NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Accenture (NYSE:ACN) has been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the ZBx AI Platform that supports the proprietary closed loop process that is central to a zero-based mindset, or ZBx. The newly issued patent – U.S. Patent No. 9,818,067 – is the latest in the worldwide intellectual property (IP) portfolio for Accenture, which includes more than 6,000 granted patents and pending patent applications.
With a focus on granularity and speed applied to cost visibility, a zero-based mindset (ZBx) facilitates a cycle of self-reinforcing insight and action that constantly challenges spend. It also helps create a healthy tension between budget owners and business owners to unite them in controlling costs, while driving value and meeting service and quality expectations. The closed loop process involves visibility, value targeting, category ownership, budgeting, execution, and control and monitoring. It also helps to ensure sustained cost savings over time so that companies can invest in growth and profit-boosting initiatives.
The patented ZBx AI Platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to categorize financial transactions into spend categories to rapidly identify ‘who-spent-how-much-on-what’ during the visibility phase. This forensic analysis gives companies quick and efficient insight into individual cost categories such as travel and events, information technology, facilities and related services, maintenance, packaging, sales and marketing. These real-time insights save valuable time and resources on a company’s journey toward competitive agility. With the ability to process millions of transactional details and statistically identify relevant patterns for self-learning, the ZBx AI Platform is a significant improvement from the lengthy, manual and costly effort to analyze spend.
Accenture Strategy research shows that nearly one-quarter of companies on their zero-based journey still use spreadsheets for reporting. The ZBx AI Platform industrializes the process with dramatically improved data visibility and data quality. By centralizing the collection and analysis of spend and supporting it with data visualization and analysis tools, companies can understand and apply the insights to make intelligent and efficient business decisions. The ZBx AI Platform also helps facilitate the culture change that the adoption of a zero-based mindset requires by arming business owners with the data they need to make key decisions in real-time on their path to sustainable growth.
The ZBx AI Platform makes it easy for companies across industries to adopt a zero-based mindset. For example, at a leading healthcare company, the ZBx AI Platform was deployed to accurately categorize more than 10 million transactions. Additionally, Accenture itself has adopted a zero-based mindset that includes using the ZBx AI Platform to uncover resources that can be reallocated to advance its digital transformation, innovation-led approach and new capabilities.
“This patent illustrates our thought leadership, innovation and capability to help clients adopt a zero-based mindset that boosts competitive agility and the overall fiscal health of their organizations,” said Kris Timmermans, Senior Managing Director and Supply Chain & Operations Strategy lead at Accenture Strategy. “Our research found that delaying a zero-based implementation by even one week could have an opportunity cost of $5 million to a global company. The ZBx AI platform was created to help companies more efficiently gain forensic visibility into costs to identify savings that can be reinvested for growth. We are continuing to evolve the platform with new capabilities to achieve that goal.”
In early 2018, Accenture Strategy released findings from the largest ever research on the practices and results of zero-based initiatives implemented by leading global companies across different industries. The study found that organizations are realizing savings up to $1 billion that can be channelled to accelerate growth strategies, pivot to new digital business models and boost competitive agility.
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