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Accenture CIO Modruson Is Not Just Putting Out Fires

Accenture CIO Modruson Is Not Just Putting Out Fires

Accenture CIO Frank Modruson is surrounded by IT experts, but the part-time firefighter still finds time to think about new approaches to collaboration

Modruson says the company has created an "integrated toolset for instant messaging, email, voice and video, along with knowing people's presence".

"It's really cool. I was working with a company on the east coast and we had got together to have a coffee in Starbucks and did a video session with a colleague in Chicago," he says.

Sharing knowledge

Another collaboration project involves a knowledge management system that is a "Facebook equivalent" where users can post pictures of themselves and list areas of expertise. According to Modruson, the system is already paying dividends.

"There was a manager in London that needed some skills in digital asset management," he reports. "Within minutes he'd found the expert and within an hour they were talking."

Other projects include Media Exchange (a "YouTube for Accenture"); a shared storage utility called Big File Send that takes the weight off the corporate email system; a utility for helping users get the most out of Microsoft Outlook; a social bookmarking website; a virtual org chart; a wiki for Accenture; and even an application called Percenture that tells staff the percentage of people who have joined after them. What is most remarkable is the speed at which these tools are being used.

"It's interesting feedback. I told two people about [Percenture] and within days 3000 people had used it. It was shooting about the company," Modruson says.

Another push under the collaboration umbrella is in videoconferencing, where Accenture uses tools including Microsoft RoundTable for telepresence systems in 13 locations, with 20 more coming and more planned after that. Here, experience has shown that boldness in adding nodes leads to exponential increases in utilization.

"It's Metcalfe's Law," he says, recalling 3Com founder Robert Metcalfe's rule that the value of a network grows in proportion to the square of the number of users. "When we had two nodes we had low utilization but when we added 10 more..."

Modruson says that conferencing systems offer a huge human advantage, relating the story of a recent conference between Chicago and Frankfurt.

"I had to get in the office early [for the conference session] but normally I would have flown the day before and basically spent three days there for a one-hour meeting, and suffered jetlag."

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Tags IT managementsocial networkingTelecommunications

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