December 21, 2016
Off the Bench!
By: Ami Shirley

Hello! The very chilly weather has been freezing my fingers, so before it reaches my brain, I’d better tell you about my first role. I’ve been here at Accenture for 6 weeks now, so memories of starting are still quite fresh.

My new role is in the Data Migration team on an Accenture project at a large pharmaceutical company. I had a couple of Skype calls to discuss the project while I was on the ‘bench’, but I still didn’t really understand what I was agreeing to! Luckily, my project manager is very relaxed, so it was easy for me to ask him my very long list of questions.

I booked train tickets to the client office for my first day – I was pretty nervous for the few days leading up to this as I was venturing into the unknown; I worried that I wouldn’t meet expectations or keep up with work I was given... all the usual self-doubt before a new job! After a very humid train journey from Waterloo, I arrived at security and reception, where I sat fiddling with my visitor’s badge waiting to be chaperoned through to the offices…

The whole project team were introduced to me (need to now remember everyone’s names!) and then I got my laptop out to crack on with some work. This is where I came across an unexpected barrier - getting access to online resources! Never underestimate the time it takes to be added to a permissions list for various SharePoints, TeamSites, mailing lists, security passes…. the list goes on.

This gave me a few days’ grace to get to know people on my project and get the commute down to a fine art. I was able to relax a bit and dispel most of my worries – Accenture people really are just as lovely as everyone says! Also, my project manager took me for a coffee to explain project and client hierarchies, and the ins and outs of data life. I am very grateful for his time; the organisation charts he drew in my notebook have saved me from some embarrassing slip-ups since!

I spent a good few days reading the PowerPoint decks the data manager sent me, trying to learn SQL and how on earth to use Microsoft Access. Many video tutorials and Google searches were used. If I am completely honest (which I assume you would like me to be), I was a bit bored at first… I couldn’t learn how to use the systems or analyse data until I could actually access them, plus the data team wasn’t even complete yet. But, this was a good time to get to know everybody, so it wasn’t all bad.

Once the whole data team arrived, we could start work. Our team is a little unusual: there are two client graduates, two Accenture Spain employees (soon to be three) and two Accenture UKI employees! The Spanish contingent fly over frequently, although the data manager more so, as he has meetings to attend with all sorts of people in the UK.

We are tasked with extracting, validating and preparing client data to be loaded into their shiny new app that ‘we’ have created for their sales reps. This may sound simple, but when the client operates in pretty much every country in the world, this makes for a whoooole lotta data and sadly, not everyone using their current app has filled all the details in correctly.

We have a lot of work to do before January, when the new app starts being deployed… think it’s going to be a busy few months!!

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