How my first Accenture project helped save lives
October 1, 2021
October 1, 2021
Towards the end of my German and Maths degree, I applied to an Accenture Bootcamp and – despite having no coding experience – got in! I discovered I absolutely love software development. Coming from a maths background, it seemed very hands-on – not unlike building Lego. You code something and then you watch it do something cool!
I took a coding subject the next semester and completed an internship with myWizard AiOps – Accenture’s internal innovation and automation team. Then, a week before COVID hit, I was excited to come on board full-time.
I feel incredibly lucky that myWizard AiOps took a chance on me. I wasn’t hugely qualified. And it’s such an impressive organisation - a very young team led by Accenture veteran Luke Higgins. Luke is incredibly smart, excited about innovation, and always onto the next thing. He actively fosters a culture where young people can step up and take on responsibility early.
And, wow, did that happen to me!
Backcountry skiing to the peak of Mount Kosciusko
I’d just started working from home in lockdown when my manager, Al Donnelley, called me with a massive shopping list of unexpected tasks. I didn’t know what was going on, but it was obviously something significant.
The next thing I knew, I was hustled onto a small team with a lot of higher-ups, including Luke, Al and Kim Harris. We were tasked with helping our colleagues in India, where Accenture had sent 200K+ people to work at home. With many people across a wide geographic area we needed to urgently find and check in with everyone, and send the help that was needed.
Luke saw that we could combine two existing myWizard AiOps automation products (including CloudChaser, which I was working on) to address the crisis. In just four days, we cobbled together a new intelligence tool, myBuddy, that could reach hundreds of thousands every day, letting people stay connected, keep working and ask for help.
Frantic work behind the scenes
We started with 30 CloudChasers on 30 servers. Each day we raced to automate and integrate more of the system. Then, at 5pm, we’d ping Accenture India again. We needed all hands on deck to fix things as they broke because the automation had only been built an hour before and there were still bugs in the system.
For six weeks, this was our life – day in, day out. It was wild and intense and, as word came in from people for whom the daily check-ins were a lifeline, incredibly meaningful. It was also really, really fun. We did insane, complex technical work with great humour and fantastic camaraderie – and eventually got the whole thing automated.
When, on 1 May, we could all finally take the day off, it was with an enormous sense of exhaustion and pride.
Lifeline to support, relief and vaccination
In those first six weeks, operating as a COVID check-in for our workforce in India, myBuddy located and supported the safety, security, wellbeing and enablement of 128K people daily. myBuddy has gone on to play a central role in providing relief and vaccinations in India for 440K+ employees and families, saving an estimated 20K lives. Today, it’s solving massive productivity challenges for Accenture and our clients.
I was and am incredibly proud of the team. To have worked alongside these people is such a privilege. Al and Kim are amazing managers. As well as doing phenomenal work themselves, they are so caring and supportive of everyone working remotely – constantly checking in, organising events and care packages to keep us going, and making us take time for ourselves.
I’m also stoked to have been able to play a part in building and running a ground-breaking piece of rapid innovation that literally saved people’s lives. It’s an understatement to say I’m proud to be the operations lead for myBuddy.
Join me at myWizard AiOps. Do meaningful work surrounded by visionary, innovative people you respect and care about.
Visiting the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra with friends
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