I am a consultant in the Business & Systems Integration segment with a specialization in the Products industry. I am currently staffed on a Canadian retail project where we provide an assortment of IT services to develop and improve the growing business. My role as the development lead of the Enterprise Integration team involves designing and developing interfaces for applications to communicate and share data. My team consists of developers in Toronto and Bangalore and together, we work with the client’s systems analysts to understand their requirements and develop the interfaces. The client recently acquired another company and we are working on integrating the systems together to streamline and make supply chain operations more efficient. The interfaces transfer data required for purchase orders, invoices, shipment notifications, master data, billing documents and many more. Without the integration piece that we do, the client would not be able to conduct many critical business operations.
A “typical” day is hard to define as a consultant because every day is always so different. On most days I work at the main client site, sometimes I’m at the client’s IT office, other days I’m working from home or at the Accenture office – it often depends on the people I need to interact with that day and where it makes most sense for me to be.
As part of the integration team working across multiple projects, the work that I do varies depending on the phase of the project. Our team is first engaged when we are requested to provide an effort estimate for a new project or requirement. I work with the project managers and systems analysts to understand the high-level requirements, scope of work and timelines. Once projects are approved to start, we conduct design workshops to develop an interface agreement that contains all the requirements that are used during development. I work closely with the developers to ensure the interfaces are built to specification and make sure to go back to the client if there are any gaps or unclear areas in the design. The project QA team runs a set of scenarios to test out the functionality of the interface and the end-to-end process between the systems. Once all tests are successfully passed, the interface is deployed to the production environment and is considered live, in other words, the new functionality can be used by the business, vendors or customers. Most projects go through the delivery lifecycle. Some projects have very tight timelines, others have very small scope, some teams are challenging to work with, and other projects go off without a hitch. Every project is different and a new challenge for both you and the client.
Having a healthy work-life balance is very important to me – I live by the motto: “work hard, play hard” and make sure I make the very most out of my time. When I’m not in the office, I am swimming, teaching piano or spending time with my husband and family. I am a competitive swimmer training 3-4 times each week and will be competing in the World Championships in August 2014. In the pool, I clear my mind and focus just on my training, forgetting about the busy day at work. After a good 4KM swim, I am refreshed and ready for another day in the office.
I also have a strong passion for teaching and have a following of young piano students. It’s very rewarding watching students learn and grow and it gives me an opportunity to work with a different age category than my usual clientele at Accenture. I also enjoy baking cookies and trying new recipes whenever I find something interesting. I often bring leftovers to the office to share with my team and they’re usually gone before the day is through.
Accenture is a work place where the opportunities are endless. Every project is a new environment, every role is a new learning experience and every day is a new challenge. As a consultant, you need to understand your skills and your fortes and adapt to the various work environments. This will allow you to add value to the project and deliver high performance to the client wherever Accenture takes you.
Consulting is not for everyone – but if you like to work in a fast-paced, challenging and ever-changing environment, Accenture is the place for you.