services firms. The company, founded in 1917 and headquartered in ‎Chicago, supports clients with property advisory, agency leasing, asset services, capital markets, facility services, global occupier services, investment & asset management, project & development services, tenant representation, and valuation.

In a bid to improve the performance of its back office, the property advisor has launched a major overhaul of its operating model for a range of processes, including HR, finance and accounting, enabled by digital, analytic, and cloud capabilities. “In today’s increasingly competitive business environment, companies must be efficient and agile. This program is about introducing world-class financial processes and controls through technology-based services, enabling us to innovate and make highly-informed business decisions on behalf of our clients around the globe”, explains Duncan Palmer, Cushman & Wakefield’s global Chief Financial Officer.

Cushman & Wakefield hires Accenture

To support the redesign work, Cushman & Wakefield has hired Accenture to provide consulting services to help the company design and implement standardised HR and finance back-office processes. Design activity is already underway – adoption of the new delivery models is expected to kick off at the end of this year. Terry Moore, Senior Managing Director at Accenture, says the firm is pleased to support Cushman & Wakefield “in this important global transformation project”, adding “By embracing new delivery models and leading digital and analytic capabilities, Cushman & Wakefield can enhance its focus on superior client service and new solutions.”

The new delivery model will be supported by the deployment of two Workday solutions – Workday Financial Management (FM) and Workday Human Capital Management (HCM). “The unified Workday system provides access to finance and people data in one place and gives Cushman & Wakefield the many advantages of the most up to-date metrics on its global business”, states Palmer. 

After go-live, Cushman & Wakefield will outsource the in-scope back office processes to Accenture, a move, which, according to Palmer, will lower the operational costs and boost the overall service quality. Once the full transition is completed, the firm will be enabled to more effectively capture growth opportunities across its global footprint, as well as reap the benefits from a better-defined risk management strategy and a stronger control framework.

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.