Accenture Song restructures to ‘deliver at the speed of opportunity’

David Droga: There will be more opportunity for collaboration because of the simplified model

Accenture Song is restructuring its eight global divisions into four practices.

Speaking to Campaign UK after announcing the changes to staff, David Droga, chief executive of Accenture Song, said the new structure would allow the group, which grew revenues by 14% in its last financial year, to move with “more haste, more confidence and more impact”.

When Accenture Interactive relaunched as Accenture Song in April 2022 it had four solutions (internally known as functions) and four expertise specialist groups. The solutions comprised: growth & product innovation; marketing; commerce; and sales & service. The expertise groups included design, build, communications and intelligence.

The new practices will be: marketing, which comprises the parts of Song that build brands, including through advertising; design & digital products, which will create products, services and experiences; commerce, which will help businesses scale and optimise their sales proposition; and service, which will work with clients on their relationship with customers.

Droga said: “All I’ve done is moved us from what was eight different practices or capabilities down into four. This is not about downsizing people. There [isn’t] collateral damage to this. The structure was unnecessarily complex. And that might have been a by-product of the success of what was Accenture Interactive.

“The next advantage of growth is now I can do the right thing. So, I’ve streamlined it to, ‘What do we do; and how do we show up; and what makes sense to our clients.’ I don’t want anything that has to be explained. If any part of any meeting is explaining what we do and why we’re structured that way, then that’s wasted space.

“I’ve tried to do it in a way where everyone knows where they sit and what role they play. There’s more opportunity for collaboration in the alchemy of what is sold because of the compressed and simplified model.”

‘A position of strength’

Accenture Song is not the only marketing services group to simplify itself globally recently. WPP announced last month it would merge Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R, both products of previous consolidations, to create a new entity, named VML.

Droga distances his changes from restructures at many other businesses, though he declined to cite any by name.

WPP reported that revenues less pass-through costs (its preferred measure) declined 0.6% between July and September 2023.

Song’s revenues rose 14% to $18bn (£15bn) in the 12 months to 31 August 2023.

Droga said: “When I talk about refinement and streamlining and simplifying our model, I mean that from a position of strength. But those terms have been ruined by so many companies using them as a veneer or code for, ‘Things aren’t going well, and we’re downsizing’. That’s not what this is about. This is the exact opposite.

“I know it’s convenient to compare us against the holding companies and in many places we do show up against them. But that’s only a fraction of who we compete against. We compete against the other consultants as much we compete against the hold cos, and as much as we compete against other platforms.

“That’s one of the advantages that we have, which is why we’re growing double digit. The steps that I’ve made are not a short-term fix. It’s something that is, in hindsight, very obvious, and is structured, so we can be evergreen.”

When Campaign UK asked when the new structure will be in place, Droga said: “At our scale, the most important part is to implement [the changes] with consistency and clarity. So, we’re taking the next couple of months. It helps to have a pretty amazing internal transformation team. [Transformation is] something we’re used to doing with our clients. So we should be experts on how to do it ourselves.”

A version of this article first appeared on Campaign UK