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India Teams 2019

Accenture

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    India Teams 2019

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    About

    Can you briefly explain how the legal team is structured, highlighting key individuals and their role within the department?

    The team consists of 21 legal professionals in India. In addition, there are 15 legal resources from Global Legal Network supporting the legal team. Global Legal Network is a strong team who deliver a comprehensive suite of legal services to Accenture around the world supporting the legal team. The senior legal team includes Global Delivery Network supported by Shahnaz Ahmed, compliances supported by Cheriachen Akkatt, employment law compliance, supported by Himanshu Mathur, employment relations, supported by Valarmati Selvaraj, corporate investigations supported by Soundara Rajan, IP matters, supported by Renju Hariharan, and domestic practice (B2B contracts) supported by Jatin Gupta.

    What technology has the team utilised to drive internal efficiencies?

    The legal team at Accenture has been leading and driving change for Accenture India and has successfully front-ended initiatives encompassing transformational, uniqueness and complexity. One of the most important areas where technology is leveraged to create synergies to bring in productivity and efficiency is a compliance tracking tool. Accenture’s legal team has been instrumental in making major changes in the compliance monitoring process – a shift from a traditional paradigm to a technology driven approach. Close to 4,500 compliance procedures covering nine states and 59 facilities were automated through a comprehensive compliance tracking tool. Salient features of the tool include its enactment repository which acts as central repository of enactments and requirements for each function. It has the ability to track the history of function inputs and a reports dashboard which gives a monthly compliance score and can be broken down to particular functions and states. Our Non-Standard Software Request (NSSR) tool is a compliance tool that ensures we are compliant with license agreements, and client’s contractual provisions as well as applicable local laws and regulations when we use a non-standard software. This tool caters to the entire process starting from a request. NSSR’s salient features includes a legal review, a compliance tool and database and the ability to install and regulate the use of non-standard software after undergoing a legal review, triggering automated tasks for stakeholders based on the defined workflows. It also has the capability to ensure that Accenture’s use of software complies with software licensing agreement, laws, internal policies and alliance agreements thus mitigating risks when using software on Accenture-owned devices. Accenture’s Indian legal team along with the technology team has also created a tool known as the Force Majeure (FM) Repository tool to host key contractual obligations that can be accessible globally. This tool has consolidated all key contractual obligations including FM and BCP obligations for easy access and knowledge sharing during any eventuality. The primary interface of the tool displays a holistic view of the entire repository presenting key details related to delivery facility, client, country, city, client project, contractual provisions and enables report extraction onto an excel sheet for filtering and extracting information. The tool is further enhanced by using BOT and artificial intelligence to extract the required details from the contract.

    What other ways does the legal team add value to the company?

    While technology can be one component of the transformation to add value, there are other attributes within the legal function that can add value such as the team’s operational strategy, building on individual strengths and revisiting the processes for being relevant. As a legal team, we are aligned to Accenture’s global initiatives delivering transformational outcomes for a demanding a new digital world. The Accenture legal team has been analysing the regulatory aspects of delivering niche and high-end technology services in India. Our knowledge of how the legal environment is developing is clearly demonstrated by the way we have provided valuable advice on strategic transactions and key business initiatives and acted as a “differentiator”. Strategic priorities are levers critical to the success of the function and we need to embrace those in all that we do. A few key things that shape our function and contributes value include first pro-actively identifying, and adopting, opportunities that create step changes in quality and productivity; second, partnering with the business in generating, delivering and harvesting major value initiatives; and third, making smart investments – in people, processes and technologies. Most importantly, we always needs to act as stewards of the core values and ethical practices, making integrity a natural part of our operations and culture. Our input has also catalysed progress in Accenture’s inclusion and diversity initiatives. Our counsel on gender diversity, LGBT rights at the workplace and in creating an inclusion and diversity programme helped Accenture in ensuring an inclusive, open, collaborative and equitable work environment, irrespective of an individual’s background, needs and expectations. What major external trends do you think will impact your team’s work in the foreseeable future (market developments, changing regulatory environment, political events etc.) and why? Technology is one of the trends that is changing the traditional way legal works, be it either artificial intelligence, text analytics or block chain technology for instance. Start-ups is another area which is working on the most disruptive technologies and are helping legal automate its workflows and the decision making process by implementing next-generation AI to analyse contracts and also automate manual repetitive tasks through cognitive process automation. Technology is definitely going to be one of the buzz words for the future. With the changing business environment, we have a structured legal approach and solutions to meet the growth and – “start fast and adapt fast” is the mantra along with agility and resilience to manage the complexities.

    How can external legal providers improve their services in India?

    Few expectations of external legal providers include understanding of the client’s business; identifying the client’s requirements and expectations; and having a cost effective pyramid whilst being time bound.

    Focus on… It’s very clear that general counsel are now expected to run their legal function like a business. As the lead India counsel, laser eye focus is needed to create and nurture a team blending cross-domain expertise and experiences cutting across various facets of law that clinically addresses the requirements of the organisation. Further, I advise and encourage the team to be “business advisors” and remain relevant without merely limiting ourselves to “legal advisors”. This has helped my team members to transform their legal acumen to business judgment which not only contributes to the overall efficiency of the organisation but also for the professional growth of every individual team member.

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