In our latest Women in Cloud blog series, experienced hire Lori Salow Marshall explains how her entrepreneurial skillset is utilized in scaling Accenture’s relationship with AWS globally.
Defining and targeting a market with a partner essentially creates a new business. The combination of collective inputs from each partner—technological, intellectual and cultural—create new offerings and opportunities to drive value. It even creates new ways of working. In companies like Accenture, this type of partner engagement often forms a “business in a business.”
That is what being an entrepreneur is all about: creating new businesses to drive customer value. In the corporate paradigm, it also creates an incremental engine for innovation and growth within our own companies. As a former CEO and entrepreneur, I actively sought an “intrapreneurial” role at Accenture where I could apply my cloud start-up skills to innovate and drive new offerings and capabilities with critical partners. I wanted to be central in helping create these “businesses within a business” within Accenture.
As an experienced hire within the Accenture AWS Business Group (AABG), I am part of a winning “early- stage company” leadership team—inside Accenture. I have joined a team of “start-up” executives like me, eager for growth, creating new business paradigms and driving new sources of value for our customers and colleagues.
In my role as Partnership Development Director, reporting into Accenture Ecosystem & Ventures, I drive go-to-market engagement globally with AWS across various technology segments and vertical industry groups. Every day is fun, exciting and challenging. As we grow, the need to scale our business draws on the skills I developed in start-ups and early stage companies, from investment planning to support addressable markets, to ideating new solutions, and creating sales tools and assets to evangelize relevant services.
Spiraling up and out
Accenture and AWS have a dozen joint solution areas defined that we take to market together, including AABG offerings in cloud transformation, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and research life sciences cloud. My job is to help scale the relationship to the next level, expanding the footprint globally and operationalizing the go-to-market team to align with AWS and drive value for our clients.
As part of the AABG leadership team, I also work with our industry leaders, developing the strategy around what new offerings we should take to market together with AWS and why. Customers are increasingly realizing that the cloud enables new business models and service offerings unavailable in other paradigms.
It is exciting to work with AWS and our teams in Accenture, exploring the development of new cloud services that bring business innovation. With a cloud innovator like AWS, these business-value, application-driven cloud discussions offer no end of opportunity to create new, disruptive services.
Just one example is in call center services. Cloud-based intelligent contact centers, delivered as a service, create new business efficiencies, new staffing models and, combined with AI and machine learning, greater customer intimacy and new engagement opportunities. Partnering with AWS, we bring industry-specific chatbots, workflows and analytics—creating new intelligent customer engagement offerings unique to the cloud.
Accenture and AWS partner to bring the best of strategy, technology, industry-specific domain expertise, and solution accelerators to create low-risk, high-value cloud services, uniquely developed to support our customers’ needs. Many of these types of services can only exist in the cloud.
Perspectives on being experienced
I officially joined Accenture as an experienced hire in January 2018 after one and a half years as a contractor doing various projects in the firm. While it is challenging to learn Accenture as a new hire, the generosity of support and guidance I have received is remarkable. I deeply appreciate Accenture’s culture of continuous learning, inclusion and strong ethics that encourages all of us to explore new ideas and bring our unique perspectives to bear daily.
I have spent the past 25 years of my career in the “cloud,” starting off creating early online productivity solutions at BT in London in the mid-1990s (it was called application service provision or ASP back then). I founded a company focused on customer engagement in the cloud, creating a service for “unattended retail” enabling purchase, rewards and customer support all via a mobile application. I sold that company, and ran the acquiring company as president for a year, just before joining Accenture.“I’ve been working in the cloud industry since the mid-1990s—long before it was called cloud.”
I am delighted that my entrepreneurial interests in building businesses, creating solutions and driving new ways of working are part of my everyday work within the AWS and Accenture partnership. What I find most valuable about the Accenture and AWS relationship is our relentless focus on innovation for clients. This is a core principle driving how both of our companies operate and make decisions. That focus is the source of innovation and the heart of entrepreneurialism.