At Entry Level (Year 1 to 4)
Name: Zhong Yang
Education: Bachelor of Science in Mathematics (Hons)University of Warwick, UK
Years in IT: 1 year
“The sheer breadth of IT projects which Accenture undertakes, from strategy and systems implementation to server tuning and desktop roll-out, means there is never a dull moment on the job, said Zhong Yang.“This also means being taken out of your comfort zone to understand a different business and a different aspect of IT.”
Zhong Yang said the role of IT is as “an enabler for a company’s business operations and aspirations.”
This Malacca-born techie said as an analyst, he has a chance “to participate and sometimes, drive discussions, consolidate and analyse data collected from the client, conduct research on current market trends and best practices as well as assist in preparing presentation decks.”
In his current role, Zhong Yang is focused on IT Strategy and Transformation (ITST) within the Financial Services industry. It is exciting times to be in Financial Services as Malaysian banks are undergoing their digital transformation to compete regionally.
To develop his soft skills, Zhong Yang leads the committee which organises community events for entry-level analysts where they engage with higher management team members.
SKILLS NEEDED TO SUCCEED…
Learn to ask and ask intelligent questions.
Zhong Yang said, “As the new kid on the block, we are not expected to know everything but I would recommend reading through project documents first before pestering somebody for information which might be readily available somewhere.”
With no technical background, Zhong Yang improves his IT knowledge and understanding of financial services industry using the company’s online courses.
Zhong Yang highlighted the benefits of mentoring which Accenture managers do continuously to instill in him managerial skills.
At Mid Manager Role (Year 5 to 9)
Name: Pei Ni
Education: Bachelor of IT, majoring in Data Communications Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Role: Manager, IT Strategy and Transformation
Years in IT: 7 years
“I have been promoted twice, first to consultant and then, to manager, my current role,” Pei Ni shared. “I am responsible for leading teams and managing projects to ensure outcomes committed to clients are delivered. I also provide career guidance to counselees who are assigned to me and participate in recruitment. I am now more specialised in the domain of IT Strategy & Transformation.”
Pei Ni who joined Accenture as an entry-level analyst shared she was expected to pick up new skills very quickly, be it technical or soft skills like communicating effectively, during her seven years with this global consultancy firm.
According to her, IT consulting is dynamic and each project is different and offers a new set of challenges. She said she thrives on challenges, be it building relationships with new individuals, both clients and Accenture teammates, a different client’s organisation culture to adapt to, a different industry to familiarise with or a new set of client business challenges to help address.
“I thrive on the challenges and enjoy having the learning opportunities,” she said. “I take the initiative to continuously self-improve and develop.”
SKILLS NEEDED TO SUCCEED…
“I took part in an Accenture corporate citizenship programme (Accenture Development Partnerships) where I took a cut in salary and worked as a consultant with a non-profit organisation headquartered in the United States for six months,” she recalled.
Ability to think of the big picture
Pei Ni explains that working long hours is sometimes needed when the team must meet a client’s deadline and as professionals, “we strive to meet commitments to the clients and whenever it is required, it has to be done.” She was “rewarded with an early promotion to manager after a very challenging project.”
General Manager – Coded for success!
Name: Jocelyne (Joey) Leonard Mak
Education: Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Role: General manager, General Business
Company: IBM Malaysia
Years in IT: 20+ years
“I go out with my team to make sales calls every day,” Jocelyne Mak said. “I do a lot of coaching and mentoring when I’m out with them but sometimes, roles are reversed and I sit back and observe my sales team.”
This newly-appointed general manager in charge of the general business division at IBM Malaysia is a pure IT techie. Yet, Mak who goes by nickname Joey has an easy charm about him which suggests a people person! Indeed, he switches between both personas with ease.
Trust, Mak said, besides being IBM’s first core value, must be built amongst colleagues and between bosses and subordinates. He shared it is a key element in his coaching process.
Armed with diploma in E&E engineering, Mak knows the nuts and bolts of computer mainframes down to stand-alone, point-of-sale machines to the core. Yet it is not his IT knowledge that brings success. It is his ability to build trust and credible relationships with colleagues and clients that seal the deal.
He certainly has the depth and breadth in IT know-how to lead his sales people who are specialised in one or two industries. He explained the need to specialise due to the vast number of products IBM sells and importance to know the ins and outs of an industry as well as speak its lingo have changed the way sales staff interact with clients.
SKILLS NEEDED TO SUCCEED…
Hone customer insights
It is important to “be intimate with customers to get customers’ insight.” He said “asking probing questions is a crucial communication skill to build trust with clients” and this goes a long way to enhance credibility with them.
Mak says being innovative works in IT engineering as well as selling IT. In IT engineering, “better and faster solutions at lower costs can help customers.” In sales, he and his team can offer better solutions to clients to ensure their success!
Tracking the non-IT professional in an IT company
Name: Lim Huey Chin
Education: LLB (Hons), University of Warwick, UK ACA, ICAS
Role: Account strategist
Company: Google Malaysia
Years in IT: 1 year
Working for Google Malaysia evokes many impressions and perceptions. Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are like IT Jedi masters presiding over the world of search to make the experience faster and the search more accurate. Their mantra “don’t be evil” is legendary; almost like a call to resist temptation to fall to the dark side like Anakin.
This sets expectations high, which Lim Huey Chin explained, comes with working for Google.
Lim, account strategist and a non-IT person working in Google Malaysia, said the mantra “focus on user” trickles down to every staff in every country.
Impacts from the mantra and high expectations from clients are immediate and game changing. People working in Google are likened to Jedi Sentinels who use various tools and techniques plus mental conditioning to get their jobs done and withstand attacks.
Lim, whose preparation was in law and accountancy, certainly has the tools and mental conditioning to educate clients on promoting their businesses on Google.
She illustrated how fast technology changes the advertising game, even in Malaysia.
“It is true there is always something new and different happening in an IT company every day,” she said. “I have a client who wanted to capture data retrospectively and asked if we could do it for them and I had to say no.
“Five days after the client asked, at the beginning of a week, I read the latest updates from Google and found the tool has been created by somewhere within the company. It was so exciting. I went straight to the client and the tool is now implemented to help them.”
Lim’s journey to Google illustrates how a non-IT person can become an asset in a truly IT company. Her mastery of Google tools and the IT industry will continue, just like a Jedi Sentinel. The outcome is more power to small businesses as they compete with the big boys for the more tightly held ringgit.
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