Just a few months into my time at Accenture, I was building life-saving applications
March 2, 2022
March 2, 2022
Lachlan McGrath started at Accenture doing a six-month placement as part of his degree, before becoming a full-time member of the team. He’s played a key part in rolling out massively scaled Automation applications to help keep our teams in India safe during COVID-19 as well as supporting vaccination rollouts. Find out more about his story.
In just two years, I’ve gone from being an intern at Accenture to helping shape the direction of our team and project. It’s been quite the ride and I look back in disbelief at the opportunities I’ve been given and what I’ve been able to help deliver.
My story started in January 2020 when I started a six-month, full-time internship placement as part of the final year of my mechatronic engineering degree at the University of Sydney. I was placed in the myWizard AiOps team, and as COVID-19 started spreading around the world, I joined the myBuddy project. This was a tool we developed to support our 128,000 employees in India with work safety and enablement, helping them to transition to working from home. For the next year and a half, myBuddy continued to be a source of information and support to help our team in India manage work around the pandemic.
After my six-month internship was over, I still had six months at university to finish my degree, but Accenture offered me a part-time role to continue working three days a week. The final year of a mechatronic engineering degree is not easy by any means, but my team at Accenture actively gave me the support and flexibility I needed to make both work and study fit in. I was able to work flexibly to attend classes and adjust my work hours to adapt to changes in my study schedule.
Once I’d finished university, I transitioned to a full-time role with Accenture. Just a few months into being a permanent member of the myBuddy team, we needed to create a variation of the myBuddy tool as the Delta variant swept across India. Thankfully, a vaccine had been created, so we adapted the tool to collect vital information to help 440,000 of our people and their families book vaccination appointments and access other relief support.
I was the chatbot conversation expert for the team, and it was incredible to know that I was playing a key part in driving such an important project at 23 years old. We were able to use myBuddy to set up new ways of storing data, gathering location information on our people, and helping to connect them to vaccination appointments. The rollout of the vaccination and relief program was very time sensitive; we were asked to create the system on a Wednesday and had deployed by Monday. The app is still being used for daily check-ins with our team as the Omicron variant continues to impact our team, so they can report when they are sick and manage their leave.
Working on a project that’s saved an estimated 10,000 lives for your first job as a graduate is pretty incredible!
Extending the application’s use to both emergencies and the everyday
We’ve also used the myBuddy platform to create an emergency response management tool for Accenture in Japan. Using a daily check-in system, they are able to collate location information on employees during emergencies, like typhoons, especially as during COVID, more people are working from locations like holiday homes away from their usual residence.
In a less life-saving but still important application, the tool is also being used to help our people track sales information, as well as applications to manage teams returning to the office. It’s ensuring safety guidelines are being met and people can see how many free desks are available to coordinate their office days.
Paying it forward and looking to the future
As well as the myBuddy work during my initial six-month internship, I was also writing my thesis on a novel machine learning algorithm to detect credit card fraud. I’m now supporting other students who’ve been placed with Accenture through the same program as me to guide them through their thesis and support them in the transition to working at Accenture.
I’ve also now been included as one of the leads of myBuddy, which feels incredible only one year into being a full-time member myself. I’m working with junior members, giving feedback on their performance, as well as looking for innovative techniques to improve what we can offer.
Now that COVID restrictions are starting to ease, our team is making the effort to connect in the office and get to know each other better. As a geographically dispersed team, we’ve been successfully working flexibly, but we’re keen to deepen those connections. We’ve planned specific days to work in the office together, but there’s no pressure for people who can’t make those days or don’t yet feel comfortable to return to the office.
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