Leaving Accenture to progress my career in Security
I first joined Accenture in 2010. I worked in Portugal for my first two years before moving to the UK where I stayed for another two years with the company. When I made Manager, I had an opportunity to move to a Security Vendor and take on an interesting role that would allow me to do something that at the time was not possible for me to do in Accenture – a very visible role across the whole of EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) territory, where I would actually be managing Accenture as a key partner for that vendor.
After having a lot of discussions with my leadership within Accenture at the time, we basically acknowledged that it would be a position that would probably take me a few years to get to here, so I made the decision to accept the role and progress my career there. And it was a very interesting time in vendor land because as I was managing Accenture, I was always still very connected to the company.
I stayed there for three years before moving to a start-up vendor to help build a new solution. After another couple of years, I started to consider my next move, and something was pulling me back into consultancy. Like everything in life, there are pros and cons in whatever you decide to do – there were great things about being in the vendor space but there were things I really missed about being at Accenture.
Returning to the Accenture family
There are things about Accenture that you never forget, and I’ve always said to people that once you’re Accenture, you’re always Accenture! I was comparing Accenture to what I got from the different vendors I had worked at and, in particular, there were key core values that I found less evident in the vendor space – things like integrity and stewardship – and I missed those values. But more than that, I missed the quality and drive of the people I had worked with.
I still had several friends working at Accenture and it was very timely because they reached out to me to say there were opportunities for me to come back to the company and lead a sub offering in the Security practice that the company wanted to develop and, that also had a tie-in to a vendor whom I had worked at. This was good for everyone; it was good for Accenture because I brought with me a lot of connections from that vendor and, it was good for the vendor, because they would have a stronger connection within Accenture. For me, it was the best of both worlds - I could work with the Accenture pace, the Accenture culture but I could also work with the vendor in the area where I’m an expert. I’ve now been back at Accenture for six months and it feels great.
Within the Security practice, we have different sub offerings. One of these is Digital Identity and I am a part of that team leading our UK and European Privileged Access Management (PAM) offering. As well as engaging with clients and vendors, I am developing our PAM business with internal leads and that also entails helping and mentoring my team by ensuring they get trained and certified so we can build on our services to quickly upscale and meet new demand.
Getting to work with amazing people
One of my other responsibilities is recruitment within our Digital Identity practice where I align with our HR team to define open vacancies and roles, find the right people for these and then get new talent through the whole recruitment process; HR interview, skills interviews, MD business case interview etc. Getting the right people to be a part of our team is critical – we need to show our clients that we have the right skills and knowledge here.
And, the skills we need are very specific within Digital Identity. Obviously, you need to have someone that knows about Security, but they also need experience in all forms of identity and access management. They need to know how to do delivery because we need to devise, deploy and rollout the solutions that address our clients’ challenges. Combined with these are consultancy skills so they can talk with clients; understand their requirements and look at the best solutions. And importantly we need people who can show a lot of resilience and who have the ability to keep ahead of the curve - Security is ever more important and clients are investing considerably in this area so we need to be ready with the best of our knowledge and skills when they need us.
I think our career offering in Security has become much clearer and that goes hand in hand with the evolution I have seen over the past five years. Right now, we are the number-one player in terms of cybersecurity services. We offer something that no other company can provide and that’s access to clients who are multinational big corporates; we offer the chance to work on projects from the initial assessment to strategy to deployment to onboarding to operations. Effectively, we can do probably what no other company can do in isolation - there will be companies who can do some of that process but not the full end-to-end service. We also make it very compelling for the client because we can offshore some of the more technical activities to our nearshore and offshore delivery centres to make it more cost effective for them. This means our people have a very tangible experience of working in a global company. And, it’s really one big family, one big team where you can ask for help and there will always be someone there for you whether they are in America, UK or any other country.
I think what still fascinates me is the quality and drive of the people here. It is absolutely impressive. Working with a great team makes you want to work better and harder to succeed as a team, but at the same time everyone has empathy for their colleagues - you know they will help you and you will help them. What keeps this firm running is the value of our people and because of them we keep winning these really complex and exciting projects to work on. I think the key factor in this company which makes it unique is that we simply have the cream of the crop - the people here are amazing, absolutely amazing.
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