Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 13: Accenture and Sapient

Thursday, January 11, 2007. It has been a long week of traveling on the bus. Yesterday we were sitting for about 5 hours on our journeys between companies. It was a long day!

Accenture – Our first stop today was at Accenture where
Lin Chase, the lab’s Director gave us a wonderful tour. I was surprised by the fact that Accenture has such an impressive technology lab in India. I assumed they were more of a BPO or KPO operation servicing clients. They do that, but the most impressive part was the technology. Accenture’s technology Research & Development team explores how our clients can leverage emerging technologies from around the world and integrate into their businesses to build and succeed in new markets. Accenture employs over 150 people in several global labs (United States, France and India). From the Accenture website, we learn that:

“Accenture Technology Labs, the technology research and development (R&D)
organization within Accenture, has been turning technology innovation into
business results for 20 years. Our R&D team explores new and emerging
technologies that are one to five years out, and uses them to create prototypes
and cutting-edge solutions that will help organizations maximize performance in
the future.”
This company visit really was exciting because we had a chance to see this work in progress. We were able to interact with the prototypes. If you are ever in Chicago’s O’Hare airport, check out the Accenture wall near the K gates. It is a great example of some of the work coming out of these labs. Gone are the days when India should be thought of as only capable of such outsourcing as call centers – the work being done here truly is making the world seem a bit smaller, making use of global talent. Check it out!

Sapient – White boards everywhere! This company has one of the most impressive cultures of the companies we visited. The culture is one of open communication and commitment to constant brainstorming and thinking. To facilitate this, all the wall space is covered with dry-erase white boards. There are schedules, thoughts, to-do lists, even smily faces, frowns and other ways to show how you feel at the end of the day. Constant
feedback is also quite important. To show how this is truly part of the culture, the managers who led our discussion began the meeting with asking us to provide our expectations – which they listed on the board. At the end of the discussions and tours, they asked us for feedback and also gave us some feedback. What a great experience.

Perhaps what I have enjoyed most about the trip to India is the ability to experience many different company cultures and gather some thoughts on what the most advanced global firms are doing to remain competitive – both in the market and as employers of choice.

After the long day of meetings and bus travel, we were all able to meet as a group for a farewell Dinner at the hotel. It was great to reminisce on the past weeks. To finish off the evening, we all met for drinks at the 13th Floor in downtown Banaglore. We had a great view of the city and were all able to relax.