Let me start by saying that I’m not that old, as I just turned 50. But, with my previous employer, I was beginning to feel a bit like the old guy in the room. After nearly 30 years as a banking consultant, I wasn’t learning very much. So I started to get “itchy feet” and started to think about taking some non-executive board roles or even writing a book. It was clear that I was ready for a change, so part of the appeal of Accenture was to challenge myself to get my brain back in gear, learn new things, and get myself energized again about making a difference in the industry.
Initially, I didn't think my career discussions with Accenture would go very far, and I actually took the initial meeting as a favour to the head-hunter. I’d spent my whole career as a strategy consultant, and I thought Accenture was all about technology, so the fit wouldn’t be good. But a couple of conversations in, I began to get very interested. Here was a consultant-led organization that used the advisor front-end of the business to shape end-to-end delivery of business solutions. I quickly got excited about the possibility of continuing to do C-suite advisory work—talking to boards and business leaders about the big picture—while also opening the possibility of being able to deliver real impact as a long-term technology and operations partner of my clients.
Today, clients are no longer looking for the linear process of: 1) look at strategy; 2) plan the implementation; 3) hire somebody to do this with the hope of getting some results in two to three years. They want agility, and they want fast results.
I‘d begun to hear a lot of my clients talk about the ways in which technology was becoming critical. In fact, it was the answer one of my clients gave to a journalist’s question that helped me make up my mind to join Accenture. When asked, “What are the three things that keep you up at night?” my client’s response was, “technology, technology, technology.” He went on to outline three nightmare scenarios, each of which centred on the importance of technology in security, business model and customer experience. I was sitting in the audience with my Accenture offer in hand, and it was at this point I realized that technology had become the dominant issue for the C-suite in banking. What’s more, Accenture was the best-placed player in the market to solve those issues with the necessary insight, innovation and agility.
I was sold on the idea that Accenture was doing something I don’t believe anyone else has done: created a multi-ecosystem professional services business, competitive at the top of the house selling industry-leading innovation, down to the actual delivery of large-scale change. It’s a compelling proposition, and my experience over the last 18 months since I joined Accenture is that we are delivering it to some of the largest and most complex financial institutions in the world. I can honestly say that since I joined Accenture there hasn’t been a single day that I have regretted my decision.
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