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Accenture to Sign F&A BPO Contract with Marriott in Transfer of Onshore Captive

Accenture has continued the trend of acquiring captives as a means of gaining domain capability in a multi-process F&A BPO deal with Marriott International, Inc. that has been described by both parties as a strategic collaboration. In a ten-year contract to provide F&A services to Marriott and its franchisees in the Americas, Marriott will transition its Louisville, Tennessee-based Marriott Business Services (MBS) F&A unit and its employees to Accenture. The contract has yet to be signed, but the expectation is that MBS operations and services will start transitioning to Accenture in August, with the full transition being largely completed by early September.

As part of the agreement, Accenture will create a new business service,  Accenture Hospitality Services (AHS), built in part around the operations and capabilities coming from Marriott’s MBS unit, including also Accenture software and analytics capabilities for the hospitality sector. Services to be offered by AHS to the hospitality sector will include management consulting, technology and BPO services.

MBS was set up in 2001.  The intention is that Accenture will not only enhance MBS’ operations but also attract new clients in the leisure and hospitality sector.

The acquisition of MBS' operations is a further evolution of Accenture’s relationship with Marriott International that has seen Accenture provide a number of services over the years including:

  • Management consulting, including on process initiatives
  • A range of IT projects, for example around the marriott.com website platform
  • Enterprise applications services: for example Accenture implemented Marriott's Oracle-based accounting platform. The relationship around financial processes and systems goes back to around 2002.

The Louisville center has ~560 employees currently, and will provide Accenture with another sizeable rural onshore U.S. BPO capability. But this is more than the transfer of an onshore captive to a BPO provider, a known and trusted partner for other services, who then proceeds to offshore part of the operation in a standard F&A outsource. The stated rationale is to commercialize the transferred operation and potentially build an integrated services offering for the hospitality sector that could also include industry-specific HR, business analytics and procurement services. This is a well trodden path for Accenture with examples in F&A dating back to its acquisition of BP's accounting centers in the 1990's in order to serve the oil & gas sector.

This is not Accenture's first attempt to build a back-office BPO business in the U.S. hospitality sector: anyone remember its acquisition of Savista back in 2006?

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