Combining digital efficiency with human ingenuity
Whether companies are going through a digital transformation or post-merger integration, there are three commonalities: implementing new processes, designing systems to support them and helping people affected by the transition underway.
Claudia Baur-Stark, a managing director within Accenture’s Health & Public Service practice, is someone who never loses sight of the all-important human dimension of change.
A graduate in engineering and technical mathematics, Claudia would have never imagined that 24 years later she’d find herself in Vienna working at the same company. "Initially I only wanted to take a quick look at Accenture because the company was sought out by my fellow classmates for interviews. The next thing I knew I was in Accenture’s corporate mentoring program and within a swift seven years became a senior manager." In this role, Claudia led diverse teams accompanying transformation and mergers in private and public entities. “My children are now at the ages of 16, 12 and 6 and I feel fortunate that I’ve always been able to return from parental leave and arrange flexible working hours. I continue to lead large and complex client projects. I’m currently working at a 70-percent capacity, with of course my 100-percent commitment.”
Digital transformations which leave no one behind
With her mathematics background, Claudia was initially involved in transformation projects within banking to implement data-driven management which was critical to translate their business into numbers.
Eventually she became involved in public service client work where she now leads sizeable projects. Her aim is clear: to support people in large organizations to become better through the combination of digital efficiency and human ingenuity. “Efficiency, people, technology, control elements – these are the areas that have always motivated me. It’s incredible to see the huge leap that companies and public entities are taking to bring what they offer to a whole new level." She remembers where they started from, it wasn’t long ago that public institutions were switching to Microsoft Windows. Today she is working with these same organizations on the integration of apps, AI and chatbots.
How real-life situations could be improved by mathematics is what motivated Claudia to focus on business and math in her studies. To further understand how transformations impact people, she has also done training in systemic coaching.
Competence and the art of listening
What does Claudia enjoy most about her work as an Accenture consultant? "I have to say that it’s quite simply the people, they are without doubt the ‘best people’. Accenture is teeming with highly-qualified specialists who, instead of spouting platitudes, channel the vision and innovation within client organisations to help take them to a new level." This competence and commitment is strengthened by Accenture’s approach to client teams which is based on composure, listening and communicating at eye level.
Claudia now leads a major digital transformation and merger at an organization within the public sector. This is a long-term project in the early stages which will require many ideas in terms of numbers, functions and people. "The point at which the new technology meets the knowledge and customer experience – using the now-proven methods of design thinking, scrum and agile project management – that can be a bit overwhelming." Despite her love for numbers and innovative technology, she is keenly aware that one must understand and prepare for the effect that large transformations will have on many people in organizations be it private or public.
The winning combination
Claudia knows from experience that people need the right guidance and tools to learn and adapt. As a student she earned money as a piano and ski instructor (she’s an avid skier to this day). Whether it was demonstrating techniques to a budding skier or taking a young musician through the piano scales, it was always a matter of understanding the other person's situation, finding out where the person stands, and then supporting them step by step. It’s something that she still sees as part and parcel to her role with clients today.
“A great help and one of the advantages of Accenture is that clients know that we aren’t a homogenous team of consultants showing up in black suits. Our approach is more flexible and often different from what people expect. We are a company made up of specialists from virtually every domain – from management and design architecture to artificial intelligence and IT security. This is a perfect match as we sit around the table with the client and in an interdisciplinary way work out a solution. And these will always take into account the impact on people, which we want to be for the better.”