Accenture tears down walls to create innovative workplaces

Accenture is bringing high tech to the art of rolling up your sleeves and brainstorming.
The company is opening a new office that uses leading-edge collaboration technology to allow that brainstorming to involve local coworkers and colleagues across the country or around the world.
The new centre at Calgary's Sunlife Plaza North Tower, is in a city where it already had a number of high profile clients, largely in the resource sector.
The company is hoping its innovative use of space, which also uses environmentally friendly components, will become a model for others.
Luke O'Regan, Accenture's managing director in Calgary (image above), said the company's client list and their growing requirements meant Accenture needed a different type of space to do business in Calgary, where they have just over 200 local employees.
“The way we do that is by bringing ideas from all over the world to our clients here,” O'Regan said in an interview. “The best way to make that happen is to use technology and spaces that allow them to easily access people around the world, and even across Canada to really collaborate and create those innovative ideas.”

Accenture blends technology into the furniture at its new Calgary office
Better ways to work
While many businesses are using technology to find better ways to work, Accenture has changed the game in Calgary by establishing an office that tears down the traditional walls and uses leading-edge collaborative technology that in some cases is built into the furniture.
Accenture's office space moves away from the traditional structure of corner offices and workspaces into wide-open territory. “As I think of other companies in Calgary in the real estate space, I almost think it's essential that they start to build places that are just like this,” he said.
“About 85 per cent of our office is open space. There's no reserved offices, there's no offices with names on it or a coat hook on the door. Everything is reservable as you arrive. One day you might be working in a cubicle and another you might be working in a team space or an enclosed office,” he explained. “That kind of environment is different from what I see in most corporate environments, where you get to a floor and you see mostly enclosed offices with a few conference rooms.”
O'Regan said the key to Accenture's style of working space is its ability to be flexible with everyone having access to plug and play technology and access to video conferencing, multiple screens, all in a collaborative setting.
“How do we make a place that allows executives to mingle with people from all the different teams, sharing ideas and teleconferencing with their peers around the world? That was our motivation, and we've achieved that through a wonderful unique space.”

An office kitchen as a workplace solution proposed by Accenture
Leading the way for the environment
Karen Pelletier, Accenture Canada's director of workplace solutions, said the company also places a high priority on the environment.
“As we build our new spaces we do follow LEED standards,” Pelletier said in an interview. “We do try to be in LEED certified buildings as well globally.” “There's a huge focus on the environment from every type of material that we use in construction from low VOC paints (Volatile Organic Compounds) to recycled carpeting.”
She said they have also tried to ensure that when changing locations, furniture and other things that are no longer needed are donated to charities for reuse.
Pelletier said the company measures the effect of following green practices. “I wouldn't say that it is necessarily cheaper or more expensive, but it is important enough to Accenture that we do it.”
O'Regan added that following the innovative type of layout that the Calgary office uses doesn't necessarily mean a corporation could reduce its office space footprint. “What it does is drive much higher productivity for your existing workforce,” he said. “It really provides a way for people to get together an increase productivity, increase thought and innovation and work towards creating shareholder value.”
Shareholder value is something that his company knows something about.
Toronto facility focuses on SAP
The global management firm, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange as ACN-N , specializes in consulting, technology and outsourcing with approximately 259,000 people working with clients in more than 120 countries. Accenture's company reports state it generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012.
The Calgary office is Accenture's second venture to open in Canada this year. In January, it opened an office in Toronto focusing on business solutions based on SAP technology, aimed at helping Canadian businesses “increase speed to market, enhance flexibility, and improve business performance.”
Accenture's Innovation Centre for SAP Solutions in Toronto concentrates on growth industries, such as mining, banking, the public sector, consumer goods and retail.
“With our global expertise and local knowledge, we can deliver end-to-end technology solutions based on SAP (Systems Applications and Products) software to help process and manage growing amounts of data, ultimately driving better results for business and governments,” Wayne Ingram, Managing Director of Technology at Accenture's Canadian operations, said at the time.



Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

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Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

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