The Accenture Challenge

In 2019, myself and four other graduate students competed in and won the Accenture Challenge at Ball State University. Once a year, the Center for Information and Communication Sciences collaborates with Accenture, an international consulting and processing firm with over 500,000 employees worldwide.

The winning teams of the 2019 Accenture Challenge. This was the first year in CICS history that two teams tied for first place!

Representatives with Accenture present a basic RFP for a fictional business, asking groups of graduate students to present their solutions. The competition is treated as real as possible, as judges take on different personas from the fictional organization to provide real-world feedback.

Read the RFP from Accenture, here. The following were the ten elements that the RFP sought from different teams.

  1. A unified communications and collaboration (UCC)solution for Royal Sea shoreside and shipside employees that meets or exceeds requirements.
  2. A demonstration of UCC platform capabilities that includes workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including file sharing/collaboration), application integration, and more. Respondents should be prepared to discuss “day in the life” scenarios to help. Royal Sea understand the value of the solution.
  3. Recommendations of embedding third-party collaboration applications.
  4. A fleet-wide/corporate-wide deployment schedule and timeline that does not exceed 12months.Respondents should explain how the systems will be deployed to minimize impacts on revenue and operations.
  5. A solution for managing and hosting the environment within the current Royal Sea core infrastructure. Respondents should articulate the impact on the current environment and expectations for additional compute and storage to support the proposed solution.
  6. A proposed plan for rolling out the solution including end user training and on-going support of the integrated solution for a duration of 60 months.
  7. Respondent pricing should include the costs to design, build, deploy and provide level 1.5 -level 3 run support. Royal Sea’s current provider will continue to support the data center and cloud environments.
  8. Respondents should be prepared to discuss their assumptions and dependencies on Royal Sea personnel and crew.
  9. Respondents should be prepared to provide reference accounts and case studies to support the proposed solution.
  10. Respondents should be prepared to discuss the technical background of the solution that outlines the impact on Royal Sea’s current environment.

After the challenge was assigned on Monday, my team and I had roughly four days to conduct research and build out a solution.

On Thuresday evening, we learned that the client experienced a major cybersecurity attack and requested that we include a solution to this problem in our proposal.

After staying up for 24-hours straight, presenting to two different rounds of judges, and changing our presentation between feedback sessions, we were awarded first place in the 2019 Accenture Challenge.

Read our full report to the judges to learn more about our solution.